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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL)

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RELEASE: Senate Republicans Oppose Efforts to Address Climate Change

Thursday, May 23, 2019

SAINT PAUL, MN — Today, Senate Republicans blocked efforts broadly supported by Minnesotans to address the threat of climate change despite overwhelming scientific evidence showing that Minnesota is one of the fastest warming states in the country.

“Minnesotans see the reality of the changing climate and know that it threatens their future,” said Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL – Minneapolis), Chair of the House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division. “Minnesota youth came from all over the state to tell us they are scared, even terrified. They asked us to take the climate crisis as seriously as they do. Republicans chose the fossil fuel industry over our children’s future.”

The House DFL energy budget took significant steps to prevent further consequences of climate change and build a thriving clean energy economy. It set Minnesota on a path to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050, while ensuring that electricity was affordable and reliable. It established a Solar on Schools program that would save school districts money and provide learning opportunities and helped colleges and universities expand their use of clean energy. The budget also helped accelerate the creation of clean energy jobs, reduced transportation emissions, and supported more efficient buildings and community solar gardens.

“Senate Republicans were unwilling to make any meaningful clean energy progress this year, rejecting 100 percent clean energy by 2050, solar on schools, and reducing transportation emissions,” said Rep. Jamie Long (DFL – Minneapolis). “Minnesotans are demanding action on climate change and to help grow our job-creating clean energy sector. The call from the public is clear, change is coming, and Senate Republicans won’t be able to stand in the way forever.”

The 2018 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that the world must sharply curb carbon dioxide emissions in the next 12 years to head off the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. In their energy budget, Senate Republicans ignored the urgent need for action. Instead of growing Minnesota’s clean energy economy, their plan kept Minnesota dependent on fossil fuels. That discourages innovation that would create thousands of jobs for Minnesotans and establish our state as a national clean energy leader.

“I can’t express how disappointed I am in the Minnesota Senate,” said Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL – Coon Rapids). “The Senate’s complete opposition to any significant energy legislation is unacceptable. Minnesotans have told us time and time again that they want a clean energy future.”

Other states have already made significant progress towards clean energy. Three of them – California, Hawaii, and New Mexico – have committed to achieving 100 percent clean energy. Minnesota DFLers have continuously worked to pass measures to address climate change against Republican opposition.