In the first quarter of 2019, Clean Air Minnesota (CAM) spent plenty of time on the road with our partners. In the span of two weeks, we held events with our partners in both Rochester and Mountain Iron, both of which were exciting in their own ways. There’s nothing quite like driving home from the Iron Range in a snowstorm! During the events, dozens of community partners turned out to support CAM and learn about clean air projects and possibilities. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Department of Health shared their updated “Life and Breath” report. In Rochester, Kevin Bright, of the Destination Medical Center and the City of Rochester, explained some of the exciting, comprehensive and expansive development plans for the area. We’re excited to see how their plans will provide regional health, environmental and economic benefits.
As with any ambitious task, we couldn’t have done it without our partners. A big thank you to Minnesota Power and Foth. Their financial support was instrumental for the Mountain Iron meeting. We also appreciate the agencies willing to help us broaden our engagement on air quality issues statewide. Brandy Toft, Leech Lake Environmental Deputy Director with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, extolled the group in Mountain Iron, saying, “We encourage [Environmental Initiative] to continue to meet throughout our State and listen to what communities need to keep their air clean or what issues they are dealing with; we can all learn from each other.”
During the CAM strategic planning process last summer, we set goals to increase project capacity and funding in communities and to leverage resources, skills and expertise to maximize outcomes. These road trips were a step in achieving these goals in Greater Minnesota.
We realize we have a long way to go to be able to say that we are engaging routinely with partners and communities outside the Twin Cities, but these two trips were a good start.
Thank you to all the partners and people who came out to learn with us in Rochester and Mountain Iron. We’ll see you again soon!