Monday, April 22, 2013

One Step at a Time—Going Green

Happy Earth Day! Is your city looking for a long-term way to make a positive impact on the environment? The League has been partnering with GreenStep Cities since 2010 to help members do just that, and run more efficiently as cities to boot.

GreenStep Cities emphasizes cost savings, reduction of energy use and smart solutions. The totally voluntary program includes 54 cities as small as Milan (pop. 326) and as large as Rochester (pop. 106,769). See the full list of GreenStep Cities here.
Minnesota Municipalities, 1931

In honor of Earth Day, here are a few more examples of cities and stewardship, then and now. Check our April 17 post for one of the first formal League actions regarding environmental protection.

1931: A feature in Minnesota Municipalities dedicates a whopping five pages to the subject of “idle lands,” described as “those that have been so completely wrecked that nature cannot restore them to usefulness without human assistance.” The author argues that the estimated 10 million acres of idle lands in the state has had a sizeable impact on taxable value and delinquencies, subsequently increasing tax rates.

1934: The League’s Year Book records that 115 municipal or large institutional sewage treatment plants are complete or under construction in the state. In 1933, 37 more municipalities and a sanitary district start planning for the infrastructure that will keep sewage out of open water, according to a report from the Northfield News.

2004: The League joins the “G-16,” a group of local government, business, agriculture, environmental, and state agency stakeholders. Their work leads to development of and passage of the Clean Water Legacy Act.

2006: The League co-produces a documentary with Twin Cities Public Television, “Great Waters Gone Bad," that is still in rotation today.

2008: The League works to establish ways for cities to use the Public Building Energy Efficiency Program and Property Assessed Clean Energy program to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

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