Obama orders Minnesota to cut emissions 41 percent - KMSP-TV

Obama orders Minnesota to cut emissions 41 percent

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Flickr/Creative Commons/Michael Hicks Flickr/Creative Commons/Michael Hicks
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minnesota is being asked to cut carbon emissions by roughly 41 percent over the next 15 years as part of a nationwide plan to reduce pollution from power plants, and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was quick to voice her support.

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On Monday, President Barack Obama announced his plan to reduce carbon emissions nationwide by 30 percent by 2030 as compared with 2005 levels. Hodges called it an "ambitious, yet achievable" goal and heralded the move as means of improving health, stimulating clean energy investments and creating jobs.

"Minneapolis has long been a leader in the strategies that will make the Clean Power Plan successful -- including the Climate Action Plan the City Council passed in 2013," she said. "The Energy Innovation Corridor, which stretches between Minneapolis and St. Paul, is a first-of-its-kind model that brings together public and private investment."

Some states will be allowed to emit more pollutants than others, but the overall reduction goal is 30 percent. Minnesota is one state being asked to do more, but a release from Hodge's office included a pledge to rise to the call. 

“I thank President Obama for his leadership; the effects of climate change are already being felt across the nation, and this proposal is ambitious, yet achievable," Hodges said. "These efforts to modernize our power plants will continue our progress in cutting carbon pollution, sparking homegrown clean energy innovation to create jobs and lower energy waste to save families money. I look forward to working with state leaders and the utilities that serve our city to support Minnesota’s strategies to meet the goals laid out in the Clean Power Plan to cut pollution and protect our environment for future generations.”

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who also chairs the Senate Energy Subcomittee, echoed the opinion that Minnesota is "well-positioned" to significantly reduce pollution. 

"We’re leading the way when it comes to homegrown renewable energy,” said Franken. “This proposed rule will benefit Minnesota and spur economic activity here at home—it’s going to unleash retrofitting, which I’ve been working on for years now, and it’s going to create jobs in renewable energy.”

Officials with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, utilities and environmental groups were still reviewing Obama's plan Monday; however, they say the state is already successful in reducing emissions and creating renewable energy, and is well-positioned going forward.

Earlier in the same day, Minneapolis city leaders awarded four local businesses for eliminating toxic materials from their processes. The 2014 Minneapolis Green Business Awards for Pollution Reduction went to:

- Martinizing Dry Cleaners
- Mulroy's Body Shop
- Paramount Collision Center
- University Service

The city offers grants of up to $30,000 to help dry cleaning businesses reduce pollution by removing perchloroethylene -- a neurotoxin that causes kidney damage and is identified as a likely carcinogen by the EPA -- in favor of "clean" solvents.

The city also offers grants of up to $20,000 to help vehicle repair, service and maintenance shops reduce air emissions and hazardous waste.

MORE: Green Business Grants

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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