Minneapolis: Reverse cuts to clean energy and racial equity programs

Minneapolis City Council
350 South 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

December 9, 2014

Dear City Council Members:

On behalf of the Sierra Club’s more than 3,000 members and supporters in the City of Minneapolis, we are writing to share our deep disappointment about the recent 7-6 vote to cut racial equity programs and the Clean Energy Partnership—all to save homeowners an average of only $2.50 per year.

The funding for the Clean Energy Partnership included in the Mayor’s budget is critical to advance the City’s clean energy and efficiency goals. The Partnership is a unique, first-in-the-nation agreement with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy that will advance these goals, while promoting equitable policies. The cuts would send a disastrous message that the City is not serious about the agreement, and undermine the dedicated citizen and Council leadership that has made this partnership possible. We urge you to keep it and the City’s climate goals on track by restoring funding for the program.

We are gravely concerned by the deep cuts approved to programs addressing racial equity, which include the One Minneapolis Fund’s grants to organizations based in communities of color working to create a more inclusive city, and the study of racial disparities through the Civil Rights Department.

The North Star Chapter is committed to becoming an intercultural, anti-racist organization that is partnering with communities and organizations to eradicate all forms of oppression. Minneapolis has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation, which must be urgently addressed to advance racial and economic justice. These cuts strike at the heart of that effort and undermine the City’s national leadership on reducing and managing the impact of climate change, and efforts to ensure that all our citizens have an opportunity to experience clean water, clean soil and a safe environment.

We appreciate your previous commitment to advancing climate solutions and racial equity, and urge you to restore funding to racial disparity programming and the Clean Energy Partnership on December 10.  These issues are closely intertwined. We hope they will receive your strongest support.

Sincerely,

Mathews Hollinshead
Conservation Chair
Sierra Club North Star Chapter

Margaret Levin
State Director
Sierra Club North Star Chapter