MCEA uses law, science, and research to protect Minnesota’s environment, its natural resources and the health of its people.
Clean water, clean air, healthy ecosystems, a sustainable economy, and improved public health for all Minnesotans. We are committed to growing our capacity and impact to achieve measurable progress toward this vision.
Impact and Programs
Over the past year, MCEA was able to:
• Help convince tens of thousands of Minnesotans to send in written comments on the deeply flawed PolyMet mining proposal, breaking all records for comments on DNR projects by more than a factor of ten. State officials who once were unabashed cheerleaders for the project are now “strictly neutral.”
• Together with its clean-energy allies, convinced Minnesota decision makers to make a serious commitment to a “distributed generation” solar energy future. The Public Utilities Commission selected 100 megawatts of solar power to supply Xcel Energy
customers’ future electricity needs, not more fossil fuels, which is a marked departure from the past.
• Along with its allies persuaded a federal court in New Orleans to force the EPA to adopt enforceable water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorus in the Mississippi River. Currently, there are no national water quality standards for these elements, which are significant contributors to water pollution.
• Largely due to MCEA’s influence, the Dayton administration has revitalized the nearly dormant Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, and is using the EQB as it was originally intended—to ensure that the environment is central to setting state policies.
• As part of the StopCarp! Coalition, successfully worked with federal officials to close the lock at Upper St. Anthony falls to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species north of Minneapolis.
MCEA has an unparalleled track record of getting positive results on environmental issues. With the help of informed experts, MCEA weighs issues carefully to decide which environmental issues facing the state are the most important, and where MCEA can be the most effective. It partners with dozens of fellow environmental organizations that help enhance and expand our work. It is through collaboration and public support for the environment that MCEA can persevere and influence the outcomes for the betterment of the state and its people.
In general, MCEA's program goals do not vary much year to year. Environmental protection is a multi-year continuum, and key highlights that occur annually support overall program goals. All of MCEA's work focuses on supporting the overall goal of its mission: to protect Minnesota’s environment, its natural resources and the health of its people.
Community or Constituency Served
MCEA has five programs that protecting Minnesota water, air, land and its people. MCEA works across all sectors – private and public, profit and nonprofit, political and academic – to form the partnerships needed to succeed.
MCEA's effective, credible, and innovative leadership is essential in creating workable solutions to difficult environmental issues and in taking action to hold lawmakers, regulators, and polluters accountable. MCEA is the only Minnesota environmental organization with practicing lawyers and scientists on board with expertise in water quality, land use and transportation, clean energy, and natural resources. Since its founding in 1974, MCEA has been at the forefront of virtually every major environmental success story in Minnesota.
Geographic Area Served
As a statewide advocacy organization, MCEA benefits the entire state. Many of the issues it supports have broad-reaching impact.
In water quality and natural resources, a significant amount of its work is based in greater Minnesota, especially northern MInnesota, and the watersheds that cover this area. Its agricultural mitigation, shoreland and wetland work takes place throughout the state, with a particular focus on the Mississippi River.
MCEA's work in the mining area is focused on the proposed copper nickel mine in Hoyt Lakes, MN and Twin Metals, located near the BWCA. It also works on taconite mining issues on the North Shore.
MCEA's clean energy work is focused on retirement of inefficient coal plants located in Cohasset, Hoyt Lakes, Big Lake, Fergus Falls, Taconite Harbor, and Stillwater. Its solar work is based on working with new solar technologies, largely based in the Twin Cities area.
In the Twin Cities metro, MCEA's land use and transportation program is focused on transit-oriented development in the Central and Bottineau Corridors where light rail lines will provide the greatest benefit to the communities through which they run.