News Watch: August 25

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Today’s Topics: Climate Change, Conservation, Energy, Invasive Species, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollution, Transportation, Water, Waste & Recycling, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Climate Change
Grist: Understanding Louisiana’s big flood risks
MinnPost: Louisiana suffers flooding of historic proportions, and many see climate as a driver

Echo Journal: Leech Lake watershed foundation to host event in Walker featuring MEP member group the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation
Southwest Journal: Wanted: innovative environmentalists featuring MEP member groupFriends of the Mississippi River
WXOW: Rep. Walz tours local farm, talks land conservation featuring MEP member groupMinnesota Land Trust

Midwest Energy News: Three Minnesota sites plan future net zero neighborhoods
MPR: Camp shines light on solar energy for kids
New York Times: Apple Becomes a Green Energy Supplier, With Itself as Customer

Invasive Species
Brainerd Dispatch: Starry stonewort confirmed in Upper Red Lake, Cass Lake
MPR: Zebra mussels found in popular Carver County lake

Duluth News Tribune: PolyMet opponents want law judge hearings
MPR: Duluth citizens seek evidence-based hearings before PolyMet decision featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Oil & Pipelines
Native News Online: Federal Judge: No Decision Until At Least Sept. 9 on Dakota Access Case
Opinion, New York Times: Taking a Stand at Standing Rock

Parks & Trails
Pioneer Press: St. Paul wants to know how you use parks and trails

News From Indian Country: EPA Meeting may be new chance for Cass Lake
Pioneer Press: Work on controversial Afton sewer project set to begin next month

Pioneer Press: Safer Streets aims to make biking safer in St. Paul featuring MEP member group Fresh Energy

Commentary, Star Tribune: Southwest light rail: Despite House intransigence, governor must secure local funding by Dave Van Hattum of MEP member group Transit for Livable Communities

Pioneer Press: Lead tests find 233 St. Paul school water fixtures over EPA limit
Wisconsin Public Radio: Great Lakes mayors look to divert Waukesha’s water diversion plan

Waste & Recycling
Austin Daily Herald: Recycling changes ready to roll out

Wildlife & Fish
Dodge County Independent News: Court Of Appeals Gives OK To National Group To Join Trom Appeal featuring MEP member groups Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy andEnvironment Minnesota
Duluth News Tribune: DNR survey finds Minnesota wolf population stable featuring MEP member group Center for Biological Diversity
MinnPost: An Arctic shark breaks a record for longevity, with span of up to 500 years
MinnPost: Mille Lacs walleye fishing to close; DNR reverses under Indian pressure

News Watch: August 22

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Conservation, Invasive Species, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Sustainable Development, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
Brainerd Dispatch: Dairy producers may enroll to protect milk production margins
Grist: How farms can heal forests — or even make them
Star Tribune: Arboretum selects new director from within after national search
WNAX: Minnesota Land Stewardship Project Gets USDA Grant featuring MEP member groupLand Stewardship Project

Climate Change
Inforum: Violent coral bleaching caught on camera
Grist: We’ve only explored 0.0001 percent of the ocean, but that’s about to change.
MPR: Activists celebrate climate policy despite court battle featuring MEP member groupSierra Club North Star Chapter
Motherboard: Every Month This Year Has Been the Hottest in Recorded History
NPR: Threatened by rising seas, Alaska village decides to relocate
The Times-Picayune: Louisiana Flood of 2016: Week 1 as seen through our photographers’ lenses

Duluth News Tribune: Art with purpose: Duluth artist painting to save the Boundary Watersfeaturing MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
WDIO: Touchstone Award Nominee: MN Land Trust featuring MEP member group Minnesota Land Trust

Invasive Species
Inforum: Finding just one zebra mussel in a lake doesn’t mean they aren’t there

Oil & Pipelines
Bismarck Tribune: Scenes from the Dakota Access Pipeline protester camps
Indian Country Today Media Network: Dakota Access Pipeline: Standing Rock Sioux Issue Urgent Appeal to United Nations Human Rights Officials

Parks & Trails
Brainerd Dispatch: Brainerd Parks and Recreation Board to meet
Duluth News Tribune: Superior Hiking Trail beckons: St. Scholastica teacher setting out on 300-mile hike featuring MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Brainerd Dispatch: Cass Soil and Water Conservation District: How you can help area pollinators

Sustainable Development
Commentary, Star Tribune: Counterpoint: Reconsider just what a ‘public good’ is

Pioneer Press: New Gold Line alternative route takes a turn south in Woodbury
Pioneer Press: Special legislative session won’t happen after leaders unable to reach deal
Star Tribune: Equipment problem won’t stall St. Croix River bridge opening, MnDOT says
Star Tribune: Green Line train strikes, injures pedestrian in St. Paul
Star Tribune: Hennepin County leaders ask to explore closing historic Greenway bridges to save on rehab costs

Waste & Recycling
Austin Daily Herald: Board to talk bridge, recycling contracts

Austin Daily Herald: CRWD initiates water-quality project levy; Board OKs plan for contributing up to 12 percent of $8.4 million CIP cost
Inforum: Water district’s eminent domain attempt for F-M diversion stalls, but case not dismissed
Star Tribune: Turf war: Overwatering our lawns is sucking up our water supply

News Watch: August 18

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Energy, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Sustainable Development, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
City Pages: Owner of Svihel Vegetable Farm convicted of abusing immigrant workers
Inforum: Employee assistance programs reduce workplace stress and improve agriculture
Inforum: Farmers, scientists seek common ground on going green
Pioneer Press: Frogtown Farm’s produce stand up and running

Climate Change
The Atlantic: America Is Ignoring Another Natural Disaster Near the Gulf
Mother Jones: A Small Wildfire In California Just Turned Into a Raging Inferno
Washington Post: Louisiana flooding is the country’s ‘worst natural disaster’ since Hurricane Sandy, Red Cross says

Star Tribune: Normandale students take national honors for innovative renewable energy proposal

Oil & Pipelines
BBC: Native American protesters disrupt work on oil pipeline
Democracy Now!: Stopping the Snake: Indigenous Protesters Shut Down Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

Parks & Trails
MinnPost: The first park ever to be shared between two states? Minnesota and Wisconsin’s own Interstate State Park
Star Tribune: St. Paul Parks and Recreation to survey residents
Twin Cities Daily Planet: Years of inequities lead to ‘extremely rare’ racial lens applied to Minneapolis parks planning

MinnPost: Big drop found in neonicotinoid content of home stores’ ‘bee-friendly’ flowers

Inforum: Proposed Star Lake casino site needs environmental impact statement, citizens say

Sustainable Development
Opinion, Post Bulletin: Christopher Mitchell: Rochester makes smart move by evaluating Internet options featuring MEP member group the Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Inforum: DFL lawmakers urge leaders to reach agreement on special session
Pioneer Press: Metro Transit’s $1 bus fare program to accept 3,000 riders
Star Tribune: Train, Metro Transit bus collide in south Minneapolis
Star Tribune: Transit board throws Orange Line a $37.5 million lifeline featuring MEP member groups Transit for Livable Communities and the Sierra Club

Brainerd Dispatch: Water Conversations launched in area featuring MEP member group the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation and MN350
MinnPost: Minnesota among 13 states with high levels of risky chemicals in drinking water
MPR: Minnesota environmental group wants in on Red River diversion appeal featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
St. Croix 360: Indigenous Women to Perform Ceremonial Water Walk Along St. Croix Tributary featuring MEP member group St. Croix River Association

Wildlife & Fish
MPR: Tribes considering legal options over Mille Lacs walleye quotas

News Watch: August 11

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Conservation, Energy, Invasive Species, Parks & Trails, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
MPR: Farmers, scientists seek common ground on going green

Climate Change
Grist: Here’s how life looks on Louisiana’s forgotten coastline

International Falls Journal: Bolstering the Rat Root featuring MEP member group National Parks Conservation Association
MinnPost: Minnesota gained more than 123 million trees thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps

Bemidji Pioneer: Minnesota’s largest solar power project on its way up
Midwest Energy News: A low-income St. Paul neighborhood has an ambitious energy planfeaturing MEP member group Fresh Energy
Midwest Energy News: Report: States stand to gain if corporations have better access to renewables
MinnPost: It’s only early August, and already we’ve used up Earth’s resources for the year
Post Bulletin: Of solar tours and sustainable buses: A tale of two green projects featuring MEP member group Minnesota Renewable Energy Society

Invasive Species
Bemidji Pioneer: DNR investigating invasive species in Turtle Lake
MPR: Invasive algae discovered in second Minnesota lake
Pioneer Press: 5 more central Minnesota lakes declared infested with zebra mussels

Parks & Trails
Bemidji Pioneer: Programs at Lake Bemidji State Park
MPR: Boundary Waters newbie? Here’s how to eat, plan, paddle and get home
MPR: North Country trail: The Minnesota national park you’ve never heard of
Post Bulletin: Park Board approves Quarry Hill renovations

Bemidji Pioneer: EPA proposes cleanup for decades old contamination
Duluth News Tribune: Duluth, Ashland get EPA grants for beaches
Pioneer Press: Formerly polluted TCAAP site gets clean designation

Inforum: Moorhead airport gets grant for improvements
MPR: Twin Cities transit best in the U.S. for 2016
Red Wing Republican Eagle: Developer gets more time to study high-speed rail
Star Tribune: Bottineau light rail wins critical Hennepin County funding

Waste & Recycling
St. Croix 360: Volunteers Needed for St. Croix Clean-Ups featuring MEP member group St. Croix River Association

Grist: Brilliant photographer captures daily life during the Flint water crisis
Grist: Flint’s lead-poisoned water cost the city nearly 100 times as much as it was supposed to save
Grist: There’s a new toxin in your water to worry about, America

Wildlife & Fish
MinnPost: Like seabirds, our freshwater fowl carry the burdens of throwaway plastics
Pioneer Press: Mille Lacs walleye quota busted, but Dayton orders lake open for fishing; tribes ‘disappointed’

Opinion, Bemidji Pioneer: Blane Klemek: Thoughts on orioles and hummingbirds

Decoupling pairs top-notch utility service with energy savings

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For some time, energy utilities in Minnesota and elsewhere have been evolving to keep pace with customer expectations and increased targets for energy savings and renewable energy. And as utilities continue to seek the right balance between energy efficiency and a robust infrastructure, traditional business models for cost recovery are increasingly challenging and may no longer fit the (monthly utility) bill. Enter decoupling.

Designed with customers and conservation in mind, decoupling — otherwise known as “Utility Revenue Decoupling” (but that’s just so nerdy!) — is a regulatory tool that lessens the impact that changes in utility energy sales have on utility revenues. 

For an investor-owned utility like Xcel Energy or CenterPoint Energy, regulators traditionally set rates so the natural gas or electricity forecasted to be sold to customers would allow utilities to recover all costs for providing reliable service as well as reasonable shareholder returns. The rate is based on a pretty simple formula: forecasted costs divided by forecasted sales. Whenever a utility sells more than was forecasted, however, it recovers more than regulators deemed necessary for reliable service, which allows for greater shareholder returns. With rates set this traditional way, utilities are motivated to sell more in order to earn more.

Revenue decoupling limits that motivation. Under decoupling, regulators settle on the specific amount that a utility must recover with regard to the fixed costs of providing reliable service and reasonable shareholder returns, and then they build a rate to hit that specific target. But when sales deviate from the forecast (as they always do), the decoupled rate is adjusted up or down to account for the deviations. Rather than a utility over or under collecting, it recovers only the revenues that regulators have determined to be needed for operations and returns. No more, no less.  

By “decoupling” utilities’ forecasted sales from necessary revenues, we limit their motivation to sell more, freeing them up to focus on energy conservation without doing damage to their bottom lines. Decoupling makes the fixed cost portion of utility revenues more predictable, protecting them from dips in energy consumption. And when utilities can count on a more predictable income, they no longer need to sell more to earn more. 

In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy was one of the first utilities to dig into decoupling. About three years ago, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved CenterPoint’s request to start a multiyear pilot program. Annual revenue decoupling adjustments under that program will start showing up on customers’ bills this fall. The adjustments will grant CenterPoint fiscal flexibility to help its customers cut energy use without cutting into revenues that pay for high-quality service. Xcel Energy is also engaged in a decoupling pilot program of its own right now, with related adjustments headed for monthly bills next summer. And other Minnesota utilities are watching closely.

So what does this mean to all of us Minnesotans who are served by utilities that embrace decoupling? For starters, research by our friends and allies Fresh Energy and the Natural Resource Defense Council suggests that utilities employing decoupling are already putting more money into energy efficiency and achieving greater energy savings. The tool works.

As a decoupling leader among utilities, CenterPoint’s approach affirms Minnesota’s national track record as a frontrunner with regard to regulatory frameworks and business models to promote clean energy achievements. This summer CenterPoint is working to inform its customers about the plans to move forward with decoupling.

Specific to Minnesota’s hundreds of thousands of utility customers, revenue decoupling:

  • Stabilizes utility revenues, ensuring our utilities have resources to invest in their infrastructure and provide us service;
  • Aligns customer desires for energy saving with our utilities’ requirement for a reliable energy system; 
  • Clears a path to key investments in carbon reduction that we need utilities to make; and
  • Preserves opportunities for customers to keep cutting costs — which means you can still save money by saving energy.

Increasingly guided by goals for energy stewardship that reward efficiency and cut carbon, the utility world is shifting away from systems that reward utilities for selling as much energy as possible. In replacing outdated business models, we’ll need balanced approaches that help us continue to limit environmental impacts while also allowing utilities to adapt to new customer and community expectations in economically sustainable ways. And although the “old model” (i.e., reliant on sales, disincentivizing efficiency) remains popular, we’ve seen an upswing nationally from just 40 gas and electric utilities using decoupling in 2009 to 73 adopting it by 2013.

It seems likely that our next-generation utility models will be service-based, rather than sales-based —“serve well to earn well” will eventually supplant “sell more to earn more.” Decoupling offers a transition tool to those new utility business models, and it will help ensure that CenterPoint, Xcel Energy, and all other utilities that embrace this tool continue to help their customers reduce energy use. 

Although it is catching on here and nationally, separating energy revenues from usage is still a fairly fresh idea and represents a notable change for our region. There are bound to be questions. I hope you’ll join us for the August 24 Twitter chat to chime in and ask yours.


Mike Bull is director of policy and communications at the Center for Energy and Environment. This post originally appeared on CEE’s blog.

News Watch: August 4

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Energy, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Sustainable Development, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish,  Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
NPR: How Monsanto And Scofflaw Farmers Hurt Soybeans In Arkansas
NPR: Organic food fights back against ‘non-GMO’ rival
Redwood Falls Gazette: Farmfest 2016 opens Tuesday featuring MEP member group The Nature Conservancy
West Central Tribune: U.S. House candidates show differences, avoid heated remarks during Farmfest forum
West Central Tribune: Western Minn. dairy farm worker killed in job accident

Climate Change
Grist: Why farmworkers are dying from extreme heat
MPR: Climate Cast: Reasons for hope amid the climate crisis
MPR: Climate scientists trained to be on hot seat
Truth-Out: Alaskans Witness Collapsing Mountains, Shattered Lives

Duluth News Tribune: Lakewalk lighting to receive an energy-efficient upgrade
Duluth News Tribune: Yet again, storms leave thousands without power in Minnesota
Midwest Energy News: MnSCU spurs innovation with a growing renewable energy program

MPR: Ely calls a truce over mining as tourist economy booms
Today: Couple spending a year outdoors to protect Boundary Waters from mine pollution

Oil & Pipelines
Inforum: Arson suspected at 3 Dakota Access pipeline sites in Iowa; $1 million in damage
Inforum: Tribes protest Dakota Access pipeline on Capitol grounds
Star Tribune: Future unclear for northern Minnesota oil pipeline project featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Parks & Trails
Star Tribune: Kayak sharing along Mississippi in the works

MPR: Here’s the colony-killing mistake backyard beekeepers make

MPR: Disparities and air pollution in Minnesota featuring MEP member group Sierra Club

Sustainable Development
Yes! Magazine: Tired of Waiting for Corporate High-Speed Internet, Minnesota Farm Towns Build Their Own featuring MEP member group Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Star Tribune: Congestion is bad, likely to get worse in Twin Cities, MnDOT says
Star Tribune: More than 120K rides taken on Metro Transit’s A-Line in first month
West Central Tribune: Three road alignment options considered for Willmar Wye

Brainerd Dispatch: Local groups to host ‘Water Conversation’ featuring MEP member group Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation

Wildlife & Fish
Duluth News Tribune: Trail cam confirms two wolves hanging on at Isle Royale
Duluth News Tribune: Newly found bat is first new mammal species in Minnesota in 25 years
MPR: MN officials hunt for possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes
NPR: Mo’ money, mo’ bug problems: Wealthier homes are rich in insects too

News Watch: August 1

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Conservation, Emissions, Energy, Invasive Species, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
Grist: GMO labels are now the law of the land
Inforum: Trial and error: Crookston farmer embraces trend of growing organic crops
MPR: Sweet corn for dinner? Minnesota harvest season arrives
Post Bulletin: Proposed ag center is big deal for Elgin
Public News Service: MN Farmers Union: Dairy Farmers Need Better Price Protections
Twin Cities Daily Planet: North Minneapolis takes back food systems, land through urban agriculture

Austin Daily Herald: Residents get low down on buffer regs
Brainerd Dispatch: DNR offers tips for cleanup of downed trees

Opinion, MinnPost: HERC’s emissions and toxic ash make it a far cry from best practices in dealing with trash by Neil Seldman and John Farrell of MEP member group Institute for Local Self Reliance

Brainerd Dispatch: Minnesota Power seeks proposals for large-scale wind, solar energy and customer-driven resources
Red Wing Republican Eagle: Rate hike lights up meeting, Xcel proposes $297.1 million

Invasive Species
Brainerd Dispatch: What you should know about new AIS laws
St. Cloud Times: Zebra mussels found in East Spirit Lake, Lake Osakis

LTE, Timberjay: Range delegation can take a bow for tripping up Twin Metals

Oil & Pipelines
Washington Post: Standing Rock Sioux sues Corps over oil pipeline permits

Parks & Trails
Brainerd Dispatch: DNR invites input on Cuyuna bike trail plan
MPR: Live at National Press Club: National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis
MPR: Rochester launches Nice Ride bike program
MPR: The Park Service marks a century of service as the Mississippi River park looks to the next
Timberjay: Pillow Rock relocation moving forward

Red Wing Republican Eagle: Goodhue resident one of 44 fined by MPCA

Star Tribune: CTIB: The little-known board that influences Twin Cities transit
Star Tribune: Public asked for input on equity in street paving spending

Waste & Recycling
Austin Daily Herald: County board looking into solid waste charge; Hearing to be heldTuesday, public invited
Star Tribune: Freeway Landfill in Burnsville will enter Superfund program after all

Austin Daily Herald: Project levy next step for CRWD
Star Tribune: Rochester’s Zumbro River in the spotlight as city remakes itself
Star Tribune: Water quality a top issue at FarmFest 2016

Wildlife & Fish
Brainerd Dispatch: What comes next with muskie stocking on Gull?
International Falls Journal: Eagle nesting areas reopened in VNP
MinnPost: Good news for birds (and birders): Species protection is working
Owatonna People’s Press: National groups weigh in on feedlot lawsuit
Star Tribune: Bird safety top priority as Fridley’s Springbrook Nature Center reopens
Star Tribune: Minneapolis looking at bird-safe skyways
The Architect’s Newspaper: Cost overruns and legal battles result in chilly reception for new Vikings stadium featuring MEP member group Audubon Minnesota

News Watch: July 29

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Emissions, Energy, Frac Sand, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
Hometown Focus: University of Minnesota to test prototype greenhouse for year-round crop production

CityLab: How Environmental Injustice Connects to Police Violence

Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota Power provides behind-the-scenes look at storm response
NPR: Solar-Powered Plane Completes Historic Circumnavigation

Frac Sand
Opinion, Post-Bulletin: Letter: Frac-sand ban needed for health and well-being of land and people by Johanna Rupprecht of MEP member group Land Stewardship Project

Duluth News Tribune: NBC’s ‘Today’ to feature BWCAW on Sunday
Inforum: Rural Clay County residents brace for ’10 years of noise’ as contested gravel mine gets OK

Oil & Pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Environmental groups question federal order on Enbridge pipeline in Minnesota featuring MEP member group MN350  
NPR: Canadian Oil Spill Threatens Drinking Water

Parks & Trails
Brainerd Dispatch: DNR invites public input on Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Echo Press: Architect hired for Rune Stone Park project
Faribault Daily News: MnDNR acquires six miles of land between Dundas and Faribault for Mill Towns Trail
Inforum: Grand opening planned at new downtown Fargo park on gas station site
Timberjay: New forest supervisor to start in August

MinnPost: Planting honeybee forage amid crops may not help much, S.D. study says
MPR: Minnesota author’s guide to a bee-friendly backyard

Grist: Chernobyl site could become a solar farm
Grist: In Maryland, one community is taking a stand against environmental racism

Austin Daily Herald: Buffer meetings planned for Thursday; Informational sessions set in 3 cities
Austin Daily Herald: CRWD proposes project levy for water quality; Funds would contribute up to 12 percent of CIP initiative’s $8.4M cost
Brainerd Dispatch: Preserving water resources
Duluth News Tribune: Water managers take public comment after seven floods at Minnesota-Canada border
Winona Daily News: Mississippi dredging in Wabasha set to begin in August

Wildlife & Fish
Duluth News Tribune: Zebra mussels found on lakes near Detroit Lakes, Alexandria
MPR: The U wants your help counting seals in Antarctica
Star Tribune: Red-tailed hawk family finds home in Como area featuring MEP member groupThe Nature Conservancy

News Watch: July 25, 2016

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July 25, 2016

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Conservation, Energy, Frac Sand, Parks & Trails, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
Echo Press: State releases water buffer maps
Inforum: AgweekTV: Growers say wheat will help meet rising world food demand
Lillie News: Swede Hollow Cafe celebrates its 20th anniversary featuring MEP member groupUrban Roots
MPR: Feeling sweaty, Minnesota? Blame the corn
Star Tribune: ‘Edible Streetscape’ blooms on St. Paul’s East Side featuring MEP member group Urban Roots

Climate Change
Grist: Climate activists make noise in Philly ahead of Democratic convention
Washington Post: Kerry: Climate change as dangerous as terrorism

Ely Echo: Forest Service updates storm damage as of Saturday evening
Winona Daily News: Free Upper Mississippi hiking, paddling excursion July 30 in Wabasha County featuring MEP member group The Nature Conservancy

Mankato Free Press: Forum to focus on saving energy, money
Midwest Energy News: Q&A: Conservatives debate clean energy approaches in Minnesota
Midwest Energy News: ‘Value of solar’ gains another foothold in Minnesota featuring MEP member group Fresh Energy
MPR: Minnesota ranks low in solar energy production
MPR: Taking a conservative approach to clean energy
PRI: Nuclear reactors in California and New York State are on different paths featuring MEP member group Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Red Wing Republican Eagle: Hearing on Xcel rate increase scheduled for Wednesday
Star Tribune: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves size caps, rate structure for solar projects featuring MEP member group Fresh Energy

Frac Sand
Winona Daily News: Planning commission sets dates for future frac sand meetings

Parks & Trails
Brainerd Dispatch: After strong winds and storm, state park campgrounds open

Public News Service: MN Health Experts Look to Expand Bike Share Program

Austin Daily Herald: Greater Minnesota city leaders renew push for special session

Wildlife & Fish
Bemidji Pioneer: Blane Klemek: Nests are nearly as fascinating as the birds themselves
MPR: Wildflowers planted to aid bees may be crippling them
St. Cloud Times: DNR expands muskellunge stocking

News Watch: July 21

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Conservation, Energy, Invasive Species, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollution, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
Brainerd Dispatch: Food for thought: Fresh foods becoming increasingly popular
Farm Forum: 2016 Minnesota Garlic Fest welcomes the King of Pork featuring MEP member group Sustainable Farming Association
Inforum: It’s not just the heat: Crops increase humidity

Climate Change
MPR: Minnesota must do more to cut greenhouse gas linked to climate change
MPR: Scientists report the planet was hotter than ever in first half of 2016

Post Bulletin: Learn about Weaver Dunes and Weaver Bottoms featuring MEP member group The Nature Conservancy
Star Tribune: 2 campers killed by storms during Boy Scout trip in BWCA

Midwest Energy News: Minnesota mayor doesn’t share legislators’ alarm over coal shutdown

Invasive Species
St. Croix 360: St. Croix River to Have Weekend of Extra Protection Against Aquatic Invaders featuring MEP member group St. Croix River Association

Fox 21: Thousands of Petitions Signed to Halt Twin Metals Lease Renewal featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
MPR: Ely residents sharply divided over mining near BWCA featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
MPR: Enbridge agrees to $177M settlement for 2010 oil pipeline spills featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Oil & Pipelines
Brainerd Dispatch: WAPOA to host workshop on oil pipelines
Grist: Way back when, Big Oil taught tobacco companies a few tricks

Parks & Trails
MPR: Racial issues forcing change in Minneapolis parks leadership
Star Tribune: A National Park Service timeline featuring MEP member group Voyageurs National Park Association
Star Tribune: Tabb, Erwin elected to Park Board leadership

Duluth News Tribune: Crews respond to chemical mishap in Canal Park
MinnPost: Gliding across Lake Michigan again, aboard a funky old ferry made legal
MinnPost: Minnesota revises proposed standards to protect wild rice from sulfate pollution
MPR: Stormwater cleanup goes high tech in St. Anthony Village
Pioneer Press: Lake Elmo to sue 3M for pollution-related costs

Star Tribune: Mpls will dig deeper on repairing streets thanks to cash infusion

Alexandria Echo Press: Test drinking water wells affected by floods
MinnPost: DNR’s interactive map of buffer sites offers a fascinating view of a key resource

Wildlife & Fish
Star Tribune: A second wayward gator is captured near Brainerd