Our friends at Clean Up the River Environment asked people from the Upper Minnesota River Valley and West Central Minnesota to travel to the state capitol for an Earth Day rally for clean energy. A group of enthusiastic MPIRG students road in from U of M Morris; hundreds of passionate high school students turned out to join them.
In addition to those rallying in the rotunda, over 300 citizens showed up to lobby for solar and other clean energy on a day graced by another spring snowstorm and difficult driving in greater Minnesota.
PIM Charley Shaw reports in Energy advocates rally for solar standard:
Renewable energy advocates on Monday afternoon rallied in the state Capitol rotunda in support of energy policy legislation that seeks to boost solar energy in Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Paul Thissen were among the officials who rallied a couple hundred activists to support bills in the House and Senate that would call for utilities to generate 4 percent of their electricity from solar energy by 2030. The bills sponsored by Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, had committee hearings on Monday with neither being voted on.
Dayton said the nation’s energy policy “has been to hang on to the status quo for a long as possible.” He said he hopes Minnesota someday runs on 100 percent renewable fuels. . . .
. . .“We need your help,” Hortman said. “Because as you know, the energy lobbyists are here. The folks who like coal are here. The folks who like natural gas are here. …You need to make sure you let your senator and your representative know: Minnesota is ready for solar.”
The legislation is controversial, however, and was laid over on Monday night in the Senate Environment, Economic Development and Energy Finance Division in order to find a compromise in the next couple days.
Here's a video of several high points in the rally: Paul Bunyan puts in an appearance, as do labor environmentalist Javier Morillo-Alicea, polar explorer Will Steger and Governor Dayton.
Bluestem will swap out the Youtube with a higher quality video when we return to our fast prairie connection.
Photo: A few of the University of Minnesota Morris students who braved slippery roads to rally for clean energy.
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