Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s first Environmental Justice Advisory Group


Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner (MPCA) John Linc Stine, with the assistance of a selection committee, has invited 16 individuals from around Minnesota to advise the MPCA on matters related to environmental justice. The group will provide input and recommendations about ways to incorporate the principles of environmental justice into the agency’s work.

Along with other state agencies, the MPCA is striving to achieve equitable treatment and engagement of all people. In doing so, all Minnesotans will benefit from healthy air, land and water.

“It’s easy to talk about remedying the disproportionate impacts of past pollution and preventing future harm, but much more difficult to put those words into action,” said Commissioner Stine. “This advisory group is an important step in making sure that equity is addressed in our work.”

The MPCA’s environmental justice framework outlines goals and strategies to ensure that all Minnesotans benefit equally from environmental protection. Forming the Environmental Justice Advisory Group is one step intended to increase accountability and engagement between the public and the agency.

The advisory group will provide recommendations and advise the MPCA Commissioner in four key areas, including:

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the MPCA in implementing its environmental justice framework, including assisting the agency in determining ways to measure success;
  • Providing recommendations to the MPCA Commissioner on improvements to policies and procedures to ensure integration of environmental justice principles into the agency’s work;
  • Providing input to the MPCA on activities and timeframes for framework implementation; and
  • Collaborating with the MPCA to improve civic engagement around environmental justice issues and acting as liaisons to strengthen communication and relations.

The MPCA expects the first meeting of the advisory group to be in October 2016. All meetings will be open to the public.

More information about the advisory group, the selection process and MPCA’s environmental justice work can be found on the environmental justice webpage at www.pca.state.mn.us


Members of the MPCA’s Environmental Justice Advisory Group:

Maryan Abdinur: Maryan was born in Somalia and has worked as an interpreter for Doctors Without Borders as well as for health care providers here in Minnesota.

Lea Foushee: a long-time environmental justice activist in Minnesota, Lea is involved in indigenous women’s issues and is a mentor to the new generation of activists.

Sarah Goodspeed: a policy analyst with the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy who previously worked for Hennepin County as an Environmental Education and Multicultural Outreach Coordinator.

Boise Jones: a community activist and independent consultant who works on environmental justice issues with a recent focus on North Minneapolis.

Winona LaDuke: executive director of both White Earth Land Recovery Project and Honor the Earth.

Asha Long: a founding organizer with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

David Manuel: a member of the Red Lake nation who is a beekeeper, gardener, and wild rice harvester. He works for the Red Lake Local Food Initiative.

Jennifer Nguyen Moore: the City of Bloomington’s Sustainability Coordinator.

Shirley Nordrum: a Local Extension Educator with the University of Minnesota. She is the founder and former director of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s Environmental Department.

Mariela Ojeda: a former MN GreenCorps member who served with the Latino Economic Development Center.

LaShella Sims: a North Minneapolis resident and a senior organizer with the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing.

Halston Sleets: an environmental planning analyst with Hennepin County.

Mahyar Sorour: Mahyar has experience recruiting, training, and organizing youth around environmental justice issues.

Steve Sternberg: an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Anita Urvina Davis: a North Minneapolis resident and a former Multicultural Environmental Outreach and Education Liaison for Hennepin County.

Joan Vanhala: a resident of the Phillips neighborhood with extensive experience working on environmental justice issues and creating and community engagement.


This information was provided by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.