DFL members of the Minnesota Senate announced the formation of a new “Senate DFL Clean Energy and Climate Caucus” last week.
According to a press release, the goal of the caucus is to grow “clean energy in Minnesota” and combat “the effects of climate change.” Specifically, the caucus will work on pushing Gov. Tim Walz’s climate agenda, like his plan to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050, through the Republican-controlled Senate.
“The governor has laid out a very bold initiative on clean energy so we are bringing as many people together in our caucus as we can to start that conversation of how we can accomplish that,” Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) said during a Monday press conference. “We’ve seen thousands of people come to the Capitol over the last legislative session urging us to make this issue a priority.”
The new caucus is composed of 29 DFL senators and will be chaired by Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato).
“Minnesotans are demanding we act on climate change. We can’t continue to kick the climate can down the road,” said Frentz. “It’s 2019, and we’re seeing wildfires, flooding, and catastrophic storms across the globe. Here in Minnesota we’ve seen damage caused to farms by unprecedented amounts of rain in a short time. We need a public hearing in the Minnesota Senate to discuss proposals to help grow our clean energy economy and combat climate change.”
The formation of the climate caucus follows an executive order from Gov. Walz establishing a new “Climate Change Subcabinet.” Walz’s office said earlier this month that the new sub-cabinet will “guide the Walz-Flanagan administration in the pursuit of bold and collaborative action to combat climate change,” The Minnesota Sun reported.
“We have a responsibility to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren,” Bakk added. “Listening to the thousands of students and families who have come to the Capitol to ask for action this year is just the right thing to do.”
He and his colleagues criticized Senate Republicans for failing to hold a single public hearing examining “the causes and effects of climate change since they took the majority in 2017.”
Republican Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound), chair of the Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, said the new caucus “shows no interest in working across the aisle and sends a clear message that Republicans need not apply.”
“Democrats are hellbent on tripling the cost of energy in Minnesota with little or no measurable benefits. Instead of continuing to pursue exclusively Democrat solutions, political leadership in Minnesota should seek out diversity as they advocated for in the ‘One Minnesota’ message that Governor Walz ran on in 2018,” he continued. “This means reaching across the aisle and including Republicans, industry experts, and residents who can offer unique perspectives and solutions to the problems that we collaboratively face.”
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