FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2020
Climate leaders pressure MN Chamber to put state’s people and businesses over fossil fuel industry
Environmental groups spotlight Chamber’s opposition to legislative climate solutions as conflicting with priorities of its membership
A group of Minnesota’s climate change and clean energy leaders are calling out the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce for prioritizing the interests of the fossil fuel industry over its members and the people of Minnesota. MN350, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light and Environment Minnesota today launched a multichannel campaign to challenge the Chamber’s continued opposition to progress on climate and clean energy at the Minnesota Legislature.
The groups believe the Chamber is promoting the interests of Flint Hills Resources and other fossil fuel businesses over calls from its members to address climate change at the state level.
“The people of Minnesota and most Minnesota businesses understand that climate change is bad for business,” said Sam Grant, Executive Director of MN350. “As the COVID-19 crisis devastates families and businesses across our state, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce continues to ignore science, Minnesotans and its largest members by opposing legislation like the ECO Act, which will reduce energy bills for our communities and reduce our state’s climate impact.”
In recent years, the Chamber has publicly opposed nearly every piece of legislation designed to increase access to renewable energy for Minnesotans and limit the amount of climate pollution created by our state. The Chamber’s positions contradict the requests of its largest members, including Target, Cargill, Best Buy, General Mills and Tennant. They were among companies that sent a letter last year urging state lawmakers to address climate change. Many of these businesses have also made significant commitments to reduce their climate impact – including General Mills, which last week announced it would power its operations with 100 percent clean energy by 2030.
Campaign sponsors pointed out that a lobbyist for Flint Hills Resources and Koch Companies currently sits on the chamber’s board, which could explain its opposition to pro-business, clean energy legislation. According to the MN Campaign Finance Board, the Chamber has spent $6.5 million on lobbying in Minnesota in the past three years.
“Minnesota must be a leader in the battle against the climate crisis we are all facing,” Grant said. “It’s time for the Chamber to stop doing the dirty work of the fossil fuel industry and stand up for the values of Minnesotans and our business community.”
MN350 is a statewide group with 20,000 supporters working to make Minnesota a national leader in a just transition to a clean energy economy. MN350 Action is its political and advocacy arm.