Goal: A clean and healthy environment that contributes to our state's well-being now and into the future.

A long-running ad campaign dubbed Minnesota "the land of sky blue waters," hinting at our tradition of caring for the environment: Forward thinking in environmental preservation, an array of natural spaces, laws keeping our air clean, innovation in "green" practices, and people who enjoy the outdoors all year long. But are we doing as well as we could be? As the world begins to clean up its act, are we still setting the bar, or lowering it?

What's happening

  • The Next Generation Energy Act established a greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 15 percent below 2005 emissions by 2012. In 2010, greenhouse gas emissions had been reduced by 4 percent, which means the state will have to accelerate this positive trend to meet mandated targets for 2025, and beyond.
  • Residents of Fargo-Moorhead, St. Cloud, and La Crosse enjoy the best air quality of any metros in the state, while residents of the Twin Cities metro areas typically have the fewest "good" Air Quality Index days. In 2014, the share of "good" days increased for Fargo-Moorhead, La Crosse, Rochester, and St. Cloud.
  • Of the 21 Minnesota counties that monitored air quality at least half the year in 2014, Carlton County topped the list for share of days with "good" air quality.

Making connections

There is no question that transportation has a major effect on the environment. Likewise, how our business sectors work to the good or detriment of the environment has an effect on the economy and workforce. Poor air and water quality negatively impact the health of residents in the region, which brings down our quality of life.

Featured trend

air quality graph
environment icon

Air quality in Twin Cities climbs up

In 2001, 40% of days were rated “Good air quality days” in the St. Paul-Minneapolis greater metropolitan area as measured by the Air Quality Index. Since then, the Index has climbed to 64% in 2013.  On the other hand, while greater Minnesota metropolitan areas rated higher than the Twin Cities a decade ago and still do today, progress has been mixed.

View topic: Environment

Minnesota Compass

Minnesota Compass
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