The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Minnesota

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Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.

Between 2017 and 2019, Minnesota experienced one flood and two severe storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

  • Minnesota faces one of the greatest threats from widespread summer droughts across the lower 48 states.
  • In the six decades between 1951 and 2012, total precipitation in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region increased by more than 20 percent, or 5 inches.
  • In 2019, Minnesota experienced 1,021 wildfires, ranking 13th for the highest number of wildfires in the United States that year.

Temperature

  • Minnesota rarely experiences days when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will increase to more than 15 days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 110,000 people in Minnesota who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
  • Minnesota’s winters are warming 13 times faster than its summers.
  • Minneapolis is the 14th fastest-warming city in the United States.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Minnesota residents $339.5 million
  • The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because Minnesota’s economy relies heavily on its agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Agriculture: Agricultural production and processing generate more than $112 billion annually in economic impact and support more than 431,127 jobs.
    • Tourism: In 2016, tourism in Minnesota generated nearly $15 billion in economic impact and supported more than 265,000 full- and part-time jobs.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Minnesota generates 140,000 direct jobs and more than $16 billion in consumer spending.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Minnesota decreased by more than 84 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.

Water quality

  • In 2017, the Trump administration reversed an Obama-era legal opinion, clearing the way for a 30,000-acre, environmentally disastrous proposed mining project in Minnesota. The project lies just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near key bodies of water, creating the potential for environmental destruction on an unprecedented level. Toxic heavy metal release and mine drainage adversely affect aquatic life and the quality of watersheds and drinking water. Additionally, this project threatens Minnesota’s essential outdoor recreation economy.

To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.