Huge Showing at Minnesota Capitol to Push Beyond Coal
Ignoring snow storm warnings, more than 700 people participated in a day of action, contacting their state representatives and gathering in the Capitol building in St. Paul to push for more clean energy and the jobs it generates.
One legislator called the day of action "one of the best and most energetic at the Capitol all year," said Michelle Rosier, a Sierra Club Minnesota Senior Campaign and Organizing Manager.
The Minnesota Beyond Coal team is one of 62 groups -- environmental, faith, labor, youth, and business -- pushing for legislation that would commit the state to 50 percent renewables by 2030, increase energy efficiency standards, and enable more local power generation.
SEIU union leader Javier Morillo-Alicea said: "For too long we have thought about the environmental movement and the goals of the labor movement as somehow being at odds," reported KARE 11, a local TV station. "We thought that good jobs and clean environment are at odds, and that is simply not true!"
"There was a strong showing of hundreds of youth marching in the snow and rain to join the rally," Rosier said. "Nearly a dozen electric vehicles and solar panels were on display on the mall in front of the Capitol as well."
Governor Mark Dayton, who told rally-goers that Minnesota should move beyond coal, made a picture of the rally the cover photo of his Facebook page. Speaker of the House Paul Thissen told the rally he supports a bill that would establish a clean-energy goal, and several more representatives appeared in solidarity.
The rally couldn't have been as successful as it was without the more than 50 volunteers who contacted nearly 5,000 supporters to mobilize the grassroots.
"All in all, this was a very strong showing by people who support clean-energy solutions," Rosier said.