MN 53B

Minnesota house district 53B includes Woodbury. Republican incumbent Kelly Fenton is being challenged by Democrat Steve Sandell. CM Voter Center researched voting records and candidate websites for issues related to conservation. Here is what we found:


Kelly Fenton’s Conservation Voting History

Voted against protecting public drinking water. [1]

Her vote was intended to stop the Minnesota Department of Agriculture from taking decisive action to ensure every Minnesotan has safe drinking water.

Nitrate pollution in public and private wells has been increasing in many parts of the state. Testing found that 537 public wells across Minnesota had elevated levels of nitrate. This has left communities across our state looking for ways to protect drinking water for their schools, businesses, and residents.

[1] The bill, H.F. 2887, can be found here:

Fenton, Kelly.jpg

Voted to eliminate the wild rice sulfate standard. [2]

On April 23, 2018, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to eliminate an important water quality standard designed to protect wild rice from sulfate pollution. As the state’s first ever copper-nickel mine enters the final stages of permitting, eliminating the wild rice sulfate standard could have meant fewer safeguards against water pollution for the Polymet project and future mining proposals near the Boundary Waters.

[2] See House Session Daily Story entitled, “House votes to nullify long-standing wild rice water standard“ at


Voted to limit clean energy job growth and to remove opportunities for the public to participate in significant energy and pollution decisions. [3]

Minnesota has a long history of innovation and citizen engagement. However, during the 2017 legislative session, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted on a bill that would have limited citizen’s involvement in state energy and pollution decisions and could have slowed clean energy job growth across the state. [4]

The bill proposed to:

  • Exempt petroleum pipelines from the public comment and environmental review process at the Public Utilities Commission

  • Politicize the appointment of commissioners to the Public Utilities Commission

  • Prevent local communities from addressing plastic bag litter and pollution

  • Repeal the Made in Minnesota solar program, which created local clean energy job

[3] The Journal of the House reports the vote here (page 4306):

[4] See HF2209/SF1937 as amended, described by House Session Daily here:


steve sandell’s conservation platform

Democratic candidate Steve Sandell has made the following statements on issues related to conservation:

“Our natural and wilderness areas must be protected as well as the livability of our suburbs, cities and small towns. I would work for effective incentives to business, industry and agriculture encouraging environmentally responsible practices. And I would work with organizations and volunteer groups encouraging individuals to recognize and understand the effect of our habits on our fragile ecosystem.”

  • Encourage environmentally responsible businesses and industry.

  • The integrity of our wild and natural preserves.

  • Protect and ensure the health and safety of our work and home environments, and the livability of our cities, suburbs, towns and rural areas.

  • Make sure that our resources are protected and safe for everyone.” [5]


We have done our best to represent each candidate in a fair and reasonable way. To find out more about each candidate, visit and

Steve Sandell Headshot.jpg