Since 1974, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy has been protecting our water, air, land and people.
MCEA has been a consistent leader since it was founded in 1974 as the Project Environment Foundation. From drafting many of Minnesota’s key environmental laws in the 1970s to helping persuade the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2010 to revise its funding guidelines to consider the needs of community residents through which new transit lines run, MCEA has been at the forefront of every major environmental success story in Minnesota. It remains the only Minnesota nonprofit organization that combines on-staff legal, legislative, and scientific expertise in the effort to protect the environment.
MCEA works with many of the 80 environmental nonprofit organizations based in Minnesota, and regularly collaborates with business and governmental agencies,
MCEA is led by a staff of 13 professional and administrative staff with diverse backgrounds and skills. This includes individuals with legal, scientific, legislative, fundraising, program and executive experience. MCEA is supported by an 18 member Board of Directors that includes community, business, education, civic and environmental leaders.
MCEA’s mission is carried out through five program areas:
Water Quality: MCEA’s Water Quality program seeks to protect Minnesota’s greatest natural resource and economic asset, its water. Pollution from agricultural runoff is Minnesota’s #1 water problem. MCEA advocates for the adoption of protective nitrogen and phosphorous standards for flowing waters, defends the state's numeric nitrogen and phosphorous standards for lakes and reservoirs, and fully participates in large-scale implementation plans for turbidity reductions in the Minnesota River and phosphorus reductions in Lake Pepin.
Land Use and Transportation: The Land Use and Transportation program advocates for public policy platforms and funding mechanisms that support a broad set of choices for how people live and get around, both to protect the environment and improve public health. MCEA played a major role in the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (LRT) and is a leader in the formative stages of the proposed Southwest LRT and Bottineau Corridor in north Minneapolis.
Energy: The goal of the Clean Energy program is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released in (and into) Minnesota by preventing new coal-burning facilities from being constructed and retiring old coal plants. Additionally, the Clean Energy program focuses on long-term development of modern and sustainable energy sources for Minnesota.
Natural Resources: The Natural Resources program has been focusing on developing rational approaches to Minnesota’s growing aquatic invasive species problems, and updating Minnesota’s obsolete shoreland zoning standards.
Mining: The Mining program’s goal is to ensure that proposed copper-nickel mining projects in northeastern Minnesota are not permitted to go ahead until the companies prove their mines will comply with modern environmental standards. This involves a great deal of highly technical analysis and preparation for potential legal challenges. MCEA will work diligently to ensure that the mines are approved only if all appropriate environmental safeguards are required and if adequate and secure financial assurance is put in place so Minnesota taxpayers won’t get stuck with the bill when the mines close.