What MN's lawmakers have said about the EPA, Trump's executive order

A look at MInnesota's U.S. senators and representatives, and their comments on the environment.
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President Donald Trump at the EPA, discussing his executive order Tuesday.

President Donald Trump at the EPA, discussing his executive order Tuesday.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday reshaping the U.S. policy on clean energy and climate change.

The Washington Post has a lot of good details, but broadly: it orders an immediate review of the Clean Power Plan adopted under the Obama administration as a way to slow down greenhouse gas emissions; nixes a policy that required federal officials to weigh the possible environmental impact of a new action before making any decision; and tries to open up the coal industry.

Why? Well Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, said the actions are "returning the agency to its core mission of protecting public health while also being pro-energy independence."

Trump meanwhile promised more jobs, and an "end to the war on coal," RT reports. Trump never said the term "climate change" – which is maybe expected after the White House website's climate change page was removed in January.

Here's a look at how some of Minnesota's state lawmakers and governor are reacting.

Gov. Mark Dayton – DFL

Dayton called the rollback "destructive" and said it will do "irreparable damage" to the environment and economy. He also promised Minnesota will forge ahead on its own environmental path.

"We will continue to build on the progress of our nation-leading Next Generation Energy Act, and redouble our commitment to providing clean, affordable water for all Minnesotans," he said.

A little background: Obama signed the Clean Power Plan in August of 2015 – and shortly afterward, research from a climate change concern group found the state was already well on its way to meeting those goals.

Rep. Tim Walz – DFL

Rep. Jason Lewis – R

Lewis has not released a public statement as of Wednesday morning, but he has previously praised rollbacks on Obama-era environmental regulations that gave more power to the EPA. And he recently voted in favor of a proposal requiring the EPA to not advance new regulations that aren't backed by "transparent or reproducible" science.

Rep. Erik Paulsen – R

Paulsen also has not commented on Tuesday's executive order, though on his site says the country needs "affordable, cleaner renewable energy solutions including solar, wind, nuclear, hydro, and biofuels." He also called Minnesota a leader in diversifying its energy supply.

He also calls for more domestic natural gas and oil production by drilling along the outer continental shelf.

Rep. Betty McCollum – DFL

Rep. Keith Ellison – DFL

Ellison has not commented publicly on the rollback, but recently advocated for a $100 million program the EPA would run to encourage waste prevention and recycling.

Rep. Tom Emmer – R

Emmer, a member of the Western Caucus, called the executive order "another positive step towards putting the United States back on the path to becoming energy independent." He said it "benefits entrepreneurs, consumers and families across the country," and undoes burdensome regulations enacted by Obama.

Rep. Collin Peterson – DFL

Peterson hasn't released a statement on Trump's executive order. In 2010, he sponsored a bill to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and to stop them from "harming the renewable fuels industry."

"I have no confidence that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act without doing serious damage to our economy," Peterson said at the time.

Rep. Rick Nolan – DFL

Nolan, who hasn't commented publicly on the recent executive order, has generally tried to work with the EPA while still promoting mining interests. He says America has "made great progress" fixing contaminated flammable rivers and polluted air, but says "there is still much more work to do."

"The time is long past when America had to choose between jobs and clean air, water, and land," he adds, while advocating to lower the U.S. carbon footprint and still allowing mining and pipelines that are done safely.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar – DFL

Klobuchar hasn't put out a public comment on Trump's executive order, though on her site says she makes combating climate change a priority, and supports an approach that will "reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the development of energy efficient technologies and homegrown energy resources."

She also touts renewable energy as an important industry to develop.

Sen. Al Franken – DFL

Franken was quite critical of Trump's executive order, saying he's "more than a little disturbed" about the regulatory changes – especially when thinking about his kids and grandkids.

"You can’t erase facts, and man-made climate change is a fact," he said, later adding: "Not addressing climate change is simply not an option. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan gave us a blueprint to begin addressing the problem head on while at the same time seizing amazing economic opportunities. President Trump’s plan is a political ploy that’s not grounded in reality."

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