Coleman discusses plan for greening St. Paul

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St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman said last week that cities must step up to fill a gap in federal leadership on environmental sustainability.

“Cities across America are stepping up and becoming leaders on sustainability,” he said.

Coleman was on campus last Tuesday speaking about his administration’s efforts to make St. Paul a more environmentally sustainable city. His talk was part of the Environmental Studies department’s EnviroTuesday series.

In his talk, which attracted approximately 50 students, professors and administrators, the mayor laid out an explicit mission for St. Paul: beat Minneapolis in environmental advances. St. Paul was named the fourth greenest city in the country last year by The Green Guide magazine. Minneapolis ranked 19.

“The most important thing is we cannot be beat by Minneapolis,” Coleman said jokingly.

Coleman spoke of his desire to encourage a “conservation culture in the city.”

He announced a goal to reduce the city’s Carbon Dioxide emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020 and tentatively challenged colleges in St. Paul to internally reduce their emissions.

He said that since he has taken office, the city has replaced red and green traffic lights to make them more energy-efficient, begun transitioning more fuel-efficient Ford Focuses into the city’s traditionally Ford Taurus-dominated car fleet, and instituted a “no idling” policy for city vehicles.

“There’s just a lot of things we can be working on,” he said.

Coleman also voiced frustration with Minnesota’s approach to instituting public transit. The state should stop focusing on individual Light Rail lines and instead envision a complete system, he said.

“Minnesota is falling behind with a line-by-line approach,” he said.

MATTHEW STONE