Clean Up the River Environment (CURE)



Montevideo, MN

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $726,380
Expenses: $353,635
Assets: $626,613


Environmental Advocacy



Executive Director:

Duane Ninneman

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Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) is a left-of-center environmentalist advocacy group that works to influence energy policies and the political climate in rural Minnesota.

CURE’s “Equity Statement” says that it works to alter systems that drive problems with both the environment and society, and that “CURE must practice equity, inclusion, and diversity in our day to day operations.” 1


Founded in 1992, this organization coalesced around a joint cleanup project of the Minnesota River with the assistance of the National Guard and members of the Sioux Tribe, as well as its legal opposition to the rechanneling of the Lac qui Parle River in southwestern Minnesota. 2

Advocacy and Programs

Pipeline Opposition

Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) pipelines channel carbon emissions from ethanol producers and industrial plants and store them for later use. Two such projects, one by Summit Carbon Solutions and another by Navigator Ventures, were proposed in Minnesota, and have encountered pushback from CURE. Objecting that the stored carbon is sometimes pumped back into the ground to uncover more oil and natural gas in a process called Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), CURE raised concerns that the carbon may escape and acidify the local water supply, or that leaks may asphyxiate human or animal populations. 3

CURE suggested that the Public Utilities Commission could add liquid carbon to its list of hazardous materials, and in November 2021 submitted a petition of 186 signatures to the same commission asking for the state to initiate an environmental impact study of the Summit project before the pipeline could proceed. This petition was denied, a decision CURE referred to as “factually and legally questionable.” 4

Energy Democracy/Criticism of Rural Electric Co-ops

CURE is a supporter of Rural Electric Co-ops (RECs), local small-scale community energy providers—and includes them under its principle of “Energy Democracy.” However, the group states that it wants to address “inequities, and other systemic challenges” linked to these providers, and the extent to which they rely on “dirty electricity from coal instead transitioning their electricity generation to renewable, community-based energy sources.” Many of its complaints are highlighted in its annual “Rural Electric Co-op Scorecard” report, an examination of how well each local co-op aligns with CURE’s values. The Scorecard rates such metrics as “posted director or manager salaries?” or availability of the companies’ energy source mix. 5 6

When it was first published in 2018, the report was critical of a supposed lack of transparency on the REC’s websites. CURE Energy Democracy director Eric Hatlestadt also complained that REC websites were missing instructions on how to participate in board elections and meetings and lacked contact information for board members. Joyce Peppin, general counsel and director of government affairs for the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, disputed these claims by pointing out that this information could be found in the groups’ newsletters and annual reports. 7

In 2022, CURE helped secure $10 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act for REC groups to transition their energy production from conventional fuels into weather-dependent energy sources. The Scorecard highlights these funds, but questions whether this possible shift been made known to co-op customers. 8

Rural Democracy Project

Rural Democracy Project is CURE’s effort to shift the political landscape of rural Minnesota, especially with an eye on “collaborating with local progressive groups and planning toward the next election.”  Towards this end, it started the “We All Do Better” interactive training program to teach participants activism and leadership skills. This program, funded with support from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthy Communities project, was led by CURE organizer and League of Women Voters board member Jessica Rohloff and activist and motivational speaker Hamdi Kosar. 9 10

Sharing Stories

In conjunction with the environmental advocacy group Land Stewardship Project and the University of Minnesota Morris’s Office of Sustainability, CURE hosts the “Sharing Stories” webinar series, which highlights the work of local environmentalists. It also hosts its own YouTube channel, and offers nature education and conservancy field days such as the “Prairies & Potholes Biome Training” and “Tallgrass Prairies Bioblitz” events. 11 12


Duane Ninneman is the executive director of CURE, as well as a farmer and the owner of Sage Research and Consulting. 13 14


  1. “Who We Are.” CURE. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  2. “Our History.” Cure. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  3. [1]  “Carbon Pipelines MN.” CURE. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  4. Borgendale, Anne. “CURE Says PUC ‘Got it Wrong…” CURE. February 28, 2023. Accessed April 24, 2023. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/
  5. “Rural Electric Co-op Scorecard.” CURE. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  6. “Energy Democracy.” CURE. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  7.  Jossi, Frank. “Minnesota Co-Op Websites Get Failing Grade on Disclosing Power Sources.” Energy News Network. November 16, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  8. “Clean Up the River Environment (CURE).” Accessed April 24, 2023.
  9. “Rural Democracy Project.” Cure. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  10. “We All Do Better.” Cure. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  11. “Climate.” CURE. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  12. “Connecting with Nature.” CURE. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  13. “Duane Ninneman, Executive Director.” Cure. Accessed April 24, 2023.
  14. “Duane Ninneman.” Linkedin. Accessed April 24, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2000

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form 990 $726,380 $353,635 $626,613 $50,472 N $673,837 $0 $1,895 $90,200
    2019 Dec Form 990 $383,027 $304,825 $276,421 $73,025 N $369,573 $4,214 $852 $66,797 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $336,387 $326,722 $142,990 $17,796 N $329,600 $934 $159 $129,535 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $287,607 $271,769 $137,854 $22,325 N $279,083 $75 $301 $109,894 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $268,877 $317,673 $143,659 $44,048 N $258,229 $3,140 $141 $112,775 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $278,949 $319,404 $246,703 $98,194 N $271,337 $1,679 $238 $122,400 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $280,384 $291,432 $263,071 $74,205 N $282,456 $771 $342 $121,993 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $388,689 $380,176 $295,015 $86,368 N $356,722 $29,215 $419 $148,785 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $516,067 $541,541 $384,093 $184,254 N $482,528 $27,469 $471 $76,335 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $136,332 $189,595 $501,628 $276,342 N $106,000 $28,582 $169 $60,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Clean Up the River Environment (CURE)

    Montevideo, MN 56265-5502