3 wins for clean air, water & energy

MCEA has been busy defending our environment and celebrating some big wins!

  • Chief Legal Officer Kevin Ruether and Staff Attorney Elise Larson traveled to Washington D.C. for the oral argument on a Supreme Court case focusing on the Clean Water Act 
  • MCEA won suspension of key PolyMet permits at the Minnesota Court of Appeals 
  • and MCEA won a decision that large industrial farms need to consider greenhouse gas emissions before permits are issued 

MCEA is fighting for safe water and air in courtrooms across the country, because we share your vision of a cleaner future for the next generation. 

MCEA's First Case at the Nation's Highest Court: MCEA staff headed to D.C. this week for the oral arguments in the Supreme Court case County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. MCEA submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa arguing that polluters that use the groundwater to contaminate our lakes and rivers must get a permit under the Clean Water Act. The case has major implications on the extent to which the Clean Water Act protects our water. This was the first time MCEA has represented a client at the U.S. Supreme Court. 


MCEA wins suspension of PolyMet permits: On October 23rd, less than 24 hours after hearing MCEA's  argument that PolyMet's mine and dam permits are illegal, the Court of Appeals decided PolyMet's permits must remain stayed (suspended) until the Court issues a final decision. The Court continued the stays despite DNR and PolyMet's pleas for the stays to be lifted immediately. While the permits are suspended, no destruction of natural resources can occur. The Court has 90 days to issue a final decision on whether the PolyMet proposal can proceed as permitted.

The Court's decision to continue the stays shows that the Court is taking our arguments seriously. As Aaron Klemz, Director of Public Engagement at MCEA, described it, he saw "independent judges cutting through the fog of the PR talking points of PolyMet. They demanded the truth, and demanded that PolyMet follow the law." 

Our fight to protect Minnesota from PolyMet's unsafe and polluting mine proposal is far from over. Please contribute today to help us continue this fight. 

L-R: Sr. Staff Attorney Ann Cohen speaking afterward, crowd waiting to be seated for the argument, MCEA's team at the Court of Appeals


MCEA climate win: On October 14th, MCEA won at the Minnesota Court of Appeals, resulting in the revocation of the permits for a mega-dairy factory farm because the impact of the project's huge greenhouse gas emissions was never analyzed. Agriculture is the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in Minnesota, after energy and transportation.  The yearly emissions from this factory farm alone would have been the same as driving an additional 21,895 cars on Minnesota roads. The Court agreed with MCEA and found that the State of Minnesota was required to consider this greenhouse gas pollution and how to mitigate it, before issuing permits. The case has now been sent back to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to determine the best way to evaluate and address the climate impact of this mega-dairy. Our goal is to create a process that provides incentives for feedlots to adopt best practices to limit greenhouse gas emissions and that identifies ways to mitigate pollution when it can't be avoided. 

This case only applies to our state’s largest industrial-scale feedlots which have the largest environmental impact. And that impact is significant - the fifty largest dairies in Minnesota have a combined climate impact equal to a large coal-burning power plant. This win is an important step forward in our efforts to ensure a livable planet for our children. 


Give to the Max Day 2019 is around the corner!

Minnesota’s 24-hour online give-a-thon, Give to the Max Day, is coming up on November 14. Visit our Give to the Max Day homepage to help us reach our goal. Your donations fuel us to protect Minnesota from dangerous and polluting projects like the PolyMet mine proposal. If you support our work, become a member of our team — donate today!



A railroad company wants to pump 500 million gallons of groundwater and ship it to the desert southwest. Water is Minnesota's identity and a critical natural resource. Join MCEA and tell our state leaders "don't give away Minnesota's water" - sign the petition today. 


Legally Green 2019 was a hit!

Thank you to our supporters for helping us celebrate our 45th anniversary and imagine together The Next 45.

We are humbled by the outpouring of support, and honored to play a role in protecting the Minnesota you love.

A few highlight from the event:

  • Aaron Klemz, Director of Public Engagement at MCEA, opened with a rousing speech about recent victories at the Court of Appeals to protect Minnesota from the unsafe, toxic PolyMet proposal.
  • The Give Get Sistet provided inspiring performances throughout the evening, including a song created to capture the atmosphere of the 2019 Legally Green and the work of MCEA.
  • Jordan Hamilton gathered inspiration for a mural (we'll share the final results soon). Jordan had Legally Green guests collaborate on whiteboards during the event.
  • Roxxanne O’Brien, shared her powerful story of the environmental injustice facing her community at the hands of large industrial polluters in North Minneapolis.
  • Kathryn Hoffman, MCEA's CEO, wrapped up the event with a reminder that even our best intentions won't matter to our children— we must act. 


Thank you to the sponsors of Legally Green: The Next 45

Champion Sponsors: Ron Sternal & Nancy Gibson, Peter Bachman & Janet Rice, Peter & Anne Reich, Bruce & Julie Steiner, Andrew & Cassidy Steiner, Compass Capital, and Amy Steiner
Preservation Sponsors: Zelle, LLP, Design Forty-Five, Birchwood Financial Partners
Conservation Sponsors: Lockridge, Grindal, Nauen, P.L.L.P., Wallace Carlson, Gardner Builders, Xcel Energy, Doug & Paula Hemer, Metro Plains, Madigan, Dahl & Harlan P.A.
Trailblazer Sponsors: Shelter Architecture, Fresh Energy, KLH, Inc.
Steward Sponsors: Associated Financial Group, Piragis Northwoods Co., Bank Cherokee


Wild & Scenic Film Festival on December 9th

MCEA is proud to sponsor the 2019 Wild & Scenic Film Festival on December 9th at Surly Brewing in Minneapolis. Click here for tickets. MCEA will be screening our short video on Limbo Creek as part of the event. Keep an eye on our Facebook page in the coming weeks - we will be giving away a few pairs of tickets!


Contact Us

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
1919 University Ave W
Suite 515
St. Paul, Minnesota 55104
(651) 223-5969