Minnesota Gov. Dayton vetoes energy omnibus bill opposed by green groups

Dive Brief:

  • Gov. Mark Dayton (D) on Monday vetoed the Minnesota Jobs and Energy Omnibus bill, saying the legislation would "erode the clean energy progress we have made over the last decade," take away citizen input on siting decisions and roll back energy efficiency gains.
  • The bill would have gotten rid of a Made in Minnesota renewables manufacturing program, along with a renewables development fund, reports Midwest Energy News
  • The bill was assailed by environmental groups, with the Minnesota chapter of Sierra Club saying the policies would "dismantle Minnesota’s environmental safeguards protecting clean water, land and air."

Dive Insight:

Dayton rejected the omnibus bill in no uncertain terms, calling the energy provisions "perhaps the most controversial policies proposed." Combined, the measures would restrict citizen input on siting, put solar jobs at risk, and set the state back years on energy efficiency, he said.

"These policies are polarizing individually, but have all been included in this bill with minimal public discussion," Dayton wrote in his veto letter.

Earlier this year the governor vetoed a bill aimed at changing how fee disputes with rural electric cooperatives and municipal providers are handled in the state, choosing to maintain strong oversight by the state's Public Utilities Commission. That same provision was included in the omnibus bill, reports Midwest Energy News.

The North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club is calling on the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to re-examine its support of several policies — those rejected by Dayton's veto — including weakening the state's Environmental Quality Board and limiting downstream residents’ and local governments’ rights to challenge mining permits.

“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," said Margaret Levin, state director of the chapter.

Dayton and lawmakers are due to resume budget talks this week, Minnesota Public Radio reports

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Regulation & Policy