U students lobby for renewable energy at the Capitol

Students from across Minnesota lobbied at the Capitol on Monday for cleaner energy standards and sustainable transit.

Hailey Colwell

 

More than 100 students from across Minnesota gathered at the state Capitol Monday to lobby for cleaner energy standards.

Students met with legislators to ask them to support a 40 percent renewable energy standard, a 10 percent solar energy standard and clean energy policies to keep Minnesota on track for a carbon reduction goal of 30 percent by 2025.

They also pushed for sustainable transportation expansion.

The lobby day was held in conjunction with Sunday’s Next Generation Environmental Congress, an event geared toward getting more youth involved in environmental policy decisions.

Students lobbying together in this magnitude can affect environmental legislation, said Dave Frederickson, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

 “Sometimes ten people with the same issue is a mandate for a legislator,” Frederickon said, “so does it make a difference? Absolutely, it makes a difference.”

Supply chain and operations sophomore Hunter Johnson said it’s important for students to be involved in energy policy.

“These decisions are going to affect us more than anyone,” Johnson said.

It’s important for students to take action now so as not to pass on today’s energy problems, he said.

“Some people argue about the urgency of it,” he said. “I think it’s unethical if we put that off to the next generation.”

Economics and statistics sophomore Jordan Wente came from the University’s Morris campus to meet with a legislator from his home district about renewable energy.

“I think right now there’s a lot of potential to create a very healthy economic environment for these energy resources,” Wente said.

He also said it’s important for students to take part in environmental lobbying efforts.

“Whether we like it or not, we can’t afford to sit back and do nothing.”

Frederickson also said it’s important for students to advocate for issues they care about.

“As my old friend Paul Wellstone used to say … ‘If you’re not there with the message you bring, no one else will be,’ and that message has to get through to students.”