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Earth Day rally pushes clean energy

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton said Minnesota should move toward cleaner energy and set a goal to eliminate power use from coal-fired plants, he told hundreds gathered at the Capitol.

Those at the Monday rally pushed lawmakers to pass legislation setting solar electricity generation standards for utility companies, encouraging solar production and shifting to other energy production methods.

"That transition may cost a few extra dollars," Dayton said, but it is worth it to assure a cleaner environment in the state.

He added that first lawmakers and advocates need to convince everyone there is a problem. Some utility companies are resisting energy changes, Dayton said.

"Before we can make progress, we have to stave off being pushed even farther back," he said.

Other speakers said moving toward more clean energy use, such as from wind and solar power, will help create jobs for Minnesotans as well as helping the environment.

The rally, on Earth Day, was part of the Minnesota Clean Energy and Jobs campaign, a coalition of labor, youth, faith, environment and business representatives.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.