MN Politicians React to Trump’s Climate Change Executive Order

News of President Donald Trump’s executive order to roll back environmental protections has spurred mixed reactions from Minnesota’s elected officials.

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A map of Minnesota's Energy Infrastructure (Image Credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration)

WASHINGTON — Politicians in Minnesota are responding to President Donald Trump’s latest executive order.

On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order which would shut down former President Barack Obama’s key climate change efforts, according to the New York Times.

The order calls on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt and rewrite the Clean Power Plan. The plan originally called for shutting down coal power plants and replacing them with wind and solar farms.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith were disappointed but resilient following the announcement of the executive order.

In a press release, Dayton called the executive order “damaging” stating, “Even as the Trump Administration seeks to roll back a decade of hard-fought progress, Minnesota will not flinch. We will show the nation what can be achieved by working together to solve the challenges facing our people, our economy, and our environment. We will share best practices with other states, and work with them to mitigate the damaging impacts of the President’s dangerous and divisive policies.”

Smith, sharing similar sentiments with Dayton, called the rolling back of the Clean Power Plan a “mistake.”

“Now is no time to turn back progress. Minnesota should press forward on clean, reliable and affordable energy, for the good or our climate, our environment and our economy,” said Smith.

In a Facebook post, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said he was “disturbed” by Trump’s executive order.

President Donald Trump put future generations in jeopardy today by rolling back important environmental and public health safeguards, including the Clean Power Plan,” Franken wrote, “You can’t erase facts, and man-made climate change is a fact.”

Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06), praised the executive order,

President Trump has rolled back the Obama Administration’s most harmful environmental regulations—including the Clean Power Plan, which has cost many American jobs and has driven up energy costs for American families,” Emmer said.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of 2016, Minnesota is ranked 18th in total consumption of energy per capita. Minnesota heavily relies on natural gas and coal – identified as the number one and two most consumed energy sources respectively.

While Minnesota ranked seventh in generating wind energy in 2015, it generated approximately 44 percent of utility-scale electricity from coal-fired electric power plants. The state also generates significant amounts of nuclear electricity, with 21 percent of Minnesota’s net electricity generation coming from the two nuclear plants in Monticello.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.