Environmental advocates, businesses and state agencies recognized more frequent days where air quality was poor, and concentrations of air pollutants like soot and smog were high. This group of people realized if nothing was done, air quality would continue to deteriorate and the state would be in danger of violating federal air quality standards.
In 2003, the Environmental Initiative was asked by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to convene a group of businesses, units of government, and environmental organizations to develop a set of strategies to clean up the air. The Clean Air Minnesota Steering Committee, worked to keep Minnesota’s air clean through proactive, voluntary approaches. Since the beginning of the partnership, emissions have been reduced from the autobody refinishing industry, printing industry and from diesel fleets. In recent years, the partnership has been focused primarily on reducing diesel emissions to improve air quality.
However, the likelihood of more stringent federal air quality standards being released for ground level ozone and particulate matter triggered the need to expand Minnesota's emission reduction efforts beyond diesel. Over the past eighteen months, Environmental Initiative convened a larger group of stakeholders to develop a broader set of strategies to reduce fine particulate matter and ground level ozone emissions, through Minnesota's Clean Air Dialogue.
Environmental Initiave plans to formally relaunch Clean Air Minnesota, the state's ongoing stakeholder engagement and partnership on air quality, following the completion of the current process.