Sierra Club North Star Chapter Supports Priorities for Lake Hiawatha and Surrounding Parklands

Contact: Joshua Houdek, Land Use and Transportation Program Manager, 612-259- 2447

Sierra Club North Star Chapter supports the following five principles for Lake Hiawatha, Minneapolis:

1. The timely, comprehensive and effective mitigation of the “north pipe” storm sewer
system as defined in previous planning discussions by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as the “open channel” option. Lake Hiawatha receives tons of trash and myriad pollutants that dump directly into the Lake via the north pipe storm sewer. This pollution severely impacts the water quality and ecological health of the Lake and its habitat. Given the scale of this particular urban sub-watershed, it is essential that an effective mitigation system be installed at the end of the line without delay, and should be a given in any public use scenario going forward.

2. Protection of existing habitat. A rich and diverse community of wildlife calls Lake Hiawatha home. Any use of the Land should include protection and preservation of the areas where existing wildlife populations reside, including generous buffer zones to limit intrusion into vital habitat areas.

3. The creation of new wetland habitat. We support the increase of habitat zones by increasing the ecological diversity of the land surrounding Lake Hiawatha. We want to see more biodiversity, climate resilience and flood storage capacity.

4. Discontinuation of the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers on the parkland
surrounding Lake Hiawatha. Given the park’s proximity to this important water resource and the porousness of the substrate, the use of these chemicals is unacceptable because of their impact on water quality, wildlife and ecological health.

5.  Equitable and accessible uses of the Park that invite all members of our community to
benefit from it as a resource, while focusing on sustainability and ecological health. We honor the Indigenous People of this land and believe they should be involved in the planning processes related to Lake Hiawatha and the surrounding parkland.

# # #


Minnesota Department of Commerce Agrees with Minnesotans that Line 3 Pipeline Expansion is Not Needed


Monday, September 11, 2017

Contact: Gabby Brown,

DoC’s analysis confirms that risks would outweigh limited benefits of Enbridge’s tar sands project

St. Paul, MN — Today, the Minnesota Department of Commerce submitted testimony to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Enbridge’s certificate of need application for its proposed Line 3 tar sands pipeline expansion project. In their recommendation, the agency concluded that that there is no need for the project, and that the risks outweigh any limited benefits, noting, “it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built.”

In order to build the new, expanded Line 3 pipeline through the state, Enbridge needs both a route permit and a certificate of need from the PUC. DoC’s recommendation that the certificate of need is not warranted is a significant setback for the project.

The PUC will be accepting public comments over the next few months and is expected to make a decision next spring.

In response, Margaret Levin, State Director for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, issued the following statement:

“We are thrilled to see the Department of Commerce recognize that Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion project would be all cost and no benefit for Minnesotans. If built, this pipeline would threaten Minnesota’s lands, water, wildlife, and Indigenous treaty-protected rights. At a time when there is no market demand for more tar sands, and Minnesota’s oil consumption rates are declining, there’s simply no good reason to allow Enbridge to build a dangerous new tar sands pipeline across our state.

“We urge the Public Utilities Commission to heed this recommendation, as well as the calls of thousands of Minnesotans who oppose this project, and reject the pipeline once and for all. Continued citizen participation in upcoming hearings and comments will be more important than ever. ”


Pruitt’s ‘Dirty Water Tour’ Makes Visit to Minnesota

July 19, 2017

Media Contact: Margaret Levin –, 612-659-9124

Saint Paul, MINN. (July 19, 2017) – Today, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was in Minnesota to promote the Trump Administration’s environmental agenda, including rollbacks to the federal Clean Water Act – a bedrock protection against dangerous pollution contaminating America’s waterways and drinking water supplies.

Margaret Levin, State Director of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter issued the following statement in response:

“Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes – a place where protecting water is more than a priority – it’s a way of life. We hope that Administrator Pruitt spends time during his visit learning more about the profound economic and environmental consequences for Minnesota from the Trump Administration’s misguided rollbacks to protections under the federal Clean Water Act.

Minnesotans expect the Environmental Protection Agency to be leading the fight to protect our most precious resources. Sadly, Administrator Pruitt is taking a different approach. Since assuming office back in February, Administrator Pruitt has proposed rolling back dozens of existing environmental protections – recklessly creating new threats to the health and quality of life of Minnesota families.

In 2008, Minnesotans overwhelmingly voted to raise their own taxes in order to provide future generations with clean water and a strong natural legacy. Administrator Pruitt’s actions so far have run in direct opposition to this historic effort.

We will continue to strenuously oppose the Trump Administration’s environmental rollbacks at every opportunity.”


Statement on endorsement of Betsy Hodges for Minneapolis Mayor

July 6, 2017
Contact: Peter Teigland, Political Chair,

Minneapolis – Today the Sierra Club North Star Chapter announced its endorsement of Betsy Hodges for reelection as Mayor of Minneapolis in a statement from Political Chair Peter Teigland:

“Put simply, Betsy delivered on the promises she made when we endorsed her in 2013. Three of the major issues from her campaign four years ago—organics recycling, the Clean Energy Partnership with the City’s utilities, and Complete Streets—are now city policy. We look forward to each of those signature issues taking its next step in her second term. We hope to see composting more widely available (consequently with less trash going to the HERC incinerator); we hope, as Mayor Hodges has promised, for an increase in utility franchise fees, which can be put toward energy conservation and renewables access for the City’s low-wealth residents; we hope to see the Complete Streets policy more widely implemented, and look forward to an ever-more walkable, bike-able, and accessible Minneapolis.

“We eagerly anticipate what she will accomplish in the next four years. Rolling out of Green Zones in North Minneapolis and East Phillips and the closure of Northern Metals’ North Minneapolis plant are good steps toward alleviating some of the historical environmental injustices in the city, and an indicator of things to come. We are also thrilled that Mayor Hodges has invested in additional staff resources to build the city’s resilience toward climate change.

“The relationships Mayor Hodges has built over her first term—from Van Jones and Pope Francis, to the League of Mayors, to environmental champions on City Council—are inherently valuable parts of municipal government not easily replaced. We are confident that she will be able to build on these relationships, and accomplish even more with a more progressive City Council and Park Board.”


Statement on endorsement of Elizabeth Dickinson for St. Paul Mayor

June 15, 2017
Sierra Club Contact: Peter Teigland, Political Chair,

Today the Sierra Club North Star Chapter announced its endorsement in the St. Paul Mayoral race in a statement by Political Chair Peter Teigland:

“The North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club is happy to endorse Elizabeth Dickinson for Mayor of St. Paul. The endorsing committee wholeheartedly agrees with her progressive vision for the city, and voted enthusiastically to endorse her candidacy. Sierra Club appreciates her commitment to clean energy and its economic potential. She is deeply and broadly familiar with the Sierra Club’s issues, and more than any other candidate in the race, she has encouraged and implemented policies that will lead St. Paul toward a more equitable and prosperous future.

“She is not a protest candidate, nor is she shy on detailed plans to make St. Paul a more just and verdant place. Her Solar on the Schools initiative, for example, is a thoroughly researched and thought-through plan to advance renewable energy for St. Paul’s citizens in an equitable manner. Likewise, her plans for inclusive financing will make energy efficiency and renewables available for all citizens of St. Paul, regardless of economic circumstance. With these and other plans, Ms. Dickinson’s leadership can make St. Paul the renewable energy capital of the Midwest.

“Her plans for development of the Ford Plant site are also informed by environmental justice and equity—and will hopefully presage a template for the city’s future development. The site represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for St. Paul to add density, affordable housing, and green space to the riverfront in a way that works with and celebrates the neighborhood. Her vision for the site will work for both existing and future residents.

“Citizen engagement is crucial to good government, and we believe that Ms. Dickinson will continue to develop a diverse, city-wide coalition of supporters committed to environmental justice and a clean, green economy. Because of her decades-long activism, she is familiar with the city’s inner workings. She is more than ready for the job. Ms. Dickinson’s collaborative, transparent leadership style is refreshing, and will reinvigorate City Hall. We know that active citizens create active leaders, and are thrilled to endorse her as the next Mayor of St. Paul.”


Sierra Club Urges “Do-Over” on State Budget


May 24, 2017

Media Contact:
Justin Fay –, 612-251-1457

Saint Paul, MINN. (May 24, 2017) – Late Monday, the 2017 regular session of the Minnesota Legislature concluded without a formal budget agreement in place. Since then, state leaders have been unable to agree on final bills for a number of critical budget areas, while previously passed bills addressing energy, environment and more have been met with heavy criticism.

Today, leaders and members of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter added their voices to those asking Governor Mark Dayton to reject the Legislature’s budget package .

Justin Fay, Senior Chapter Representative for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter issued the following statement in response:

“It is deeply unfortunate that leadership in the Minnesota Legislature has chosen the path of midnight hearings and poison pill provisions rather than delivering a budget that Minnesotans can be proud of.

Minnesotans value their clean air, clean water and healthy communities. However, you would never know that from reading the budget bills rushed through by legislative leaders during the dark of night. The omnibus bills for environment and energy/jobs, passed in the closing hours of regular session, include a variety of policy rollbacks that jeopardize the rights of citizens, clean energy jobs and healthy communities.

Less than 24 hours into special session legislators have advanced new attacks on working families and released a transportation bill that shortchanges our critical transit infrastructure.

The time for accepting flawed bills in the name of political expediency has passed. With their political deadlines blown, Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Gazelka have no reason to avoid starting fresh with a clean budget that respects Minnesota’s environment, clean energy economy and communities.”


Sierra Club Delivers 2,100 Petitions to MN Chamber Board Members

North Star Chapter
2327 East Franklin Avenue, Suite 1
Minneapolis, MN 55406-4420

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2017

Petition Challenges Policies That Would Dismantle Environmental Protections

(Minneapolis, MN (May 15, 2017) – Members of the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club today delivered a petition signed by 2,100 Minnesotans, calling upon members of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to re-examine their support of Chamber-backed policies that would dismantle Minnesota’s environmental safeguards protecting clean water, land and air. Specifically, these polices, recently vetoed by Governor Dayton, include:

  • Gutting Minnesota’s Environmental Quality Board that provides a forum for agencies and citizens to tackle complex resource challenges;
  • Allowing polluters to write their own environmental impact reviews;
  • Severely limiting downstream residents’ and local governments’ rights to challenge mining permits;
  • Allowing large industries to buy their way to expedited permit reviews; and
  • Adding significant barriers for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources to protect public resources while cutting agency enforcement budgets.

In addition, HF605, also recently vetoed by Governor Dayton, includes more than 30 hurdles that agencies must follow before making environmental decisions and allows any legislative committee to block these agency actions. The Sierra Club petitions calling for change were delivered to some of Minnesota’s most prominent businesses today including Target, General Mills, 3M, Medtronic, Polaris, and Hormel.

“Minnesota Chamber member businesses – through board participation and membership dues – give support to the Chamber’s legislative agenda,” said Margaret Levin, state director of the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Even if Chamber members aren’t vocally supportive of the legislation, they are guilty of allowing the business community’s political weight to be used to weaken protections for clean air and water.”

The petitions ask corporate leaders from Minnesota’s business community to speak “against rollbacks designed to protect our environment” and that these legislative provisions will “harm our environment and hurt Minnesota businesses and employees, hindering our important way of life.”

A copy of the petition is available here.

Justin Fay, 612-259-2453,
Cathryn Kennedy, 612-309-3951,
Pam McCarthy-Kern, 612-360-0647,