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Politics and Legislation


A New Minnesota: Climate related policy changes at the state and federal level

Featured Speaker: Anna Johnson, Senior Manager State and Local Affairs for Fresh Energy

Minnesota—and the United States—have a better shot at reaching critical greenhouse gas reduction goals than ever before. Between changes at the federal level (with the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), and results of the most recent legislative session, the climate policy landscape in Minnesota has improved dramatically.


In the presentation below, Anna Johnson of Fresh Energy gives an overview of the new opportunities available.

About the Speaker: As Senior Manager, State and Local Affairs on the Public Affairs team, Anna Johnson assists the government affairs director in conducting Fresh Energy’s government affairs efforts and providing policy analysis across multiple programs. Before joining Fresh Energy, Anna co-founded an environmental education nonprofit, worked at the Minnesota House of Representatives, was a Research Assistant with the Minnesota Prison Doula Project, and interned at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She has a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College. Anna is an avid outdoor enthusiast. She canoed the full length of the Mississippi River in 2013 and paddled from Chicago to St. Louis on the Illinois River in 2014.


A Green New Deal for Minneapolis

Featured Speaker: Kristel Porter, Executive Director of Minnesota Renewable Now

In this presentation, Kristel Porter discussed building a grassroots campaign focusing on Climate Change and using it to influence policymakers across the entire city, to move local environmental policy - fast!

About the Speaker: Kristel Porter is the Executive Director of MN Renewable Now and was formerly the Executive Director of Cleveland Neighborhood Association. She has started different environmentally focused initiatives such as Clean City Youth, which taught youth about waste and how to take care of the environment, as well as Cycle Sisters, which is a program that hosts regular group bike rides for BIPOC women. 

Kristel was one of the founders of United Black Legislative Agenda, which was instrumental in the passing of the Urban Ag Bill. In 2020 Kristel planted over 300 trees and worked with the Family of Trees to plant over 1500 white spruces, red maples, and river birches. This initiative is to help mitigate the CO2 in North Minneapolis which also addresses the heat Island Effect. Currently Kristel is working to address racial equity through a “block by block” initiative to retrofit 24 rooftops with solar per year in North Minneapolis slated to start implementation in spring 2022.

Q&A Begins at 33:00.

Green Step Cites

GreenStep Cities Program

In this presentation, Lincoln Fetcher of our Outreach team presents an overview of the GreenStep Cities plan from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.


From the program website:


“Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals. This free continuous improvement program, managed by a public-private partnership, is based upon a menu of 29 optional best practices. Each best practice can be implemented, as decided by city elected officials, staff and community members, by completing one or more actions at a 1, 2 or 3-star level, from a list of four to eight actions. These voluntary actions are tailored to all Minnesota cities, focus on cost savings and energy use reduction, and encourage civic innovation.”

Q&A begins at 8:30.

Decarbonization of the Natural Gas Sector: Updates

Featured Speaker: J. Drake Hamilton, Senior Director of Science Policy at Fresh Energy

J. works at the core of Fresh Energy's commitment to keeping Minnesota on the path to a clean energy future and helping the state meet its climate goals. In early 2022, Minnesota Power proposed a 15-year plan that includes building a new fossil gas plant by 2027. Fresh Energy and our partners in the Clean Energy Organizations have filed evidence that a new gas plant is unnecessary for reliability and increases climate and financial risk. We have filed our Preferred Plan that replaces the new gas plant before 2030 with 600 megawatts of solar and 100 megawatts of wind, as well as battery storage. Regulators at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will choose the path forward in 2022.

About the Speaker: J. Drake Hamilton is an expert in climate and energy policy at the state and national levels. Fresh Energy's mission is to shape and drive bold policy solutions for achieving equitable, carbon-neutral economies. Their vision is a just, prosperous, and resilient clean energy future where all can thrive. J.'s responsibilities include advancing clean energy solutions to global warming that will maximize economic opportunities.


J. has represented Fresh Energy at six global climate summits. In 2021 she spent 2 weeks at the Glasgow, Scotland climate summit, where she led a panel of 5 Midwesterns addressing two global audiences. She appears frequently in the media, including television, Minnesota Public Radio, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Q&A Starts at the 24:00 mark

Nat Gas Sector Updates
Infrastructure School

White House Infrastructure School

From The Climate Reality Project:


Last month, the White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law guidebook to provide information so you know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. This guidebook is a roadmap to the funding available under the law, as well as an explanatory document that shows direct federal spending at the program level. We will continue to update this resource online at Our goal is for you—communities all across America—to take full advantage of the opportunity this new funding presents.


For further information, navigate to the main infrastructure website. It offers resources to understand the investments of BIF, as well as information on how to apply for a grant in your community.


What Happened at COP 26?

J and Eric discuss their experiences at COP26 in Glasgow, from meetings with political leaders, including:

  • Discussions with key climate leaders (including U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry)

  • Updates on policy decisions agreed to by all delegations

  • Opportunities at the global level for further cooperation on reducing carbon emissions

  • A sample of a performance by Eric Meyer with New York-based rap artist and science communicator Baba Brinkman. Check it out at the 33:40 mark.

Q&A begins at 45:35.

Click HERE to view Rick's slide presentation on the MN Clean Cars Rule.   

To learn more about Fresh Energy, visit:  

Minnesota Climate Policy Acceleration

This is a Zoom recording of our chapter meeting on February 10, 2021.  The featured speaker was J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy.  The presentation focused on 3 areas:


  • 100% Carbon-Free Electricity by 2040 for Minnesota

  • The State-Level Climate Initiatives the Biden Administration needs to bring to the Paris Agreement

  • The Big Climate Policy that Became Law Under then-President Trump (which immediately swells our Paris Agreement ambition)


J’s talk was followed by Rick Michel’s presentation on the MPCA’s proposed Minnesota Clean Cars rule, then chapter business, followed by further discussion at the end.

Minnesota Climate "Report Card"

This presentation was extracted from a Zoom recording of our chapter meeting on June 9, 2021.  Our guest speaker, Ellen Anderson updated us on the status of our state’s climate initiatives.


Ellen currently serves as the Climate Program Director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA).  Prior to joining MCEA she has held a variety of positions.  She served in the Minnesota State Senate for 18 years, clerked for the MN Court of Appeals, was a Hennepin County Public Defender, served as Chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Energy/Environmental Advisor to Governor Dayton, and led the Energy Transition Lab at the University of MN.


Ellen grew up in New Jersey, came to Minnesota for college and never left. Graduated from Carleton College, and UMN Law School cum laude.


Ellen discussed Minnesota’s climate targets in different sectors of the economy, and what we can do about failing grades.

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy uses law and science to protect Minnesota’s environment, its natural resources, and the health of its people.  To learn more, visit:

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