Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Clean Power Plan; Energy; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Pollinators; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wildlife & Fish
Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change; Conservation; Frac Sand; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Solar; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wildlife & Fish
Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Clean Power Plan; Climate Change; Energy; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Water; Wildlife & Fish
Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change; Energy; Frac Sand; Invasive Species; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wildlife & Fish
Star Tribune: Minnesota lakes under stress
Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Clean Power Plan; Energy; Forests; Frac Sand; Invasive Species; Mining; MPCA Board; Oil & Pipelines; Pollinators; Water; Wildlife & Fish; Loon Commons Blog
Written by MEP Communications Intern Hanna Terwilliger
MEP’s Annual Members Meeting was a little more crowded than usual this year as we welcomed Governor Mark Dayton to discuss Minnesota’s environmental priorities. More than 100 people representing 43 of Minnesota’s most respected environmental and conservation came to hear the Governor speak and to ask him about his stance on a wide variety of issues ranging from this session’s buffer bill to the recently announced Clean Power Plan. Although the environmental community faced some hurdles this year, Governor Dayton was a strong supporter and we took the time to thank him for his support by reciprocating the cookies he handed out earlier this year during a rally outside his home.
Governor Dayton started things off announcing the establishment of the Governor’s Committee to Advise the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. After the disappointing abolishment of the MPCA Citizen’s Board during the last legislative session, this was a welcome event for the room of gathered advocates. In true Dayton fashion, he kept his remarks brief and opened up the room to questions from MEP members.
After this session’s victory on buffers, Governor Dayton was eager to expand on his clean water priorities for the next three and a half years when asked about future protections. The Governor expressed frustration with the status quo surrounding water quality issues, particularly in Southern Minnesota. “I just refuse to believe that we have to accept this kind of contamination because it’s farm country,” Dayton said. “We don’t accept it in mining country. We don’t accept it in the metropolitan area.”
Several MEP members expressed their concern with integrity of the environmental review process for Polymet and future sulfide mining practices and urged the Governor to take a look at the work of independent scientists who do not have a financial stake in the project. The Governor responded that he would make sure rigor was applied to the environmental review, but that he also had questions about the financial considerations, especially for a company that had a value of over $300 million. He noted that, “this will be the most momentous, difficult and controversial decision I will make as governor.” With the recent mine disaster in Colorado, we are reminded of how even when people have the very best of intentions towards protecting the environment, accidents still occur with catastrophic consequences for aquatic life.
At another point, the Governor responded to Kathy Hollander of MN350’s question on oil pipelines saying that to move oil without pipelines wasn’t a “feasible option.” For the advocates in the room it was a reminder that even with our environmental champions there is work to be done with issue education and public pushback.
The Governor also spoke on his support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, saying that “the standards aren’t all that we can do or the most that we can do…my goal is to eliminate coal fired power plants before I die.” Let’s have coal fired power plants in Minnesota retired long before the end of the Governor’s lifetime. Our state certainly has the renewable energy resources to make this a reality.
Thank you Governor Dayton for your support of Minnesota’s environmental heritage, and we hope you enjoyed the cookies.
Click here for full video coverage of the event
Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Clean Power Plan; Climate Change; Energy; Invasive Species; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wildlife & Fish
Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change; Conservation; Energy; Frac Sand Mining; Invasive Species; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wildlife & Fish
Written by MEP’s Andrew Slade – It’s been five years since an Enbridge pipeline burst open in Marshall, Michigan and spilled nearly a million gallons of tar sands crude oil into the Kalamazoo River, a tributary of Lake Michigan.
Normally, history is written by the winners, but in this case, there should have been no winners, only losers. The Kalamazoo River lost its ecological function. The people who live along the river lost their health and their property values. Heck, even Enbridge lost a bunch of oil. National Wildlife Federation took an excellent look back on their blog (LINK: http://blog.nwf.org/2015/07/remember-the-kalamazoo-stop-tar-sands/).
The only one claiming to have come out better after the spill is Enbridge. They’ve experienced a company-wide culture shift, they say. They spent over a billion dollars of their customers’ money cleaning up the problem. They seize every opportunity to present themselves as a caring corporate neighbor because of all the work they’ve done to clean up their own mess (LINK: http://www.enbridge.com/InYourCommunity/PipelinesInYourCommunity/Enbridge-in-Michigan/Marshall-Incident-and-Response.aspx). Because of the spill, they are even bigger and stronger now than before.
The Kalamazoo oil spill has direct connections to the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior, where I live and work. The oil that spilled, heavy crude from Alberta, had passed right through the Enbridge terminal in Superior. Local employees, including friends and acquaintances of mine, hurried to the scene to try to manage the chaos.
Did Enbridge “win” the Kalamazoo oil spill? Since the spill, their staff in Duluth and Superior has grown exponentially. The company has taken over prominent office spaces in both cities’ downtowns. Business is booming for other companies that support Enbridge, like engineering companies and natural resource contractors. Within a few years, that stretch of pipeline had been fixed and once again was carrying earth-warming tar sands crude to market. Fixing the Michigan pipeline was not nearly enough; Enbridge currently has at least five pipelines in the region either in planning, construction or expansion, including Sandpiper, the Alberta Clipper, and the mainline across the heart of Wisconsin.
Meet a young professional doing private sector natural resource work in Duluth, and there’s a good chance their paycheck comes, at least in part, from Enbridge. They are getting paid good money to help Enbridge avoid further environmental disasters to local habitats and waterways. But everything Enbridge does in oil transport contributes to the larger disaster of climate change. And even a well-managed oil spill is still an oil spill.
Our local economy is now even more complicit in the sharp rise in greenhouse gasses and the disaster of climate change. When Enbridge asked Duluth Mayor Don Ness to endorse their expansion plans for the Alberta Clipper, he was happy to do so, joining the mayor of Superior in a press conference. He cited all the great jobs in environmental protection Enbridge had brought to Duluth. He did not mention all the environmental destruction that comes from mining, shipping, and burning tar sands oil. Or from spilling it.
My heart goes out to the Kalamazoo River community, human, plant and animal (LINK: http://www.rememberthekalamazoo.org/ ). While Enbridge and the Twin Ports seem to be “winning” with the new pipeline economy, it all began with their loss. When the next spill flows into the St. Louis River or Lake Superior, only then will we feel the real loss of what is truly important.