Coal Plant Makes Way for Clean Power in Minnesota
Four-and-a-half years ago the Sierra Club scored a major victory in Minnesota when Club activists partnered with the Clean Energy Now! coalition and the Minneapolis Urban League to persuade Xcel Energy to invest in the Metro Emissions Reduction Project, which included closing two of its coal-fired power plants and re-powering them with natural gas. The effort involved one of the largest-ever organizing efforts by the Minnesota Sierra Club, including major rallies and organizing all across the Minneapolis-St. Paul region and a big legal push before the Public Utilities Commission.
Am emphatic exclamation point was put on the Club's victory on June 28 when the smokestack of Xcel's High Bridge Power Plant in St. Paul was imploded and toppled to make way for a new clean-burning natural gas plant (see video clip, above). View a higher-res clip of the implosion here.
"This will back up the burgeoning wind investments that are booming all across the state, thanks to our recent success in enacting a renewable energy standard of 25 percent clean energy by 2020," says Sierra Club National Coal Campaign Director Bruce Nilles. "Credit goes to the chapter's Clean Air & Renewable Energy Committee and their partners at Clean Energy Now!"
The coal plant cleanup campaign gave birth to the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM) after the Sierra Club worked with the Minneapolis Urban League and U.S. Representative Keith Ellison to host the first-ever Public Utilities Commission hearing in North Minneapolis, where more than 200 people turned out to call for environmental justice by cleaning up metro area coal plants. The Sierra Club is continuing this partnership with an environmental justice organizer working with EJAM.
Below, Sierra Club activists at a Clean Energy Campaign rally in 2002 with the High Bridge smokestack in the background.
Photo by Michelle Rosier.