Native people have a saying that we are to make decisions based on the impact on the “Seventh Generation.” None of us knew our ancestors back more than three generations, and there is no way that we will ever meet our offspring, seven generations forward. Yet, just as we were given a planet we could live on, we owe it to future generations that we be good stewards of the only planet we have.
John Marty's work in the Senate will move Minnesota towards a sustainable energy and environmental policy. That includes sustainable transportation and land use, sustainable agriculture, and a sustainable economic policy. This includes not only keeping pollutants out of our air and rivers, it means keeping toxins out of our drinking water and homes. It means being thoughtful about urban sprawl, run-off and waste disposal. Using energy and natural resources efficiently is of critical importance to Minnesota’s future.
John knows we need to change the meaning of long-term planning in politics, from "the next election" to "the seventh generation."
In the Senate, John Marty has been the champion of the environment in the Senate. John is a recipient of the prestigious Sierra Club Environmentalist of the Year Award.
John has authored numerous bills to protect the environment, including: laws banning mercury and other heavy metals from products and the environment; bills expanding recycling and composting; “Clean Cars” legislation; bills removing toxic chemicals from wood, consumer and baby products; legislation protecting wetlands; and bills fighting urban sprawl, promoting transit, and conserving natural resources and habitat. He led the fight against conflicts of interest at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. John has been a leader in opposing large, environmentally harmful feedlots. John led the fight for and continues to support the ongoing Nuclear Moratorium.
The bottom line is that John Marty has an impeccable record on preserving the environment. In the Senate, John will continue to keep environmental protection at the front and center of the state agenda.
Renewable Energy and Green Jobs
"We have a choice to make. We can remain one of the world's leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that would allow us to become the world's leading exporter of renewable energy. We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity." - PRESIDENT OBAMA, MARCH 19, 2009
There is a tremendous opportunity for both our economy and our environment in the field of renewable energy. It’s not everyday in the business of state politics that we have an opportunity as exciting as a new green energy economy, and Minnesota can lead the nation in creating the types of jobs to which President Obama referred several years ago.
John Marty supports aggressive pursuit of geo-thermal, wind power, solar, development of environmentally sustainable biofuels, and clean technology as excellent ways to both stimulate our economy and pursue energy that is consistent with our need to protect the long-term health of our environment.
John also supports training unemployed workers to make energy improvements in homes and businesses, thereby reducing fuel consumption and building a green economy. Creating green jobs and producing clean energy will be good for our economy and our environment, and John will work to make this happen.
These investments use Minnesota labor, and keep our dollars in Minnesota, instead of exporting them to purchase oil, natural gas, and coal from other countries and states.
In the Senate, John Marty will work for low interest loans to ensure that every public building -- every school, courthouse, library, office building is energy-efficient, and that we invest in renewable energy such as geo-thermal where possible -- using the energy savings to pay back the loans.
And he will work for incentives and assistance so that businesses and homes get the same green energy and energy efficiency investments that clean the environment while strengthening the economy.
Environmental leaders and legislators are justifiably proud of Minnesota's new renewable energy standards for power plants, which are the strongest in the nation. Passage of that important legislation was an indication that global warming is finally getting attention in Minnesota politics.
However, there are powerful businesses that subvert the system to maintain the status quo and continue poor environmental practices. Taking special interest money out of politics will remove the clout big polluters have had in Minnesota politics. Making sure that our state agencies fulfill their responsibility to the public by enforcing the law, listening to their own internal experts and sounding the alarm when pollutants threaten public health will prevent many of the problems we have seen in recent years.
We can further advance our clean environment initiatives by allowing businesses who desire to do so to incorporate under an alternative, socially responsible, structure. Passage of the Minnesota Responsible Business Corporation Act would enable such businesses to calculate the effect of their practices on the environment in addition to their responsibilities to shareholders.
In the Senate, John Marty will keep working to move Minnesota to a values-based economy, not a consumption-based one, and will search for responsible ways that we can have an economic life that is both healthy and sustainable. For further information about sustainability, see John's column on Building a Sustainable Economy.