Health and Human Services Committee expands scope to include environment

The City Council has expanded the scope of the Health and Human Services Committee to include oversight of environmental issues.

The Council's Rules Committee approved changing the name to the Health, Energy and the Environment Committee on Dec. 22.

The new panel will continue to have oversight of human services but will expand its purview to include efforts to make the city more sustainable.

Outgoing City Councilmember Paul Zerby (2nd Ward), chair of the Rules Committee, said there will be &#8220no more important committee for the future of the city.”

The city has several action plans designed to improve environmental conditions in Minneapolis, but there has been no formal committee to monitor them.

Downtown's Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) noted that there are several positive trends under way that will make the city more environmentally friendly, including plans for green roofs and the use of porous pavers, which allow water to filter through them unlike typical concrete pavers.

&#8220There hasn't been a home for all this work,” Goodman said, lauding the expanded scope.

The committee will review the work of the city's Environmental Coordinating Team, which has been working on the city's sustainability targets, which include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy use, adding trees to the urban canopy and improving water quality of the city's lakes, streams and the Mississippi River, among other things.

Minneapolis is following other cities, such as Seattle, Chicago and Portland, in establishing a committee focused on energy and environmental issues.