We have a right to clean air and water in our communities. Hennepin County has a responsibility to lead development projects that prioritize environmental health. I will use my voice on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to advocate for common-sense clean air and water solutions.
I will help move our board to divest from fossil fuels by updating county-owned vehicles to electric or hybrid. I would also push Metro Transit to convert its fleet of buses, including those part of Bus Rapid Transit, to electric. Buses are uniquely positioned to function well as green transport, as they have common routes and carry lighter loads than other large transport options.
I will evaluate phasing out the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), a garbage-burning facility in downtown Minneapolis. In addition to the toxins produced by burning, the byproduct produces solid toxic waste that is transported to landfills. Those most affected by environmental degradation, such as poor air quality, are often communities of color. Phasing out HERC aligns with my goal of promoting environmental justice.
I will push for Hennepin County to ban the use of plastics, which overwhelmingly harm our environment. Plastic production is fossil fuel intensive, and plastics are hard on our landfills and our wildlife and livestock. A plastics ban would establish our county as a leader in green consumerism in the area. I would ensure that small businesses and low-income communities are not disproportionately affected by a ban. The county can institute a phase-out program with appropriate guidance for small businesses, and exemptions and/or subsidies for WIC- eligible consumers.