Advisory: True Costs of Minnesota Power Plant Pollution to be Evaluated at PUC Hearing


Dec. 16, 2013

Alison Flowers, Sierra Club, 303-246-6297,

Jessica Tritsch, Sierra Club, 612-963-9642,

Beth Goodpaster, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, 651-287-4880,

Kevin Reuther, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, 651-287-4861,




True Costs of Minnesota Power Plant Pollution to be Evaluated at PUC Hearing


Low pollution cost values, no longer supported by current science, have not been updated for nearly 20 years

Fossil fuel energy costs Minnesota $2.5 billion annually in health and environmental impacts

WHAT:  The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will hear testimony and decide whether to update the values used in utility energy plans that help determine the true costs of power pollution, including its toll on public health and the economy. In October, clean energy and environmental organizations petitioned the PUC to update pollution costs based on new research on how pollution contributes to death and disease.

The pollution costs have not been updated since the mid-90s, at which time they were hotly contested. Research over the last two decades has increased understanding on how pollution affects public health. A June 2013 “Health and Environmental Costs of Electricity Generation in Minnesota” report found fossil fuel power pollution costs Minnesotans $2.5 billion annually in health and environmental impacts – 94 percent of this impact is from coal pollution. Accounting for these hidden costs in utility energy plans would demonstrate how clean, renewable energy protects Minnesotans health, unlike fossil fuels.

WHEN:       Thursday, December 19th, 9:30am (Note: Item is 10th on agenda)

WHERE:     PUC Large Hearing Room, 121 7th Place E, 3rd Floor, St. Paul, MN 55101


North Star Chapter Statement on Polymet Draft EIS Release


Contact:  Margaret Levin, 612-659-9124,

Today, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Polymet’s proposed NorthMet Mine near Hoyt Lakes.  Sierra Club State Director Margaret Levin issued the following statement in response:

“Minnesotans care deeply about their water, air, forests and wild lands.  Polymet’s proposed sulfide mining operation threatens all of these.  We encourage all Minnesotans to carefully educate themselves about the proposed project and to take advantage of the opportunities for public comment announced today by the Department of Natural Resources.  In every other state where this type of sulfide mining has occurred, the result has been a perfect record of toxic water pollution and environmental destruction.  The Sierra Club North Star Chapter is committed to ensuring that Minnesota’s Arrowhead does not share in this unfortunate legacy.”


 The Sierra Club North Star Chapter is the leading grassroots voice to preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment.