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Archive for July, 2015

Emission Reduction Successes and New Study Build Support for Ongoing Efforts to Improve Minnesota’s Air Quality

July 16th, 2015

As we complete preparations for the next phase of Clean Air Minnesota – the state’s ongoing public and private partnership on air quality, this is a good time to take stock of our recent accomplishments. At the June Clean Air Minnesota meeting, each of the project teams presented their activities and associated emissions reductions, education gains, and plans for the future.

Air Alert Education and Outreach Team

  • Launched BeAirAware website which is a resource for residents, communities, and businesses concerned about how air quality affects health.
  • Increased the number of people and organizations receiving air pollution health alerts on poor air quality days.

Gas Can Exchange Team

  • Exchanged 1,500 spill-proof gas cans in Washington and Ramsey Counties.
  • Established a successful model exchange and education program, bringing in hundreds of first-time visitors, which increases public awareness of air quality and health.

Mobile Source Team

  • Completed all eligible school bus retrofits and supported another 21 heavy-duty diesel engine improvement projects.
  • Updating plans for additional diesel fleet recruitment and collecting and analyzing fleet survey information for future emission reduction projects.

Community Forestry Team

  • Hennepin County installed a gravel-bed nursery to provide replacement trees for ones soon to be destroyed by emerald ash borer; a cost effective way for the county to replace trees on county property.
  • Successful LCCMR grant proposal to build volunteer base and maintain trees.
  • Completed health impact assessment related to community forestry issues and legislative funding proposals were introduced; all of which helps promote the many values of large-scale community forestry efforts.

Wood Smoke Team

  • Education activities to raise awareness on the health effects of woodsmoke and smarter ways to burn wood through the Minnesota State Fair Eco-Experience and American Lung Association in Minnesota’s recent public outreach efforts.
  • A Minnesota Power supported wood stove change-out project for Northeast Minnesota is in final preparation stages.

Area Source Team

  • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and City of Minneapolis programs achieved multiple tons of emission reductions and both programs are hoping to expand in 2016. Read more »
  • Outreach, education, and funding efforts continued through Environmental Initiative and the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program.


Bill Droessler


Senior Director of Strategic Project Planning

Businesses Partner With State and Local Government to Reduce Emissions

July 2nd, 2015

Is there something in the air? Thanks to the work of several local businesses, the answer is actually, “less pollution!” The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and City of Minneapolis both have grant programs in place to help businesses voluntarily reduce emissions from their operations. And, rightly so, these businesses and government agencies are getting some well-deserved recognition for their work.

Earlier this week, Congressman Keith Ellison visited Ramin Hakimi and his staff at Oscar Auto Body in Minneapolis. A few of our staff participated in the visit as part of our role connecting business-owners like Ramin to the state and local resources available to reduce emissions. By installing a new paint booth that uses less toxic waterborne paint, emissions have been reduced at Oscar Auto Body by 600-700 pounds per year.

In addition to Congressman Ellison’s visit to Oscar Auto Body, a few other stories about air quality, volatile organic compounds, and emissions reductions efforts have popped up recently:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to release more stringent standards for ground level ozone this coming October. We want to see programs like these continue and expand. As a larger percentage of Minnesota’s air pollution comes from smaller and more dispersed sources, voluntary projects like these are really important. Regardless of where we end up under the new standards, projects like this are part of the solution to the air quality challenges our region faces.

If you’re interested in helping us think through ways to help increase the number of businesses who get access to the resources they need to improve air quality and reduce negative health impacts, contact Bill Droessler at 612-334-3388 ext. 105.

Emily Franklin


Director of Communications

Member of the Month: Andersen Corporation

July 1st, 2015

AndersenCompostBlog.jpg.As the largest window and door manufacturer in North America, Andersen Corporation understands the responsibilities of being an industry leader. Headquartered along the banks of the St. Croix River since its founding in 1903, environmental stewardship is in their nature.

With a long history if industry firsts, this past year was no different. In 2014, Andersen signed the Ceres Climate Declaration. The Declaration is intended to help accelerate the adoption of sustainable business practices needed to foster a healthy global economy. In consideration of the broad-based acceptance of recent International Panel of Climate Change (PPCC) reports, and increasing evidence of current climate change impacts, Andersen is proud to join the ranks of leading companies that recognize the need for collaborative commitment as a powerful force of change in the face of deeply entrenched challenges.  In support of this commitment, Andersen also announced new corporate sustainability goals, committing to reduce solid waste, energy and water use by 20 percent per unit of product by 2020, using 2013 as a baseline.

Since the building sector is responsible for a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, Andersen recognizes the opportunity to contribute substantially to the solution. Providing durable, energy efficient products play a key role in expanding green building strategies across all new construction and existing buildings.

Andersen takes a collaborative approach to continually improving the environment and communities where its employees live and work. By engaging employees, suppliers, customers, and community experts to understand best practices and benchmark operations, they continue to increase efficiency and reduce impacts. This collaborative approach is one of the common threads between Andersen and Environmental Initiative. Andersen’s continued support of Environmental Initiative’s Business and Environment Series helps advance collaborative efforts around sustainability within the region.

Look for their 2014 Corporate Sustainability Report, meeting the new GRI G4 standards, early this month!


A note from Environmental Initiative:
Each month, we feature information about one of our members on the Initiative blog and on our website. Contact me anytime at 612-334-3388 ext. 101 to learn more about this membership benefit.

Sacha Seymour-Anderson


Development Director
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