St Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board, December 2021 meeting Minutes 

December 9, 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 present: 

  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 


    Minutes 

     

    6:00-6:15: Introduction & Ice Breaker 

     

    6:15-6:20: Review last month’s meeting minutesOctober’s meeting minutes, approve this month’s agenda 

  • CJAB approved October & November Minutes as well approving December Agenda 

  • 6:20-7:25: Low-income energy efficiency & weatherization programs presentation 

  • Russ Opened by explaining new city program called Health Homes Saint Paul which is focused on reducing energy bills of lowest income households.  

  • Ashly Mcfarlane, Xcel Energy income qualified programs 

  • Xcel partners with local businesses on five income qualified programs that provide services such as rebates, home energy assessment and new utilities. 

  • Becky Olson, CEE - Home Energy Squad 

  • CEE’s primary program is Home Energy Squad they partner with Xcel and CenterPoint 

  • Includes direct install of energy saving products, energy audits etc. 

  • Serves between 7-10,000 households a year 

  • CEE is also working on developing other programs that will tackle weatherization & efficiency in low income households 

  • Sarah Lopez, Energy Cents Coalition 

  • They partner with Xcel on Xcel GAP, Xcel Power on and Xcel MAP programs. These programs are all focused helping low-income households pay their utilities.  

  • They also partner with CenterPoint on their LIRE program which helps applicants get more energy efficient appliances. 

  • Catherine Fair and Feleshia Edwards, Community Action Partnership Ramsey/Washington Counties 

  • Energy Assistance program helps over 17,000 households with utilities also help families avoid utility disconnections 

  • Also offer Energy Conservation/Weatherization program which is intended to help low income households improve efficiency and in turn lower utility bills. 

  • Energy Conservation programs consists of energy audits, client education and home weatherization. 

  • Barriers to weatherization work oftentimes include mold, covid-19, structural issues and refusal of weatherization measures. 

  • Kathleen asked how these programs are being made available to low-income individuals who need these programs the most.  

  • They work together with Xcel to find households who have a larger energy burden and then target those households. Xcel then does outreach and puts low-income households in touch with programs.  

  • They also advertise throughout the metro area via e-mail marketing, bill inserts and attending events 

  • May asked what the duration of programs is 

  • Energy Assistance must be reapplied for annually 

  • Power ON and gas affordability programs must also be reapplied for annually 

  • Nick asked how pandemic has influenced these programs 

  • All programs saw a decrease in applicants and more people facing disconnections of utilities in home. 

  • People did not want contractors and auditors in their homes during pandemic which also lead to decrease. 

  • Supply chain issues are occurring making it more difficult to get things like furnaces and getting them installed into people’s homes. 

  • Louis asked how the improvement in efficiency is measured and if landlords contribute financially to weatherization 

  • Improvements in efficiency are evaluated by cost/benefit analysis  

  • Kristen asked how the programs relate to CARP 

  • Russ spoke to how these programs predate CARP and CARP is built on some of the policies from these programs 

  • Cheng asked about electrification and in turn getting rid of gas furnaces. 

  • Updated policies in 2021 has increased availability of electrification in these programs. Not quite at the point to replace furnaces yet.  

  • 7:25-7:55 COP26 Presentation 

  • COP26 is the conference of parties in which bodies from throughout the world meet to discuss and work on addressing climate change.  

  • This COP focused on: 

  • Limiting planetary warming to only 1.5 degrees C 

  • Climate loss & damage 

  • Introducing an approach which includes all of society  

  • Outcomes of COP: 

  • Need to end fossil fuels was explicitly called out for first time 

  • 130 Countries vowed to end deforestation by 2030 

  • 105 countries joined methane pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 

  • 23 countries committed to making climate change a part of their education curriculum  

  • 7:55-8:00: Updates 

  • Russ updated on annual report of CJAB to city council. Planning to discuss more in near future 

  • 8pm Meeting Adjourned 

Last Edited: January 12, 2022