Stop me if you’ve heard this one: An environmentalist, a diesel vendor, and a public health worker are sitting around a table in Grand Rapids…
Despite being tantalizing close to another “Sven and Ole” knee-slapper, these were just a few of the participants that gathered on Tuesday, August 15 at our most recent event: the Clean Air Collaborative.
As many of you may know, our Clean Air program has been experiencing exponential growth in partners and projects that reduce air pollution emissions and invest in Minnesota’s economy. As bigger and better opportunities lie ahead, this was the perfect time to reconnect with partners and stakeholders in Greater Minnesota. As our last Northern Minnesota convening event was a Clean Air Minnesota meeting in Duluth in June of 2014, we were overdue for a visit!
Our goal was to reintroduce ourselves to the region and, most importantly, learn about Northern Minnesota’s priorities from Northern Minnesotans. With Blandin Foundation generously hosting and resources provided by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Flint Hills Resources, the event was a huge success. Representatives from private, public, tribal government and non-profit sectors were all in attendance having a meaningful conversation.
EVENT SNAPSHOT: OUTCOMES & ATTENDEES
The event began with presentations of Clean Air Minnesota programs, projects and partners, but the real pay dirt came from the facilitated breakouts sessions that followed. Participants explored:
- Cost-effective ways to use Volkswagen settlement dollars to better Minnesota’s environment, economy and public health
- A possible logging truck project through Project Green Fleet’s clean diesel work
- Actions to assist low-income residents in Northern Minnesota and on tribal lands access Project Stove Swap benefits
- How to engage other professional associations and community organizations in air quality, energy, and other environmental work
- Partnership opportunities that advance voluntary emission reductions and investment in Northern Minnesota
When the Itasca County Public Health Department is having lively discussions with the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, you know you’re doing something right. Other organizations, agencies, businesses, and governments in attendance included:
- American Lung Association
- CAT Ziegler, Inc.
- Fireplace Lifestyles, Inc.
- Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
- Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board
- Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Minnesota Logger Education Program
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Minnesota Power, an ALLETE Company
- Northern Minnesota Builders Association
- Nuss Trucking and Equipment
- Red Lake Band of Chippewa
- St. Louis County
- And many more
As the great Herb Brooks once said, “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” Here at Environmental Initiative, we look forward to making many great moments to come.