State Update: Minnesota

Minnesota lowers greenhouse gas emissions, addresses climate resiliency, and hands out water efficiency grants.

The Governor signed an executive order in early December that establishes a Climate Change Subcabinet and Advisory Council on Climate Change. The Subcabinet will “identify policies and strategies that will put Minnesota back on track to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors to a level at least 30% below 2005 levels by 2025, and to a level at least 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.”

The group is also tasked with identifying “policies and strategies that will enhance the climate resiliency of Minnesota’s natural resources, working lands, and communities” The Advisory Council is a 15-member (max) group that is going to advise the Subcabinet. The council will meet four times per year to “identify opportunities for, and barriers to, the development and effective implementation of policies and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate change resiliency.”

They are also going to promote equity and a just transition for impacted workers and communities.

The Metropolitan Council awarded 40 local governments a combined total of $787,100 in water efficiency grants. The grants will be used to help residents swap out inefficient appliances with more efficient WaterSense- and Energy Star-labeled replacements.

The municipal-level grants range from $40,000 to $2,000. Communities are required to provide a match to their grant so that the breakdown of funds is 75% Council funds and 25% local funds. “Increasing water efficiency helps reduce stress on the aquifers and potentially reduces the number of new water supply wells needed in the future,” explained Brian Davis, engineer for the Council. While no date was given as to when residents could start utilizing incentive programs, it is anticipated such programs will come online in 2020.