Launch of Coalition for Clean Transportation coincides with global day of action
Five of Minnesota’s leading advocacy organizations today announced an alliance to push for zero-emission transportation solutions statewide. MN350, Fresh Energy, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, TakeAction MN, and ISAIAH have agreed to collaborate and apply their combined organizing and policy expertise to advance technologies that will combat climate change and reduce pollution in Minnesota’s communities.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has reported air pollution causes 2,000 deaths annually in the Twin Cities alone. The Coalition for Clean Transportation urges Minnesota policymakers to recognize the human and environmental costs of burning fossil fuels and the social benefit of zero-emission alternatives.
The launch of the coalition comes after a global day of protests, marches and educational events sponsored by the People’s Climate Movement. The Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice campaign demands a shift away from harmful fossil fuels in all industries. The release is also during Drive Electric Week, during which electric vehicle industry groups nationwide publicize their offerings.
Capitalizing on its sizable combined base of supporters in the state, the Coalition for Clean Transportation will spotlight that zero-emission vehicles are more than simply a luxury product. Rather, they serve as a powerful tool for environmental justice.
The coalition calls for Metro Transit to shift its bus fleets to zero-emission vehicles by no later than 2030. Buses travel through dense urban communities, where residents suffer comparatively higher rates of pollution-related illness. Electric buses cost less than traditional buses once fuel and maintenance expenses are considered. The Metropolitan Council’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan, currently being updated, proposes purchasing 225 buses -- but with no requirement that any of them be electric. The Coalition for Clean Transportation sees that discrepancy as more than a mere oversight but rather as governmental malpractice with harmful consequences.
Coalition members also have begun working with local governments to boost clean transportation policies. We urge cities and counties to move quickly to take advantage of grants provided by Minnesota’s share of the VW settlement by accelerating the transition of their fleet vehicles to electric and to moving to install charging infrastructure.
"Transportation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases in Minnesota. We are calling on decision makers, utilities and transit providers to protect our communities by leading a bold, just transition to zero emission vehicles now."
- Margaret Levin, State Director, Sierra Club North Star Chapter
“Zero-emission transportation isn’t just a toy for the rich. If we use it right, it can be a powerful tool for environmental justice.”
- Noa Shavit-Lonstein, Organizer, MN350
“Electrifying our transportation sector is absolutely critical to reducing our economy wide emissions. Electric cars and buses mean less air pollution, reduced health impacts, and a cleaner energy system. Fresh Energy is proud to work with our partners to make this a reality in Minnesota.”
- Mike Noble, Executive Director, Fresh Energy
"As Minnesotans, we value clean air and water. We’re grounded in the reality of a changing climate and the urgent need to act now. Greedy corporate interests want to keep us hooked on energy that wrecks our environment. That’s why we need people fighting for clean transportation. We’re proud to be part of this smart, forward-looking coalition.”
- Elliane Farhat, Executive Director, TakeAction Minnesota
“To create a future for our kids and grandkids, it’s time for us to act together to ensure that future is carbon-free,” said Doran Schrantz, Executive Director of ISAIAH. “Each step we take in this direction, makes more and more possible. It’s just common sense for the common good to start with 100% clean transportation.”
- Doran Schrantz, Executive Director, ISAIAH