The Izaak Walton League resolutions process is about more than setting the League’s policy—it is a function that unites us in our mission. League policies also influence national and international environmental policy—policies vetted and approved by the League’s diverse membership provide a barometer for policies that are likely to pass muster with the American people.
Each year, League members draft resolutions outlining the steps they would like the organization to take to address natural resource problems. Resolutions that are formally adopted at the national convention become official policy and, together with the body of policies developed in the past, provide guidance to League staff, officers, and members as they seek solutions at the local, state, and national levels. The process also serves to educate members about critical natural resource issues.
In 2021, Chapter Member and former Chapter & Division President, John Crampton, submitted 5 resolutions that address climate change. The Bush Lake Chapter Board of Directors approved the following 5 resolutions in December, 2021. They will now go to the Minnesota Division and, if passed by the Division, the National Izaak Walton League.
Funding for Rural Electric Co-ops to Make a Rapid Transition to Renewable Energy
Background: Throughout the US rural cooperatives built during the Depression by New Deal programs are particularly reliant on coal powered power plants, in large part because they owe billions of dollars on plants that are increasingly uneconomic (the cost of wind and solar is now lower than the cost of coal generation). One can see this by driving through rural areas with large wind farms and solar gardens, only to realize that the power they generate goes to homes and factories in urban areas and not to local communities.
The US Department of Agriculture administers many loans for these rural co-ops, through its Rural Utilities Service (RUS). In the past these loans supported the construction of power plants - mostly fueled by coal. To operate at the lowest possible costs, the cooperatives signed many long term contracts that locked in the supplies of coal for decades at costs that are now higher than the current costs of wind, solar and battery storage.
Electric cooperatives and generation and transmission associations across the country owe billions of dollars in debt on coal plants, many of which in recent years have become more expensive to run than the cost of building new renewable energy projects. Instead of investing in new clean energy projects, many rural electric co-ops are stuck spending money to repay the debt owed on older coal plants - even when closing those plants would actually reduce energy costs for co-op members.
Now therefore, the Bush Lake Chapter Izaak Walton League of America, approves on this 2nd of December 2021, a request of Congress to approve the funding and authorizations necessary for the Dept. of Agriculture Rural Utility Services, including:
1.) a doubling of the annual finance authority for the Rural Utility Service (RUS) to provide low-cost financing for zero-carbon generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity, including distributed renewable energy assets as well as broadband infrastructure for smart grid solutions, and other technologies.
2. Offering debt relief to allow rural electric cooperatives to write down or restructure loans for stranded coal plants and other fossil fuel assets in order to redirect billions of dollars from cooperative members’ bills toward modern clean energy assets, both in front of and behind customer meters.
3. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will support electric cooperatives with technical assistance to make full use of the financing available through the RUS. This includes expanded funding for energy-efficiency upgrades and on-site solar energy and local battery storage investments that lower members’ utility bills and expand economic opportunity, including access to affordable housing in rural areas.
Ban the Sale of Internal Combustion Engines in Minnesota by 2035
Background: Transportation is the largest source of Greenhouse Gas emissions in the US, accounting for approximately 1/3 of all emissions. In addition, the refining of gasoline is the largest source of industrial emissions. Taken together, transportation and gasoline refining generate approx. 1/2 of all US emissions. The most effective way to cut those emissions is to electrify the transportation sector through the sales of BEV (battery electric vehicles) and PHEVs (plug in hybrid vehicles) which all major automakers worldwide (except possibly Toyota) are committed to doing in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The logical step is to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles as quickly as possible in order to reduce and stop this major source of CO2e emissions, NOx emissions (smog) and particulate matter.
The UN IPC estimates that we need to reduce all our GHG emissions by half before the early 2030s if we want to have a chance to hold global warming increases to 1.5 degrees C.
In addition, stopping the burning of gasoline in ICE cars will help prevent diseases and premature deaths from asthma, lung and heart diseases that cost thousands of lives ever year, especially in disadvantaged communities.
In combination with the greening of the electrical grid, this move to EVs will help stop the flow of billions of dollars to North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Alberta Tar Sands, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and it will preclude the need for pipelines such as Line 3. It will help build the local economies of communities throughout Minnesota that will be generating the renewable energy used by our electrified transportation sector.
Now therefore, the Bush Lake Chapter Izaak Walton League of America, approves on this 2nd of December, 2021 as a first step in moving away from automobiles towards more sustainable modes of transportation that starting on January 1, 2035, the sale of new vehicles that are powered by an internal combustion engine, which includes gasoline, diesel and hybrid electric (non-plug-in) vehicles, be banned in Minnesota.
Links and graphics:
Electric Vehicles and Clean Car Standards, Jukka Kukkonen, Plug-In-Connect, Shift2Electric and MN EV Owners Association https://vimeo.com/403847275
100% Clean Energy for Electricity in Minnesota by 2040
Background: Electrical generation in the US is the second largest source of Greenhouse gases (GHG) that are causing a rapidly acceleration of climate change. They presently represent 22% of the GHG in the US.
In Minnesota, approx. 25% of MN electricity is generated from renewables, 23% nuclear, 12% natural gas and 39% from coal, for a total of 51% from fossil fuel sources.
Minnesota needs to stop generating power from coal and natural gas as quickly as possible in order to reduce our Greenhouse gas emissions. The UN IPC estimates that we need to reduce all our GHG emissions by half before the early 2030s if we want to have a chance to hold global warming increases to 1.5 degrees C.
A 100% clean energy mandate in Minnesota is necessary to quickly stop burning fossil fuels, stop the building of fossil fuel powered electrical plants, and to promote the building of more solar, wind and battery storage capabilities- generating sources that are now the cheapest forms of energy on the market.
Stopping the burning of fossil fuels will prevent diseases and premature deaths from asthma, lung and heart diseases.
In addition, solar, wind and battery storage capabilities are abundant in Minnesota, and transitioning to renewables will stop the flow of billions of dollars annually that are spent in other states and countries. In turn, this will help build the local economies of communities throughout Minnesota.
Now therefore, the (Bush Lake Chapter) Izaak Walton League of America, approves on this 2nd of December 2021, a request that the MN State Senate pass and the Governor sign the 100% clean energy by 2040 bill passed by the Minnesota House in 2021 requiring all utilities operating in our state to be 100% carbon-free in their electric generation and sales to Minnesota customers by January 1, 2040.
100% Campaign and Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus Chris Conry, Campaign Director, 100% Campaign & Rep. Patty Acomb (DFL) District: 44B, MN House of Representatives, Chair of Climate Action Caucus Length = 29:00
Rural Minnesota Electric Vehicle Charging Study
Background: Electric vehicle corridors depend on DC fast chargers that enable EV owners to charge in 10-20 minutes. Commercial charging networks are putting DC fast chargers on major routes (I-35, I-94, I-90, 169) aimed at EV owners who are passing through and travelling long distances. However, this leaves major parts of the state dependent on slower home charging (level 1, level 2). This limits the adoption of EVs by people travelling between regional centers that are not on the major corridors.
At the same time, there are many locations in rural Minnesota that could support DC fast charging- farmers with heavy duty grain driers, state parks that are not using their electrical infrastructure during long periods of the year, technical colleges that are not being fully utilized during periods of time. All these could support high speed DC charging for long periods of time, and their availability could be assessed through the use of broadband communications on screens in the EVs. These chargers could represent an important revenue stream for these property owners and institutions.
This resolution is to commission a study by Minnesota Dept. of Commerce to study these possible EV charging networks that could be vital to Minnesota in achieving its climate goals and to the long-term economic development of rural Minnesota.
Now therefore, the Bush Lake Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America, approves on this 2nd of December 2021, requests that the Minnesota Legislature and Governor commission the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce to appropriate resources to study the potential for DC fast chargers in rural corridors, based on farms, state parks, technical colleges and other properties that have access to high-capacity electrical sources.
Electric School Buses by 2030
Background: Internal combustion engine powered school buses are a danger to our students and communities because of their emissions that are pumping Greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. They also emit NOx (smog), particulate matter, carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. We are setting a terrible example for our children who will have to live in a world that is being devastated by our addiction to fossil fuels. It is time to stop.
Converting our school bus fleets to electric vehicles offers many benefits:
- Climate mitigation through a dramatic reduction/elimination of Greenhouse gases.
- Improved health outcomes and lower healthcare costs treating asthma, lung and heart diseases caused by burning fossil fuels, especially among children in disadvantaged neighborhoods that line many of the major highway corridors.
- Electric school buses are cheaper to charge than gasoline costs, and they can be charged with 100% clean energy utility programs such as WindSource (Xcel) or Wellspring (Great River Energy). They can be charged at night when the demand of electricity and costs are low.
- Electric school buses are cheaper to maintain because they have very few moving parts…. No need for tune-ups, oil changes, engine overhauls, etc. When batteries are no longer suitable for EV use, they can be used for battery storage for many years. Recycling of batteries is also available. (The same cannot be said for Greenhouse gases that will be in the atmosphere for thousands of years)
- Electric school buses are available during summer periods of hot weather and high humidity so they can feed power into the grid at times of peak load (V2G). This will enable the school bus companies to charge the utility money to offset and/or eliminates costs of charging throughout the year. In effect, they can be a major source or battery storage to offset the intermittency of some renewable sources. This will be important because of the strains that climate change is putting on our electrical grid in terms of high temperatures/high humidity, massive wildfires and polar vortex events that require increased use of micro-grids and distributed electrical generation.
Now therefore, the Bush Lake Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America, approves on this 2nd of December 2021, a request that the Minnesota Legislature and Governor require that all school buses for public schools in Minnesota be electric battery powered vehicles by 2030.