St Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board, November 2021 meeting 

November 11, 2021; 6pm-8pm MS Teams meeting Audio only: 612-315-7905; Conference ID: 999 671 592# 

Land Acknowledgement: The city of Saint Paul is located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous Dakota people. CJAB is committed to ongoing efforts to recognize, support, and advocate for American Indian Nations and peoples.  

Board members: 

  1. Adri Arquin * 

  1. Alice Wagner-Hemstad  

  1. Audel Shokohzadeh  

  1. Cheng Vang  

  1. Dominique Diaddigo-Cash  

  1. Janiece Watts *   ** 

  1. Kathleen Bacigalupi  

  1. Kristen Poppleton  

  1. Louis Offstein  

  1. Marlon Batres  

  1. May Yang-Lee  

  1. Melissa Wenzel *   ** 

  1. Nick Martin * 

  1. Patty Selly  

  1. Paul Barral  

  1. Robert M Blake 

  1. Vacancy: union representation 

* Executive Committee Member   

** Co-chair 

City staff: 

  • Russ Stark, Chief Resilience Officer 

  • Carlos Albornoz, Constituent Service Outreach Coordinator 

  1. 6:05pm: Introductions, welcome members of the public  

All Board members introduced themselves. No public attendees this month. 

  1. 6:10pm: Review last month’s meeting minutes; approve this month’s agenda 

Board approved today’s agenda by voice vote. October meeting minutes were not sent out in advance, so the Board agreed to skip this item and approve October and November minutes at the December meeting. 

  1. 6:20pm: Recap from the last board meeting: Summary of CJAB Role and Line 3 Discussion  

Board member Arquin prepared a summary of the discussion during October’s meeting on CJAB’s motion to urge City Council to approve the Saint Paul 350 resolution on Line 3. Russ Stark walked through this summary. In that meeting the City Attorney provided her advice on what CJAB actions would be considered lobbying, and which actions are within and outside the purview of CJAB per the Council resolution that created it.  

In short, CJAB may provide recommendations to the Mayor’s office and/or City Council on any City of Saint Paul program or policy related to climate action and climate justice. There are two parts to this test: does the issue in question pertain to climate action/climate justice, and is the program or policy within the City’s jurisdiction (i.e. the City has the authority to enact it). If the answer to both is yes, it is within CJAB’s purview. Note this means CJAB may advise on implementation of already adopted programs or policies, but also advise the City to adopt a new program or policy (as long as it is within Saint Paul’s jurisdiction). If CJAB is unsure whether a proposed action is within scope, the City Attorney has offered to advise through staff. For a fuller discussion, see Summary at the link above.  

Board member Offstein asked how the Line 3 motion did not meet these tests, and whether CJAB should reword it so that it does. Russ Stark responded that the primary reason is that Line 3 is not an issue that Saint Paul has jurisdiction over. At this point we are not taking further action on the Line 3 resolution, simply getting the Attorney’s advice for future actions. 

  1. 6:35pm: Xcel IRP update: Overview of IRP Alternate Plan (Nick) and of comments submitted by the city in the docket (Russ) (20 minutes) 

Board member Martin provided a presentation on Xcel Energy’s proposed Alternate Plan in the integrated resource planning (IRP) docket. The core components of the Alternate Plan are accelerating wind and solar additions (about 6000 MW total), in part by building “gen tie” lines to use existing transmission interconnection rights at the retiring coal plants; retiring all coal generation by 2030; foregoing the earlier proposed combined cycle gas plant in Becker; adding 2900 MW of firm peaking capacity, including hydrogen-capable gas combustion turbines operating at very low capacity factor; extending the operation of the Monticello nuclear plant by 10 years; energy storage; and high levels of energy efficiency and demand response. The plan would result in 80% of all generation being carbon-free by 2030, and an overall carbon reduction of 86% below 2005 by that year. The Commission is expected to act on the IRP in first quarter 2022. 

Russ Stark presented the City’s comments on the Alternate Plan. City supports many elements of the plan, including foregoing the Becker combined cycle plant, accelerating renewable energy and energy storage. City questions whether a decision on gas combustion turbine plants can be deferred; asks Xcel Energy to more explicitly address workforce development and training to create career pathways for BIPOC and low-wealth Minnesotans; urges Xcel to increase the amount of distributed solar in the plan, energy efficiency particularly for under-resourced residents, and plan for more electrification of transportation and buildings. Finally, City urges the Commission not to delay a decision in the IRP docket. 

  1. 6:55pm: Intro to Building Green Saint Paul Workforce developments (Russ) 

Russ Stark gave a presentation on Building Green Saint Paul, with more detail to be provided in the January CJAB meeting. Building Green is a partnership between Saint Paul, Ramsey County Workforce Innovation Board, Xcel Energy, CEE, Ryan Companies, Saint Paul Building Trades, and Ujamaa Place to create construction and clean energy career pathways for women and BIPOC and residents of Saint Paul, and others with significant barriers to good-paying jobs. The first cohort, of 4 people, has just graduated from a 4-week training program. Board member Vang of CEE provided the clean energy curriculum for this cohort. The partners hope to expand the program in 2022. 

Board member Wenzel mentioned that the built environment program at MPCA provides grants for diverting construction and demolition waste from landfills, and has worked with Better Futures which also provides career training/re-entry programs for formerly incarcerated citizens.  

  1. 7:10pm: Discussion on community engagement (all) 

This topic was postponed to a future meeting for lack of time. 

  1. 7:40pm: Updates 

  1. From city staff 

Melissa Wenzel mentioned that Sustain Saint Paul is accepting applications for new board members.  

The EV Spot Network / Evie Carshare has been slowed by the GM Bolt recall, but GM is providing a software patch and Bolts will be put back on the streets in 2022. Evie will also be adding Nissan Leafs to the fleet in 2022. Evie has announced a $1/month subscription rate for low-income customers.  

December’s CJAB meeting agenda will feature a report from COP26 (Board members Poppleton and Selly), and a presentation on a new weatherization/home repair proposal for under-resourced residents using federal (American Rescue Plan) funds. 

  1. From the Executive Committee  

No updates 

  1. From Board Members 

Native Sun, led by Board member Blake, recently received a $6.6m award from the US Department of Energy to stand up an Upper Midwest Intertribal EV Charging Community Network. See article.  

  1. 8pm Adjourn 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:01 pm. 


Last Edited: January 12, 2022