Laura Bishop today submitted her resignation as commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), a post she has held since 2019. In accepting her resignation, Governor Tim Walz thanked Bishop for driving new initiatives and policies that prioritize both environmental protection and economic development. Effective immediately Peter Tester will serve as temporary commissioner.
“I am honored to have served the state of Minnesota as commissioner of the MPCA and I am proud of my accomplishments,” said Bishop. “I did a lot of listening, learning, and acting in this role, understanding that the MPCA can do better with transparency and engaging the public. I served with humility and worked with communities across Minnesota to develop innovative and community-centered solutions to address pressing environmental challenges and foster stronger economic growth — and I am confident that my successor will continue to advance these priorities.”
Serving as commissioner of the MPCA for two and half years, Bishop advanced numerous programs and policies to ensure that every Minnesotan has healthy air, sustainable lands, clean water, and a better climate.
Key accomplishments include:
- New clean car standards approved by Governor Walz last month to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Investments to replace diesel-burning school buses with electric school buses on Minnesota’s roadways and build out the state’s electric vehicle charging network
- A statewide blueprint to address the growing problem of the PFAS, “forever chemicals,” to protect families and communities
- Flexible environmental regulations in communities like Luverne that protect the environment and support new jobs
- Collaborative partnerships with farmers and other state agencies to protect water quality
Bishop led the agency’s response to COVID-19, ensuring flexibility for the state’s 84,000 regulated parties and increasing transparency in the process. The agency took bold measures in responding to more than 500 hundred requests by regulated facilities for flexibility by easing regulations restrictions — and sharing information with the public through an innovate online platform with details on each request, considerations, and final decisions to ensure transparency with the public.
Commissioner Bishop brought together concerns citizens, the business community, and legislators from both parties to pass the nation’s first TCE ban. She led the efforts to secure funding to clean up Andover’s WDE landfill, the state’s most toxic landfill. Bishop also secured new funding during the 2021 legislative session to find and clean up PFAS in our water and landfills, and worked to pass a ban on PFAS in food packaging making Minnesota the first state in the Midwest to enact such a ban. New grant programs approved by the Legislature in 2019 will help develop stronger markets for recyclable materials and create hundreds of jobs in the process.
“We are grateful for Commissioner Bishop’s contributions to this agency and the state of Minnesota,” said Temporary Commissioner Tester, who first joined the MPCA as deputy commissioner in 2019. “Aside from the numerous accomplishments she has led to improve the environment and health of residents, Laura shepherded numerous internal practices and procedures that have led our agency to do our work — and serve Minnesotans — better than ever before.”
Better government services
In 2020 the MPCA became the first Minnesota governmental entity to receive the highest level achievement award from the Performance Excellence Network for its commitment to continuous improvement. Outside evaluators led a rigorous evaluation of MPCA’s adherence to the nationally recognized Baldrige framework, assessing its management system, leadership, strategic planning, customer-focused processes, and workforce engagement with the agency’s mission, vision, and values.
Bishop led the Governor’s Climate Change Subcabinet, and collaboration of 15 agencies and departments that drive statewide efforts to prepare for and protect against the impacts of climate change. She also served as chair of the Environmental Quality Board.
Prior to joining the MPCA, Bishop served as chief sustainability and corporate responsibility officer for Best Buy Co., Inc., where she established company goals focused on reducing the impact of climate change. Prior to her position at Best Buy, Bishop served in various public sector roles at the State of Minnesota, the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. State Department.