Minneapolis one of 16 cities leading U.S. on climate

The city of Minneapolis won federal recognition Wednesday for its efforts to fight climate change.

Work to cut energy use and generate more electricity from local, renewable sources caught the attention of the White House, which named Minneapolis one of 16 "Climate Action Champion" communities nationwide.

"It certainly brings us a lot of national recognition for the work that we've achieved in the past," said Stephanie Zawistowski, sustainability policy aide to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

The White House named the city's Climate Action Plan, which calls for a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 to 2015, as one reason Minneapolis was chosen. Recent data suggests the city will surpass the 2015 goal, Zawistowski said.

The plan, adopted last year, also includes goals to increase recycling, walking and biking citywide. In her first city budget proposal, Hodges called for a hike in the property tax levy to pay for more protected bike lanes and an organic recycling program.

Zawistowski said the city went through a rigorous application process to win the federal recognition, which was also awarded to Boston, San Francisco and 13 other communities.

The winning areas are eligible for special funding and technical support from the federal government, the White House said. They'll each be assigned a coordinator to help them better access those resources.

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