The Sierra Club endorses Betsy Hodges for Mayor

Betsy Hodges is an environmental champion, and the only Minneapolis mayoral candidate endorsed by the Sierra Club.

She helped transform Minneapolis’s recycling program, has played an integral part in negotiating promises of cleaner energy from the city’s utilities, and has a consistent record against the HERC garbage burner, which disproportionately pollutes the poorest areas of Minneapolis.

 These policies and achievements make up only part of her bold, substantive vision of a 21st-century city that is more sustainable and more environmentally just.

 For those reasons I was surprised to see Tim Keane’s opinion piece, “Betsy Hodges’ election year awakening,” in which Betsy, her vision, and her record were distorted beyond recognition.

 Her Zero Waste Minneapolis plan is the single-most ambitious environmental position in the race. Betsy’s vision of bringing her highly successful organics recycling (composting) initiative — for which she did the heavy lifting—to the entire city gets us a lot closer to zero waste. That means no more of the city’s garbage has to burn in the HERC, which is not, as some have said, “the state’s most successful alternative energy program.”

That plan is ambitious and bold, yet achievable. Betsy’s ambitious interim goals are in line with the interim goals that have been set by the nation’s leaders in Zero Waste policy: Seattle, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Austin.

With Betsy’s leadership, our city can do this.

All stakeholders appear grateful for her role in Minneapolis’ clean and affordable energy future. She, along with environmental allies, successfully negotiated favorable terms with Xcel and CenterPoint to align our utilities’ policies with the city’s Climate Action Plan. It’s a win-win situation on this front, where our energy providers have worked with Betsy, other environmentalists on the City Council, Mayor Rybak, and a well-organized grassroots campaign known as Minneapolis Energy Options to substantially reduce carbon and methane emissions. This successful negotiation means the city will not have to municipalize its utilities to achieve those same goals.

The environmental leadership Betsy Hodges has displayed as a public figure hasn’t always been the flashiest or the most visible, but it’s been the most consistent, substantive, and achievable. And that’s what matters most.

Peter Teigland
chair, North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club’s Political Committee