Letter to the Editor

By Saina Kasper and Christina Getaz

What is the future of energy in Minnesota? What do you want it to be? This question weighs heavily in a world dealing with carbon emissions, pollution, and climate change. Are we addressing these problems and taking steps forward towards clean, renewable energy sources? In 2007, MPIRG organized around the Renewable Energy Standard, calling for 25% of Minnesota’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025, which is now state law. This was one step forward in advocating for a clean energy future. Unfortunately, this legislative session lawmakers want to take steps back. There is currently a bill in the Minnesota State Legislature that will lift Minnesota’s moratorium on building new coal-fired power plants (HF 72 and SF4). Coal power plants bring with them huge fossil fuel carbon emissions, pump NOx, SOx, mercury and other pollutants into the environment, and are reliant on a fuel source not found in Minnesota. There are cleaner alternatives that will fall by the wayside if we continue investing our energy future in coal. As the generation that is inheriting this energy future, our voices should be heard.

Like we were with the Renewable Energy Standard bill in 2007, MPIRG is back at the capitol this year. Students have already testified in committee meetings on the subjects of repealing the nuclear and coal moratoriums. Our work is not limited to environmental policies, either; Macalester’s own Matthew Butler testified on the proposed Voter Photo ID bill on Thursday.

MPIRG works on a multitude of issues both on and off campus through our Environment, Democracy, Public Health and Economic Justice Task Forces. If you would like to organize with other students around issues that are important to you, check out our Spring Introduction Meeting on Tuesday, February 8th at 10pm in Kagin. You can learn about what we have in the works and you can bring your ideas to share with other students. Check it out if you’re just curious, or if you’re ready to jump in and start making a difference; we can have you at the capitol as soon as Valentine’s Day for our Healthy Legacy Lobby. And yes, you can bring a date.

Shaina Kasper ’13 and Christina Getaz ’13 are MPIRG Environmental Task Force Leaders. They can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively.