[San Diego, CA.]
[San Diego, CA.]
[San Diego, CA.]
[San Diego, CA.]
[San Diego, CA.]
[Midway, Saint Paul.]
[Capitol Heights, Saint Paul.]
[Capitol area, Saint Paul.]
|[Dakota chief Taoyateduta, or Little Crow.]|
Little Crow… Yeah so the 1860s in Minnesota, he was a Dakota Sioux a leader of what was called the Sioux rebellion. The Sioux had entered into a treaty with the US government in which the Sioux would settle along the river and they would be given annuity and certain goods and then what happened was that the US government reneged on this treaty, so the Sioux were mad. They rebelled. The rebellion was put down. Many were killed.
Little Crow escaped, but then there was a bounty on his head. There was a bounty on a head of any Sioux to be captured and killed, and there was a double bounty on Little Crow’s body. And he was shot while foraging for berries in Hutchinson, Minnesota by a farmer. And they took him into town, took the body and they dragged it through the streets with dogs picking at his head. And they scalped him.
And when I was in college in the late 1960s the scalp of little crow was owned by the Minnesota Historical Society. I knew this because I was friends with the poet Robert Bly, and the Vietnam war had one of its almost hidden motivations a kind of ancient American racism. It was easier for us to kill people of color in a foreign land, because we had been killing people of color in our own land 100 years ago.
So it’s almost like cases like this require the proper burial, the remains of the Indians who were killed the Indian Wars in the 19th century. I have aphorisms in this book and one is to be steeped in history, but not in the past. And to be steeped in history is to be steeped in many of these stories and to know what our past contains.
And in this case, I would say that the proper burial of Little Crow’s scalp would be an act of foreign policy, in that it would lay to rest a kind of local impulse that has been exported into our foreign wars.
|[The Wabasha street landslide mentioned by Mayor Carter.]|
Thank you for the opportunity to testify about what is without question one of the most critical issues we face, our climate crisis. My name is Melvin Carter and is serve a s mayor of St. Paul Mn. I stand alongside four other mayors int eh room and over 400 climate mayors who represent over 400M Americans who have pledged to uphold the Paris climate agreement through local action despite the withdrawal of our federal administration. We thank you for our efforts and urge you to carry on your work toward our future.
In the tragic event that you’ve never visited St. Paul, we are Minnesota’s capitol city found 165 years ago where the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers converge. We boast a nationally recognized network of parks and trails and beautiful white stone cliffs for which our original Dakota inhabitants named the area i'mnizha ska.
Our most iconic feature is our unmatched 65 miles of Mississippi River frontage which is filled with canoes, houseboats, and barges that move more than 145 million tons of commodities through the area terminals each year. St. Paul’s defining natural features, its northern location, and dependence on our river, make us particularly sensitive to changes in temperature. From the polar vortex of this past winter to the summer heat waves, we have an acute perspective on how the climate crisis plays out at the local level. Three of our ten biggest floods ever recorded have occurred in the past decade, and our stretch of the Mississippi River spent a record 42 consecutive days at major flood stage this year with mitigation costs exceeding 2M.
Warmer winter temperatures and an increase in snowfall have made it more expensive to maintain public infrastructure and accelerated erosion on our bluffs. Last year that erosion resulted in a major slope failure and landslide that dropped 400,000 pounds of limestone onto a local arterial street. Clearing the debris and stabilizing the bluff above cost our city $1 million, and interrupted the lives of countless businesses and residents.
But I'll always remember how narrowly we evaded catastrophe. those rocks fell onto the route of our annual Cinco de Mayo parade exactly one week before thousands of people would have flooded the same street for the festivities.
We have no choice but to adapt to our changing climate while working to mitigate its harmful impacts. Saint Paul's Climate Action and Resilience Plan aims to do just that. Our plan prioritizes efforts to reduce energy and transportation costs and create pathways to opportunity for low-income residents. It proposes local actions to reduce emissions from buildings and transportation, including public and private investments led by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to build charging hubs and the nation’s first electric car share powered completely with renewable energy. Transitioning to LED lighting to reduce energy use in city buildings, a major investment that will have only a 5-year payback period for us. And improving pedestrian and bike infrastructure to make it safer and easier for residents to get around our city.
We are also pursuing an unique opportunity to develop a sustainable energy efficient demonstration neighborhood on a 122-acre site that once housed a ford production plant. Buildings on this site will generate 80% less emissions than those built to code in 2005 and most homes will be powered heated and coiled with renewable energy. Finally Xcel Energy, our electric utility has committed to providing 100% clean renewable electricity by 2050, a commitment we strongly support.
We are doing our part on the local level to address our climate crisis, but without significant federal actions our efforts will not be enough. America must rejoin and accelerate the Paris Climate Accords. Our federal government must help us build for the 21st Century with major investments in pedestrian, bicycling, and transit infrastructure, electric buses like those made at New flyer of America in St. Cloud, Minnesota, public charging equipment to help us transition to electric vehicles, and R & D to advance technological solutions.
Communities across our country are counting on you to continue pushing this vital work forward and we stand as ready teammates int eh work ahead. Thank you again for the opportunity to address you hear today. I look forward to our conversation and any questions you may have.
QUESTION FROM SENATOR ABOUT TOP PRIORITY
One of the reasons St. Paul’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan centers around transportation and buildings is because the vast majority of our emissions come from transportation and buildings. And so we are taking efforts to revise our building codes to make sure that new buildings are built up to energy standards and support from the federal level is critical from where that is concerned. If there’s one area where we would love to partner with the federal government, if I had to narrow it down to one area that could have far reaching impacts on all the other things we’re talking about, I would certainly appeal for increased funding for transit and high speed rail. As an opportunity, I heard Mayor Bottoms say that this is an equity crisis for us that the impacts of our changing climate are hitting our lower income communities harder than everyone else and I heard moved by mayor Caldwell’s statements about how everyone in their government is responsible for impacting sea rise it’s obvious to understand why Hawaii would see that issue with that urgency and I would encourage us all especially in Washington DC to meet it with that same level.
QUESTION ABOUT ENERGY
One thing St. Paul is leading is reducing energy use in buildings. We have a district energy system that powers our downtown, it's the largest combined power and heat system in North America and it uses 50% local wood waste.
Connecting opportunities to reduce emissions to opportunities to increase sustainability and growth in our cities is a must, and we’ve successfully been able to partner with our private sector including our businesses downtown. We recently launched a :race to reduce", it's essentially the TV show Biggest Lower but for buildings. We’re challenging commercial buildings to benchmark energy production and have over 100 buildings downtown and across our city sign up for that, and we are working to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from buildings in St . Paul.
QUESTION ABOUT CLIMATE RESILIENCE
As we’ve all mentioned, we are cities from entirely different locations with different geographic features. But we are all sharing with you how our geographic features make us vulnerable to climate crisis. As I mentioned, being on the river, we’ve seen record flooding on our river three of our largest ten floods ever recorded have happened in the last decade. We had a heat advisory, this past weekend and the record breaking snowfall, I tell folks that in a state like Minnesota or Wisconsin it takes a lot of doing to break a snowfall record, and we’ve been doing that. And the record-breaking snowfall we’ve been experiencing creates additional costs, makes it more expensive to maintain public inrasatrucute, creates more wear and tear on our streets as the freeze and thaw cycles wreak havoc on our streets. And that certainly is a major challenge for us.
As we’re building our new Ford neighborhood along that Ford plant, and as we’re seeing a lot of development opportunities right now one of the things we’ve led on is how to manage storm water. Adapting to our new environment, so when we have those events we have to make our city more able to recover from them and more able to deal with the precipitation and that water. And we are working, just as we are working to have the conversation with business leaders to save them money against their bottom line, we’re working to have that conversation potentially with our taxpayers and our residents that these are necessary investments we have to make. Often they are significant investments and it would be helpful to have partnership from the federal and state government partners to be able to do that. These are investments we are making because they match our values, and they produce a return to our community over time.
QUESTION FROM SENATOR ABOUT ENGAGING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.
Our administration focuses really heavily on engaging different voices in our communities often voices who coming into the room assuming they’ll disagree. Our race to reduce strategy with downtown buildings, we're showing business leaders in our community that there are opportunities to reduce emissions while saving money for their businesses while contributing to their bottom line. And they're all in in that and interested in participating in that. They've been enthusiastic participants with that.
We're learning in our community in St. Paul that as we engage people, whether its residents, low-income residents, or business leaders, their concerns, that are valid in many cases, is that pressures they have against themselves will be not heard or taken into effect. We need to bring those voices to the table, voices of union leaders and those concerns, and make sure that they understand that we are thinking about the challenges they bring to the table and produce solutions for them as well.
QUESTION SENATOR ON EV INFRASTRUCTURE
That's a critical question we are working to leverage public and private investments our most ambitious project in partnership with Bloomberg, local utility, state government and local leaders, working to build the state's first electric car share hubs powered completely with renewable energy. Our goal is to have all residents be within a ten-minute walk of four low carbon mobility options like transit, bike share, car share, or a scooter ride, and that's one of the most ambitious things we're doing, in partnership, I should say with the city of Minneapolis, who is our city next door. That's critical for us for a number of reasons you described, and to address the equity issues involved in transit.
SENATOR ASKING WOULD YOU LIKE TAX EXEMPT BONDS
Yes I would.