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Robert Moffitt
Works at American Lung Association in Minnesota
Attended Indiana University
Lived in Melborne, Florida
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Robert Moffitt

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State Earns A Rare ‘A’ In Annual Tobacco Control Report Card

When Minnesota dropped the co-payment requirement for Medicare participants seeking smoking cessation products at the beginning of 2016, it removed one more barrier for low-income residents trying to quit. As a result, Minnesota became the only state in the nation to earn an “A” grade for access to cessation services in this year’s State of Tobacco Control Report from the American Lung Association. 

Earning top marks for access to cessation services isn’t an easy accomplishment, the American Lung Association gave most states an “F” for this category in this year’s report.  While Minnesota has a higher percentage of Medicare participants using tobacco cessation products and services than most other states, it still earned a “B” grade in the category – until this year.  The state’s other grades were unchanged from last year’s report: an “A” for smoke free air, a “B” for tobacco taxes and an “F” for tobacco prevention and control program funding. The complete report and state scores can be found online at stateoftobaccocontrol.org.

“We are very pleased to be the first state to earn a top grade for access to cessation since the American Lung Association added this category in 2008,” said Pat McKone, regional senior director of tobacco control programs and policy for the American Lung Association in Minnesota.  “If we increase our funding for tobacco prevention and control program like our neighbor North Dakota did, we have a good shot at earning straight ‘As’ in future report cards.”

2015 was a busy and productive time for health advocates in Minnesota.  Some convenience store owners pushed (unsuccessfully) for a repeal or reduction of state taxes on tobacco; Minneapolis and Saint Paul passed ordinances restricting the sale of flavored tobacco and e-cigarette juice; and more cities and counties across the state passed ordinances to include electronic cigarettes in existing indoor air quality rules for smoking.
Working together in a strong coalition of partners from across the state, the American Lung Association in Minnesota will continue to push to reduce the harm and destruction from tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.
Did your state make the grade? This report grades states and the federal government on key policies that can help prevent the death and disease caused by tobacco use.
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Great column on Minnesota's tobacco tax. A former critic sees through the haze and now supports it.
http://www.inforum.com/news/3915510-mcfeely-minnesotas-high-cigarette-taxes-working-how-they-should
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Cleaner Vehicle Fuel Choices Grew In Minnesota In 2015

SAINT PAUL, MINN. – (December 30, 2015) -- Minnesota continued to build on its growth in fuel choice in 2015, adding more biofuel stations, public charging stations for electric vehicles, and expanding the use of natural gas and propane as vehicle fuels.  With the price of traditional petroleum fuels so low, it is easy to forget that the need and demand for less-polluting fuels is still growing, as Minnesota looks toward more renewable energy sources.

In 2015, 15 new E85 stations opened throughout Minnesota, including stations in Rochester, Duluth, New Hope, Oakdale and St. Paul.  Minnesota currently has 295 E85 outlets, more than any other state, and flex fuel vehicle drivers use more than a million gallons of the cleaner-burning fuel every month. Fuel stations offering E15 gasoline also increased dramatically this year and sales of the more renewable gasoline are growing quickly.

Ethanol was not the only biofuel success story in Minnesota in 2015.  For the second year, Minnesota seamlessly increased the biodiesel content in most of the diesel fuel sold in the state to a 10 percent (B10) blend, during the winter months the blend is reduced to five percent.  Virtually all diesel engines and vehicles can run on these biodiesel blends without any special modifications. Better yet, using the cleaner burning B10 blend is the air pollution equivalent of removing 128,000 vehicles from the road each year.

The number of electric vehicles on Minnesota roads grew in 2015, as did the number of public charging stations for plug-in vehicles. In 2015, the Twin Cities Clean Cities coalition worked with federal, state and local agencies to install electric vehicle charging stations at 11 locations within the Mississippi National River and Recreational Area, a 72-mile long, 54,000-acre national park along the Mississippi River that stretches from Dayton to Hastings.  The electric vehicle charging facilities added as part of this project are part of 200+ public charging stations located across the state. The number of these stations are expected to grow as plug-in vehicles become more common.

Propane is another alternative vehicle fuel that grew in 2015. Independent School District 15 in St. Francis, Minn., transitioned its entire 41-vehicle bus fleet to cleaner-burning propane in 2015. The school district had initially tested 15 propane-fueled buses, and was so pleased with the results that it ordered more propane buses. Propane-fueled buses start immediately in cold weather and don’t require lengthy idling to warm the engine and heat the cabin. The buses are fueled by tanks located at the school’s bus maintenance facility.

Three new public compressed natural gas (CNG) stations opened in Minnesota in 2015 in Duluth, South Saint Paul and Fergus Falls.  The variety of fleets using CNG in Minnesota in their trucks, vans and buses continues to expand. Many trash haulers and recyclers are now using CNG, which helps to reduce both emissions and noise. The City of St. Cloud uses CNG-powered buses, running routes close to the New Flyer factory where they were built.

As the New Year approaches, there are already signs that fuel choice will continue to grow in 2016. Retailers interested in adding biofuels choices to their pumps have until January 22, 2016 to apply for a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.  For more on the alternative fuel choices available in Minnesota, visit CleanAirChoice.org.
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Cool little vehicles, built in Princeton, MN.
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Minnesota's largest utility get's more wind power.
Xcel Energy has officially added the recently completed Border Wind Farm and Pleasant Valley Wind Farm to its large renewable energy portfolio. With ...
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This video was filmed by MN's own +Chuck Olsen It's very cool. Nice song, too.
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Robert Moffitt

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A nice column on climate change, comparing it to past environmental success stories.
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There is some good news in this story, too.

"About 13 percent of students use tobacco, down from 42 percent in 1998."
A new survey from the University of Minnesota shows that while smoking and high-risk drinking have gone down, the number of students reporting mental health conditions and sexual assaults have climbed.
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Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars...
You can't go anywhere these days without seeing something about Star Wars, with the latest installment of the film franchise set to open in theaters next weekend. But true collectors know there is only one place to go if you want real Star Wars memorabilia.
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ALAMN Brings Alternative Fuel Message To Annual Conference of County Administrators

SAINT CLOUD, MINN. – December 4, 2015 – There is one exhibit at the Association of Minnesota Counties Annual Conference at River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud that always stands apart from the others.  It’s a car – a flex fuel Ford Focus, to be exact – and it is part of the American Lung Association in Minnesota exhibit on alternative fuels and vehicle technologies.  The vehicle will be on display during the Dec. 7-8 conference, which is expected to bring more than 600 elected officials, department heads, and staff to St. Cloud to learn and discuss the important topics and trends affecting county government.
“People don’t normally associate the American Lung Association with advanced vehicles and alternative fuels, but vehicle exhaust is the single largest source of air pollution in our state, and a real concern to us,” said Robert Moffitt, a spokesperson for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “There are alternatives to traditional petroleum fuels and engines we want county officials to consider for their fleet vehicles.”
The ALAMN recently worked with Coborn’s and local corn growers to organize a Nov. 13 ethanol fuel promotion at the Little Duke’s station at 900 Cooper Avenue in St. Cloud.  The group also recognizes biodiesel, electric vehicles, propane and natural gas powered vehicles as ‘clean air choices’ that can help reduce tailpipe emissions.
“Minnesota already leads the nation in E85 stations, and more stations are expected to offer the fuel in 2016,” Moffitt said.  “We are also a national leader in biodiesel, and in innovative mass transportation options, like the natural gas powered buses that serve this region.”
The Ford Focus on display at the conference can run on either traditional gasoline or on ethanol blends like E85, a cleaner-burning fuel that contains up to 85 percent ethanol.  E85 and other higher-ethanol blend are designed for use in flex fuel vehicles only.  There are more than 400,000 flex fuel vehicles registered in Minnesota.  A complete list of vehicles that can run on higher ethanol blends and stations that sell E85 can be found at www.CleanAirChoice.org.
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Attention Editors:
The ALAMN exhibit (and the vehicle) at the AMC Annual Conference is at booth #131, in the Terry Haws Center (Exhibit Hall C),  River's Edge Convention Center.
Media contact from ALA in MN: Robert Moffitt (651) 269-7561
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Have him in circles
305 people
Andy Schornack's profile photo
Usman Usaf's profile photo
Michael Caputo's profile photo
Liang Guo's profile photo
Doug Davis's profile photo
Paul Jensen's profile photo
Sebastian Blanco's profile photo
Rich Goldsmith's profile photo
Brian Herman's profile photo
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Communications Director
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  • American Lung Association in Minnesota
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Melborne, Florida - Indianapolis, Indiana - Ansbach, Germany - Minnesota
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  • Indiana University
    Telecommunications, 1976 - 1980
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