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ENEWS: Infrastructure & the Environment

Date Published: 04/15/2021

Author: Erin Wilson

Infrastructure and the Environment - APWA

This week’s newsletter focuses on the intersection of environmental resilience and infrastructure. To do that, we want to highlight some work from the Minnesota chapter of the American Public Works Association, such as this presentation on their Environmental Stewardship Award 2020, which they awarded to Sustainable Eden Prairie. The effort works on “education and implementation of sustainable practices to protect the environment and natural resources the community enjoys.” The presentation highlights Sustainable Eden Prairie’s best practices, which included the 20-40-15 Initiative, Partners in Energy, Fire Station #2 Water Reuse System, Rooftop Solar and Community Solar Garden Subscription, Climate Action Plan, and more. Several of these practices intersected infrastructure and the environment; for example, the Fire Station #2 Water Reuse System developed a partnership between Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District, SRF Consulting, Engineers without Borders, and Met Council to install a rainwater and water reuse system, which conserves 41,000 gallons of drinking water each year and meets 98% of the fire station’s water needs. 

APWA MN also has an Environment and Sustainability Committee. You can read about some of their work with the environment and infrastructure in their Executive Committee Year End 2019 Update.

New legislation tracking page

Check out the new (and more organized) page for tracking Minnesota Equity Blueprint-related legislation on our website! It can now be found in the drop-down box under the ‘Media’ tab. Bills are sorted into the four categories of the Blueprint, plus an additional cross-sectional category. Each bill has a description, a section for updates, and a link to its individual page on the Minnesota Legislature website with statuses and more information. This week’s new bills and updates can be found below. 

Updates: 

New bills:

HF 1077/SF 969 Omnibus housing finance and policy bill On House Calendar for the Day 4/15
HF 2174/SF 2343 Electric transit vehicle infrastructure appropriation bonds issuance authorization and appropriation  

Chauvin Trial Updates

The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues this week amidst immense pain and tension following the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center on Sunday. This week, the defense started calling forward its witnesses after the prosecution rested its case. The witnesses have included Barry Brodd, a use-of-force expert who said Chauvin’s actions were consistent with Minneapolis Police Department standards, Dr. David Fowler, a retired forensic pathologist who disagreed with previous testimony that George Floyd died from oxygen deprivation, and former Minneapolis police officer Scott Creighton and retired paramedic Michelle Moseng, who both testified about Floyd’s arrest a year before his death. You can read key takeaways from each day of trial this week in this Minnesota Daily article. You can read more about the defense’s witnesses in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder trial coverage.

April 13 TRUE Tuesday

This past Tuesday the Transforming Rural Understanding of Equity (TRUE) partnership hosted a TRUE Tuesday on Sharing Your Rural Narrative. Panelists from around the state shared how they utilized storytelling “to help deepen the understanding of what local residents are doing on a daily basis to advance equity and anti-racism work in their communities, and to learn what is needed to sustain the emotionally taxing work of being from, working within, and living the change you wish to see in your community,” the event description reads. During the session, Growth & Justice President Jane Leonard and Mónica Segura-Schwartz with the Latino Economic Development Center presented on the Rural Communities Equity Action Guide, and Anna Claussen of Voices for Rural Resilience and Ashley Hanson of the Department of Public Transformation presented on the Rural Reveal creative brief, which they created in partnership with the Region Five Development Commission. You can access a recording of the session here

Host Camille Caster-Cyprian described the space created through this series of sessions as “one of co-learning, connection and relationship, as well as a space of action” where “we are working to disrupt ideologies, structures and systems of oppression so that rural Minnesota, and all of Minnesota... can be safe, inclusive and prosperous for all.” 

“This equity work is not something you necessarily train in— though you can grow your skill and capacity— but it’s something that you nurture,” Camille said during the session.  

Quote:

“When we talk about sustainable development, it’s much more than green roofs on buildings and the use of recycled materials. It’s the broader concept of development that works for today’s users and will ultimately still be utilized by people in the future… Sustainable, even when unchanging in definition, may be something different depending upon the environment, the economy, and the social well-being of the individual community.” - Matt Saam, “The Need to Be Sustainable” on APWA website


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