News Watch: Mar. 15

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change, Energy, Invasive Species, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Iowa Public Radio: Low prices could push farmers into new crops

Climate Change
International Falls Journal: Forum brings ‘new science, new findings’ featuring MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
MinnPost: Tracing the climate-change roots of awful weather, a new science advances
MPR: Climate Cast: Why so little climate coverage on TV news?
NY Times: Rising sea levels may disrupt lives of millions, study says

Commentary, Duluth News Tribune: Local view: Global warming may bring some cold weather
LTE, Duluth News Tribune: Reader’s View: MPCA listening sessions allow public input
LTE, Winona Daily News: Winona climate-change dialogue should be just the beginning

Energy
Midwest Energy News: Minneapolis clean energy partnership receiving national recognitionfeaturing MEP member group Institute for Local Self Reliance
MPR: Minnesota won’t slow renewable energy push, Dayton tells students
Pioneer Press: Solar gardens are about to flood across the Twin Cities – here’s why featuring MEP member group Fresh Energy

Commentary, Clean Tecnica: Utility & community solar should use native landscaping
Commentary, Star Tribune: Target stores should be a bull’s-eye for rooftop solar by Megan Spear of MEP member group Environment Minnesota

Invasive Species
MPR: Is the war on invasive species really worth fighting?

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Silver Bay City Council votes to remove Bent Paddle beer from municipal liquor store
Star Tribune: North Shore town bans Bent Paddle beer over PolyMet fight

Commentary, Pioneer Press: Will global prices undermine PolyMet?
Commentary, Star Tribune: Walter Mondale on fighting to save the soul of Minnesota: the Boundary Waters
Commentary, Star Tribune: Counterpoint: Don’t knock PolyMet’s environmental review
Editorial, Ely Echo: Dayton’s actions against Twin Metals lack common sense and may be illegal
LTE, Star Tribune: Readers Write (March 13): PolyMet mine proposal

Oil & Pipelines
AP: In reversal, Obama admin to block oil drilling in Atlantic (In MPR)
Duluth News Tribune: Enbridge pipeline studies provoke debate in Superior

Parks & Trails
Pioneer Press: Minnesota state parks change campsite reservation policies
Star Tribune: Minnesota state park campsites go to all-reservation system

Pollinators
Star Tribune: Southern Minnesota bee operation joins historic register

Transportation
Duluth News Tribune: Northern Minnesota watches transportation funding debate
Mankato Free Press: Past, future to be discussed at bike summit
MinnPost: Transit-oriented development in St. Paul: connections that create value
MPR: Transportation talks set to resume at Capitol
Pioneer Press: Will Fourth Street become St. Paul’s Nicollet Mall?
Pioneer Press: Minneapolis students who ride city bus are absent less, study finds
Pioneer Press: Electric cars get a room of their own at Twin Cities Auto Show
Politics in MN: Report: MnDOT project selection needs more transparency
Star Tribune: Study: Transit pass program brings academic, social and economic benefits to MPS students
Star Tribune: Cyclist group seek coalition on lower urban speed limits featuring MEP member group Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota

LTE, Star Tribune: Readers Write (March 11): Bike lanes, PolyMet proposal

Water
Austin Daily Herald: An eye on waterways; SWCD still has buffer work to do as county hits 94 percent in compliance
InForum: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency proposes ban on mislabeled toilet paper, wipes
MPR: Your most pressing water questions, answered
Public News Service: Presidential hopefuls asked to support Great Lakes Restoration
Star Tribune: Not even spring yet, but Twin Cities suburb already clamps down on water use
Star Tribune: Minnesota cities are on the hunt for an ocean of lost water

Commentary, SC Times: New program helps farmers improve water
Commentary, SC Times: Little Rock Lake needs cleaning up
LTE, Austin Daily Herald: Letter: Put money into clean water, not lawsuits

Wildlife & Fish
MPR: DNR wants limited ban on lead shot; some hunters opposed featuring MEP member group Audubon Minnesota
MPR: Grand Portage Band, state diverge on collaring moose
Pioneer Press: Minnesota DNR’s lead ammo ban proposal in lawmaker’s sights
Star Tribune: Lead ammo debate heats up featuring MEP member groups Audubon Minnesota,Izaak Walton League, and the Center for Biological Diversity
Star Tribune: Eaglets visible on state DNR’s eagle cam

News Watch: Mar. 10

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change, Energy, Invasive Species, Leg & Agency; Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
NPR: Urban farms fuel idealism. Profits? Not so much
Pioneer Press: Farmers group, ag secretary hold differing views on trade deal
Star Tribune: General Mills speeds up timeline to help increase organic ingredients
Winona Daily News: New lands, shared soil: Area ag delegation heads to rural Mexicofeaturing MEP member group Land Stewardship Project

Climate Change
Kare 11: The new Minnesota winter? featuring MEP member group Climate Generation
Southwest Journal: Building climate awareness through education and action featuring MEP member group Climate Generation

Commentary, Star Tribune: Climate change: Consumers, about that comfort zone …

Energy
Midwest Energy News: A seat at the table of Minnesota’s energy history
MPR: MnDOT replaces roadside lights with LED lamps
Smart Grid News: Out of Touch? MN Power plan hit hard for coal reliance featuring MEP member group MPIRG
Star Tribune: MNDOT replacing streetlights with more efficient LEDs
WCCO: MnDOT Converting Roadway Lighting To LED
Winona Post: Frac ban talks dominate meeting featuring MEP member group Land Stewardship Project
Woodbury Bulletin: Free solar subscription means more than $1 million in energy savings for city

Commentary, MinnPost: A move to solar is a no-brainer for superstores

Invasive Species
MN Daily: U lab fights spread of invasive species
Star Tribune: Minnesota researchers draw battle line in Mississippi to stop Asian carp

Leg & Agency
Pioneer Press: In Minnesota Senate, feisty urban-rural split surfaces

Mining
AP: Federal agency delivers another blow to Twin Metals mine (In Pioneer Press) featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Climate Progress: Proposed Mining Site Threatens America’s Most Popular Wilderness Areafeaturing MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Duluth News Tribune: Poll: Most Minnesotans oppose mine near BWCAW
Duluth News Tribune: Dayton calls Twin Metals mine a threat to the Boundary Waters
MinnPost: Two big setbacks for efforts to mine copper beside the Boundary Waters featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
MPR: Dayton lays out opposition to proposed Twin Metals mine near BWCA featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
MPR: Twin Metals lease on mine areas under environmental review featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
MPR: Should mining be allowed in the BWCA watershed?
Pioneer Press: Mark Dayton moves to halt proposed Boundary Waters-area mine featuring MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
Star Tribune: Twin Metals gets second rebuff over concerns about mining near the BWCA
Star Tribune: Dayton rebuffs Twin Metals mine proposal, citing risks to BWCA featuring MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Water Wilderness
Star Tribune: Schafer: Why is state only now taking action on Twin Metals mine?
Timberjay: Environmental issues on the front burner in Ely
Timberjay: Twin Metals suffers a one-two punch
WCCO: Gov. Dayton Writes Letter Opposing Mining In Boundary Waters featuring MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Commentary, Star Tribune: 4 tough questions on PolyMet copper-nickel mine by Scott Strand, Paul Danicic, and Paul Austin of MEP member groups Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and Conservation Minnesota
Editorial, Duluth News Tribune: Our view: Process is working for PolyMet project
Editorial, Mankato Free Press: Our View: Mining Dayton takes a pro-water stand
Editorial, Timberjay: Twin Metals fight
LTE, Brainard Dispatch: Reader Opinion: PolyMet could boost economy

Oil & Pipelines
Brainerd Dispatch: First responders review pipeline safety
Star Tribune: Dakota County OKs pipeline plans through Lebanon Hills
WPR: Wisconsin DNR to host hearings on proposed Enbridge pipeline projects (In Duluth News Tribune)

Parks & Trails
NPR: National parks have a long to-do list but can’t cover the repair costs (In MPR)

Transportation
Duluth News Tribune: New center means challenges for DTA
Fergus Falls Journal: Is state transportation deal possible at Capitol?
MinnPost: Trains, lanes and tax deals: what metro-area governments want from the 2016 state Legislature
MinnPost: For thirty years, electric streetcars ruled Twin Cities streets
MN Daily: Dayton talks transportation, education
MPR: Are electric cars practical in Minnesota?
Pioneer Press: Washington County pursues planning funds for 2 rapid bus lines
Pioneer Press: Electric-car boosters offer Minnesotans a rebate
Star Tribune: St. Cloud transit activists to lobby lawmakers for Northstar extension
Star Tribune: Dakota County anticipates $1 billion in transportation needs by 2030
Star Tribune: Does Mpls., big-city leader in bike network density, have enough bike lanes?featuring MEP member group Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota

Commentary, Fergus Falls Journal: Cars: the most socialist transportation
Commentary, Mankato Free Press: ROADS: Legislature must find path to funding
Editorial, Post Bulletin: Our View: Education will increase transit demand

Water
Echo Press: Farmers will be able to see buffer maps soon
Great Lakes Echo: Minnesota conservation groups attack EPA-approved pollution control planfeaturing MEP member groups National Parks Conservation Association, Voyageurs National Park Association, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Sierra Club Northstar Chapter,Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy
MinnPost: The world’s first full-fledged ‘water bar’ is about to open in Minneapolis
MinnPost: Ellison visits Flint as Democrats pressure Republicans to pass water-crisis relief bill
Star Tribune: Northeast Minneapolis getting a water bar — but it’s really education on tap
WC Trib: First of buffer maps to debut soon

Commentar, MinnPost: Changes to Wetlands Conservation Act endanger wetlands

Wildlife & Fish
Duluth News Tribune: Bats in Soudan mine dying from white-nose syndrome
MPR: Disease that kills bats confirmed at Minnesota state park
Star Tribune: Devastating white-nose syndrome has reached Minnesota bats
Star Tribune: In saving Minnesota’s moose, scientific breakthroughs and difficult choices
Star Tribune: Volunteering opportunities that help birds featuring MEP member groupsAudubon Society, Sierra Club Northstar Chapter and Friends of the Mississippi River

Editorial, Ely Echo: DNR wrong putting moose over deer

News Watch: Mar. 7

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Today’s Topics: Climate Change, Energy, Invasive Species, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, PolyMet EIS Determination, Transportation, Water

Climate Change
MPR: Climate Cast: Is 2016 likely to be the hottest year on record?

Energy
Midwest Energy News: Minnesota Republicans still want to stop Clean Power Plan work
Utility Drive: As Xcel pushes non-wire alternatives, solar+storage pilot sparks utility ownership debate

Commentary, Mankato Free Press: Consumers deserve help figuring out solar offerings
Commentary, Midwest Energy News: Commentary: Clean energy offers growth opportunities in Minnesota
Commentary, Star Tribune: How conservative policy can harness clean energy
Editorial, LA Times: How do we ditch dirty coal power without sending miners to the unemployment line?

Invasive Species
Star Tribune: Minnesota researchers draw battle line in Mississippi to stop Asian carp

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Land exchange for PolyMet mine site undecided
MinnPost: Wild-rice ecologist urges Minnesotans to go outside
Star Tribune: PolyMet mine has green light, bad timing

Oil & Pipelines
Star Tribune: Northern Oil hanging on as low prices punish the Bakken

PolyMet EIS Determination
AM950: Daily Rundown with Aaron Klemz of MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
AP: DNR approves final environmental review for contentious PolyMet mine (In Pioneer Press)featuring MEP member groups WaterLegacy and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
Bring Me The News: State approves environmental review of $650M PolyMet mine
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota DNR rules PolyMet environmental review is ‘adequate’featuring MEP and member group Sierra Club Northstar Chapter
KARE 11: DNR approves final environmental review for PolyMet mine featuring MEP and member group Sierra Club Northstar Chapter
KQDS: DNR deems Polymet mine adequate
KSTP: DNR Approves PolyMet Mine Environmental Review, Mine Moves Forward
KTTC: PolyMet hails mine review milestone; critics warn of risks featuring MEP and member group Sierra Club Northstar Chapter
Market Wired: PolyMet Final EIS Validated by State of Minnesota Clears Path for Permit Applications Required for Construction
Mesabi Daily News: POLYMET: ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW COMPLETE featuring MEP member groups Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and WaterLegacy
Minnesota News Network: Environmentalists concerned about DNR decision on PolyMetfeaturing MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
MinnPost: DNR deems PolyMet plans ‘adequate’ — but the big question remains unanswered
MPR: PolyMet gets Minnesota’s OK to proceed on massive copper mine featuring MEP and member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal: Minnesota approves Polymet mine environmental study; here’s what’s next
Northland NewsCenter: DNR greenlights PolyMet
Star Tribune: State signs off on PolyMet environmental review featuring MEP
Timberjay: DNR: PolyMet environmental review is “adequate”
Uptake: Video Replay – Gov Dayton “Undecided” On Polymet
WCCO: DNR: Polymet Environmental Impact Statement Meets State Standards featuring MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
WDIO: DNR Says PolyMet Environmental Review is Adequate

Blog, Minnesota Brown: State approves PolyMet environmental review

Transportation
Pioneer Press: Transportation deal in Minnesota Legislature so close, yet so far
Politics in MN: Big beefs with bike lanes on St. Paul’s Cleveland Ave.
Politics in MN: Twin Cities-Rochester rail line proposal nears a decision
Politics in MN: Minnesota transportation boosters polish strategy
SC Times: Northstar supporters plan trip to state Capitol
Star Tribune: Crosswalks as speed bumps? That’s one idea for making Hiawatha-Lake intersection more pedestrian friendly
Star Tribune: Bottineau Blue Line LRT clears important hurdle

LTE, Duluth News Tribune: Reader’s View: Express train unlikely to live up to its billing

Water
Advocate Tribune: Common ground – Local farmers, environmentalists turnout for Gov.’s Water Summit featuring MEP member groups Land Stewardship Project and CURE
AP: Groups ask presidential candidates to support Great Lakes (In Politics in MN)
Duluth News Tribune: Wisconsin city’s water request gets chilly reception in Duluth
NPR: Families seek class-action status in federal lawsuit over Flint’s water (In MPR)
WPR: Minnesotans Overwhelmingly Speak Out Against Waukesha Diversion Plan

Editorial, Mankato Free Press: OUR VIEW: Water quality: Clarity need on pollution solutions

Real Analysis of PolyMet Sulfide Mine Project Starts Today – Speak Up to Oppose Permits

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What did you expect? This week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) said their own PolyMet Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was “adequate.” If asked to grade their own papers, how many middle schoolers would say they should get an “F”?

In his discussion with the press right after the MDNR’s announcement, Governor Mark Dayton explained that the scope of an “adequacy” decision under law is limited to three questions: did the EIS discuss the designated topics, did the EIS respond to citizen comments, and was proper procedure used?

The Governor explained that detailed scrutiny of PolyMet’s environmental impacts and the question of whether Minnesotans can be protected from financial risks of pollution liability would begin now as part of the state’s permitting decisions. The Governor underscored that his commissioners report to him and that he did not intend to evade responsibility for decisions on the PolyMet project.

It’s important to let Governor Dayton know that you are holding him accountable and that you don’t want the State of Minnesota to issue PolyMet any permit that would allow toxic pollution or impose liability costs on taxpayers.

Please call Governor Dayton today (651-201-3400) with a simple message: “Please don’t allow permits for the PolyMet sulfide mine.”

PolyMet may call this non-event a “milestone.” Reality check here: PolyMet hasn’t received a single permit from either the state or the federal government. PolyMet’s mine plan does not comply with the Clean Water Act, and PolyMet’s Final EIS does not satisfy legal requirements. PolyMet’s sulfide mine plan would increase toxic pollutants, increase mercury contamination of fish, harm human health and violate laws protecting wetlands and tribal resources in Minnesota. Neither PolyMet nor the agencies have evaluated less damaging alternatives (like dry-stack tailings), an assessment that is required by law. The PolyMet project has an insufficient plan for financial assurance and would require perpetual treatment of polluted wastewater.

Gaps in the PolyMet Final EIS and PolyMet’s failure to meet legal requirements are just beginning to be exposed as state and federal agencies begin to evaluate potential permits. The more carefully experts and regulators examine the PolyMet record, the less likely it will be this open-pit copper-nickel mine project will be permitted.

The PolyMet project is nowhere near the finish line. It is just reaching the starting gate. There will be many stumbling blocks ahead.

Please call Governor Dayton today (651-201-3400) and ask him not to allow permits for the PolyMet sulfide mine. Then, stay with us in this important struggle to protect Minnesota fish, wild rice, wetlands, human health, tribal resources and the legacy of clean water for future generations. Now, more than ever, we need to work together to protect Minnesota fish, wild rice, wetlands, human health, tribal resources and the legacy of clean water for future generations.

Paula Goodman Maccabee
WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Counsel

PolyMet Mine will be disastrous for Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region

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Animas River Mine Spill, August, 2015 - Colorado (Source: EPA)

On February 27, 2016, Governor Dayton hosted a Water Summit, at which he urged us to establish an ethic of clean water practices. “This should be our ethic and every Minnesotan’s responsibility, and anything less is unacceptable.”  Five days later, on March 3, DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, who was appointed to that position by Governor Dayton, declared the PolyMet Environmental  Impact Statement, for Minnesota’s first ever sulfide mine,  as adequate.

If the goal for the state of Minnesota is to protect our water resources, then the statement by Commissioner Landwehr is neither ethical nor adequate.

The DNR has minimized the fact that water from PolyMet’s proposed mine site would need to be treated for at least 300 years post closure, and the plant site for at least 500 years.  It is irresponsible on the part of the DNR to place this kind of burden upon the next 25 generations.

The DNR has failed to consider the value of water as a natural resource, and is instead giving a foreign mining company/conglomerate free access to an unknown quantity of water, and allowing them to pollute both surface and ground water over the course of mine operations.

The DNR has failed to address the total impact of PolyMet’s mine operations on wildlife, wildlife corridors, and loss of wetlands and forest cover in any meaningful way.

The DNR is choosing to ignore the health impacts of sulfates, mercury, arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals in our environment.  Already 10 percent of babies born on the North Shore have high levels of mercury in their blood.  Already there are fish advisories on most northern Minnesota lakes, advising people to eat fewer fish due to mercury contamination.   Mining pollution impacts all of the aquatic organisms in the watershed, and all life that depends on those organisms for food, including fish, birds and wildlife that feed on fish, and ultimately, the human population. Also of concern is the loss of wild rice as a food source.  Cumulative impacts upon our health and our environment have not been addressed, while everyone living downstream will be affected.

Large-scale catastrophic mining disasters have been increasing.  These include major tailings basin failures at the Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia and the Samarco Mine in Brazil.  The DNR should declare the PolyMet EIS as inadequate for this reason alone–the danger of layering thousands of tons of sulfide-bearing waste on an already unstable, leaching tailings basin.  Financial assurance for mine clean-up upon closure, which is not addressed in the EIS, would never be enough to cover a major mine disaster, potentially adding up to billions of dollars. Instead the DNR is willing to transfer long-term financial risk to the tax-payers of this state and the citizens of the future.

After 10 years of environmental review, water modeling for the proposed PolyMet mine is still  questionable.  Instead of addressing public and Tribal concerns regarding significant environmental impact inconsistencies, the DNR has chosen to declare the EIS adequate.  In the 3,500 plus pages of the EIS document, the real problems of sulfide mining lie buried within a conceptual framework of wishful thinking (no problems will occur),  promises (all pollution will be cleaned up/treated), adaptive management (any unforeseen problem will be immediately reported and be able to be fixed), along with  computer-generated charts and graphs, much of which are based on faulty modeling.  Despite the massive amount of paperwork, the DNR still doesn’t know whether contaminated ground water would eventually flow into the Lake Superior or Rainy River (Boundary Waters) basins –ultimately polluting both internationally important watersheds.

PolyMet is being used as the “snowplow.”   PolyMet openly speaks of excess processing capacity at their plant, and preliminary Twin Metal’s plans show waste and processing being directed into the Lake Superior watershed.  On March 2, the state Executive Committee approved more exploratory sulfide mineral leases in additional parts of the Arrowhead Region. Once one sulfide mine is permitted in the Arrowhead’s water rich environment, what is now Superior National Forest will be turned into a toxic industrial mining zone, forever changing the face of the landscape and polluting the water  for future generations.Metallic Minneral Leasing map Cr- MN DNR

Our state has already allocated $750,000 of taxpayer money to hire the Crowell and Moring mining company law firm out of Washington, D.C. to defend the deficient EIS mine plan from law suits.  Crowell and Moring has  previously represented a foreign mining company against California and U. S. law in a NAFTA case (Glamis Gold Ltd v. United States of America, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/125798.pdf).  It appears Minnesota’s government is so desperate to promote mining that it would be willing to allow international deals to supersede state and federal authority and laws.

Governor Dayton needs to rein in his DNR and stay true to his ethical mission, as stated in his Governor’s Water Summit, which will be followed up by a Water Action Week in April.  The real issue at stake is not jobs, or metals, or the vagaries of the international market.  The real issue is the health of our citizens, and the water and healthy environment upon which we depend.  The real issue is not just about us–it’s about the legacy that we wish to leave behind for the generations who will follow.

Ultimately, it is much easier to stick to our inner truth than to play political games with our future.  All life depends upon water.  Water is a human right.

MN Environmental Partnership Statement on DNR PolyMet Determination

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Saint Paul, Minn., March 3, 2016 — Earlier today, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released its Determination of Adequacy on the PolyMet sulfide mining project in northern Minnesota. In November PolyMet submitted its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), followed by a 30 public comment period. While the results of that public comment period have not yet been tallied, during the previous round of public comment, the DNR received 58,000 comments, of which an overwhelming 90% objected to the PolyMet project because of its high current and future risk to Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and streams.  Today’s release of the DNR’s Determination of Adequacy states that the DNR has determined the project can move forward to the permitting stage.

Below is a statement from Minnesota Environmental Partnership executive director Steve Morse on the DNR’s determination today.

“We are extremely disappointed in the DNR’s determination that the PolyMet project is ready to move to the next stage.”said Morse. “The project PolyMet proposal doesn’t protect our lakes, rivers, and streams. Minnesotans don’t accept polluting our Boundary Waters, Lake Superior, and other treasured waters. Minnesotans don’t believe that the international mining companies that own PolyMet will effectively keep their mining pollution from leaking into the St. Louis River, the largest tributary to Lake Superior, for the next 500-plus years that will be required.

“No operation of this type has operated and closed without polluting nearby lakes, rivers, and streams. Furthermore, predictions in the final environmental impact statement are flawed, and based on bad data and incorrect assumptions, without real-world experience. Those inaccuracies are putting all Minnesotans at risk and threaten the environment and public health. This is a bargain-basement mining plan that relies on outdated technology and a flawed tailings basin..

“Sulfide mining in a water-rich environment like Minnesota is not worth the high-risk gamble.”

###

Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a statewide coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy and protection of our Great Outdoors. The Minnesota Environmental Partnership engages state leaders, unites environmental efforts and helps citizens take action for the Minnesota they love.

www.mepartnership.org
www.facebook.com/MinnesotaEnvironmentalPartnership
www.twitter.com/MEPartnership

News Watch: Mar. 3

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change; Energy; Mining; Oil & Pipelines; Transportation; Water

Agriculture & Food
Mankato Free Press: Greenhouse Gusties getting ready for growing
MPR: Farmers feel thrown under the bus as Big Food changes
Star Tribune: Bill outlawing state GMO labeling law passes Senate committee

Commentary, Star Tribune: Counterpoint: Shame on you, Amy, for betraying us on GMO labels

Climate Change
MPR: Minnesota presses clean power plan as Supreme Court tells feds to wait
MPR: GOP, DFL activists to caucus on climate change
Public News Service: Group Aims to Add MN Rural Voices to Climate Policies

Energy
Faribault Daily News: Community solar gardens planned for Northfield; Faribault, Nerstrand next?
Greentech Media: Warren Buffett: Solar and Wind Could ‘Erode the Economics of the Incumbent Utility’
La Cross Tribune: Tri-County Electric nears merger with Iowa partner; co-op members to vote in March
MPR: Report: Renewable energy fuels 21 percent of Minnesota’s electricity
MPR: Solar gardens: Minnesota attorney general pursues complaints
Star Tribune: Five energy firms score contracts for Twin Cities government solar garden projects

Commentary, Duluth News Tribune: Local View: Harnessing energy from wastewater: WLSSD project would benefit region

Mining
AP: Dayton: PolyMet environmental announcement to come Thursday (In MPR)
Pioneer Press: PolyMet mine decision coming today
Duluth News Tribune: Metal exploration leases approved by Minnesota Executive Council featuring MEP member group WaterLegacy
Duluth News Tribune: PolyMet investor Glencore lost nearly $5 billion in 2015
Star Tribune: State’s long-awaited decision on PolyMet mine review coming this afternoon
Timberjay: Cooperative effort could make ilmenite mine a Range reality

Oil & Pipelines
Pilot Independent: Enbridge predicts 2019 as new in-service dates for Sandpiper and Line 3 featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Transportation
MPR: Car2Go area shrinks across Twin Cities
MPR: Minneapolis-Rochester high speed rail decision expected by July
MPR: MPR: Settlement reached on light rail noise
Pioneer Press: Light rail down St. Paul’s West Seventh? It’s viable, plan says
Politics in MN: Business groups differ on transportation funding
Star Tribune: Car2Go proposes smaller Minneapolis service area
Star Tribune: Met Council to pay MPR $3.5M to settle LRT vibrations issue
Star Tribune: Mpls. streets deteriorating faster than they’re repaired, officials warn
Star Tribune: What’s new and cool in the cycling world? Look to Bloomington

Commentary, SC Times: How many Northstar rail riders skip the bus?
Editorial, Pioneer Press: Editorial: Surprise. Project costs rise

Water
KUMD: Green Visions: Water of the Great Lakes: Now’s The Test featuring MEP

Commentary, Duluth News Tribune: Local view: Tell Gov. Dayton to protect Lake Superior, deny water diversion for Waukesha by Andrew Slade of MEP

News Watch: Feb. 29

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Today’s Topics: Climate Change; Energy; Oil & Pipelines; Pollinators; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wildlife & Fish

Climate Change
Commentary, Duluth News Tribune: Local View: Carbon-fee-and-dividend plan the best way to solve our climate issues

Energy
Duluth News Tribune: Proposed Great Northern power line clears another hurdle
Midwest Energy News: Q&A: Minnesota conservatives want to take ‘culture war’ out of energy
Post Bulletin: Solar boom is boon for Minnesota landowners
Star Tribune: Major northern Minnesota power line wins approval from state regulators
Vox: Rural electric co-ops, traditionally bastions of coal, are getting into solar featuring MEP member group Institute for Local Self Reliance

Editorial, Duluth News Tribune: Our View: Timing perfect to convert steam plant
LTE, Duluth News Tribune: Reader’s View: Steam plant plan will reduce emissions, costs, consumption

Oil & Pipelines
AP: Oil pipeline protesters interrupt Dayton’s water summit (In MPR)
AP: Pipeline protesters interrupt Mark Dayton’s Water Summit (In Pioneer Press)
Bemidji Pioneer: Anti-pipeline protesters interrupt Dayton’s speech at water summit
Dickinson Press: Whiting Petroleum posts nearly $100 million quarterly loss
Globe and Mail: Enbridge sets long-term plan to move away from oil sands
Inside Climate News: With Some Tar Sands Oil Selling at a Loss, Why Is Production Still Rising?

Commentary, Duluth News Tribune: Regional View: Falling oil prices a game changer for Midwestern pipelines by Howard A. Learner of MEP member group Environmental Law & Policy Center

Pollinators
Newser: Bees, Butterflies May Go Way of the Dinosaur
NPR: Report: More pollinators species in jeopardy, threatening world food supply (In MPR)

Transportation
Bloomberg View: What’s so bad about rolling through a red light? (In Star Tribune)
Duluth News Tribune: Plans emerging for Northern Lights Express
Echo Press: Transportation funding undecided
MinnPost: Little bus on the prairie: Rural transit, faced with demographic change, adapts and evolves
Pioneer Press: Jackson Street costs nearly double; ‘8-80 city’ proving pricey
SC Times: Coalition calls for broad transportation funding

Commentary, SC Times: Extending rail line will pay in future

Waste & Recycling
Pioneer Press: St Paul asks: How much are you paying for trash collection?

Water
AP: Fresh off water summit, Dayton now plans Water Action Week (In MPR)
AP: Report warns of contaminated central Minnesota groundwater
Bemidji Pioneer: Dayton’s clean water summit draws 800
Duluth News Tribune: Plan to pipe Great Lakes water draws fire featuring MEP
MinnPost: Deborah Swackhamer on the use and misuse of water in Minnesota
Pioneer Press: Their water systems crumbling, Minnesota cities seek state help
Pioneer Press: In millions of spending, Mark Dayton wants more than water projects
Public News Service: Farmers Hopeful for Changes During Water Summit featuring MEP member group Land Stewardship Project
Republican Eagle: Feds to consider Lake Pepin habitat project
SC Times: DNR to outline plans for Mississippi River drawdown
Star Tribune: Gov. Dayton rallies support for clean water at summit after facing a protestfeaturing MEP member group Friends of the Mississippi River
Star Tribune: Report finds widespread water contamination in Minnesota
Star Tribune: Gov. Mark Dayton struggles to reconcile desire for clean water and a strong farm economy featuring MEP and member group Friends of the Mississippi River
Star Tribune: Gov. Mark Dayton convenes water summit in St. Paul
West Central Tribune: Watersheds offer programs to improve water quality

Wildlife & Fish
Timberjay: DNR seeks to fine-tune the moose-deer divide

News Watch: Feb. 25

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food; Climate Change; Energy; Invasive Species; Mining; MPCA Board; Oil & Pipelines; Parks & Trails; Transportation; Waste & Recycling; Water; Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Duluth News Tribune: Duluth City Council talks animals
MPR: Jonathan Foley: How to feed the world’s people without destroying the planet

Climate Change
NPR: Sea levels rose faster last century than in previous 2,700 years, study finds (In MPR)
Pioneer Press: St. Paul to bar itself from investing in fossil-fuel companies featuring MEP member group MN350
Winona Daily News: ‘Not about Winona, about the world’: WSHS students learn about climate change

Editorial, Duluth News Tribune: Our view/ Clean Power Plan: Weigh in: Can Minnesota do more?

Energy
AP: Amid coal market struggles, less fuel worth mining in US (In Star Tribune)
Electric Coop Today: Great River Energy Developing Utility-Grade Solar
Energy Manager Today: Minnesota Power Loses Round One in Rate Case featuring MEP member groups Sierra Club North Star Chapter and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Midwest Energy News: Report suggests Minnesota aim beyond Clean Power Plan target
Pope County Tribune: Another solar garden approved

Commentary, MinnPost: Let’s keep moving Minnesota’s clean-energy vision forward by Will Steger and Kendra Roedl of MEP member group Climate Generation
Editorial, New York Times: Bill Gates’s Clean-Energy Moon Shot

Invasive Species
AP: DNR announces 1st capture of bighead carp in Minnesota River
MPR: Invasive bighead carp discovered in Minnesota River
Star Tribune: Bighead carp found in Minnesota River near New Ulm

Mining
Pioneer Press: Titanium in the Iron Range? Mining pilot project approved

LTE, Duluth News Tribune: Reader’s view: People shouldn’t ignore the consequences of mining

MPCA Board
MPR: Dayton names 8 to new MPCA advisory committee
Star Tribune: Dayton appoints 8 to new board at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Oil & Pipelines
AP: N.D. hits pipeline firm with more oversight charges (In Politics in MN)
Brainerd Dispatch: Another environmental group wants in on Sandpiper case featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
NPR: Is the BP oil spill settlement money being well-spent? (In MPR)
Public News Service: MN Tribal Opposition Continues over Oil Pipeline Expansion featuring MEP member group MN350

Parks & Trails
Star Tribune: Land commissioners for Graco condemnation award tour site, plant

Transportation
Duluth News Tribune: Northern Lights Express discussion scheduled today
MN Daily: U Regents face transit ‘crossroads’
Star Tribune: 8-year-old Hopkins boy wants to donate his cancer money to Southwest light rail line
Star Tribune: Digital billboards arrive at light-rail stations

Editorial, Duluth News Tribune: Our View: Train to Duluth: ‘When, not if’

Waste & Recycling
MN Daily: Minneapolis switches recycling provider featuring MEP member group Eureka Recycling
Star Tribune: St. Paul to study organized trash collection, alley plowing

Water
AP: Minnesota agency wants ban on labeling wipes ‘flushable’ (In MPR)
AP: Dayton wants water summit to focus on solutions (In Austin Daily Herald)
Austin Daily Herald: A big state session ahead for CRWD
MinnPost: With all those lakes and aquifers, could Minnesota run short of water? Um, yes.
Star Tribune: MPCA to seek label restrictions on flushable wipes
West Central Tribune: Southwest Minnesota: Land of impaired waters

Wildlife & Fish
AP: Deer hunting boundary proposal seeks to protect moose (In Politics in MN)
AP: Experts: Mild winter has allowed eagles to migrate farther
MPR: DNR seeks changes to NE Minnesota deer hunting to aid moose
Star Tribune: To protect Minnesota moose, DNR may tweak deer hunting boundaries

Dear Governor Dayton: Protect the Great Lakes

Posted by

MEP’s Northeast Coordinator, Andrew Slade, writes the following fictitious letter to Governor Dayton explaining why he should reject Waukesha’s bid to withdraw water from Lake Michigan. 

Under the Great Lakes Compact, all diversions of Great Lakes water are banned.  An exemption to this ban may be requested only if the community has shown a need for water, and it lacks a viable, safe and sustainable water supply. 


Dear Governor Dayton,

Greetings from Duluth and the snowy shores of Lake Superior. I want to tell you what a treat it is to live and work here by this greatest of the Great Lakes. They say the human body is three-quarters water. After living here for nearly 30 years and drinking a lot of tap water from Lake Superior, I’m probably half Lake Superior myself.

I want to let you know that I hope you will vote against the proposed diversion of water from Lake Michigan to Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Here’s why I think you should vote against that diversion:

First, they don’t need the water. If they would only treat their water for radium like 40 other cities in southeast Wisconsin, their water problems would be solved. The Compact is important and it’s working. If you look at the details of Waukesha’s application, it’s clear that it doesn’t meet the Compact’s requirements for an exemption.

Second, the Compact got its start here on Lake Superior. Back in 1998, the Nova Group actually got a permit from Ontario to load Lake Superior water into tankers and take it to China. There was a gap in our water protection rules, and no way to stop that kind of water withdrawal. So the states and provinces worked together to fix that gap and to protect our shared resources. If there’s ever going to be a major diversion request from the arid lands west of here, they’re going to come for the nearest and cleanest water: Lake Superior again.

Third, we Duluthians have a great track record of taking care of Lake Superior. We’ve built sewage overflow tanks, fixed muddy streams and even banned mercury thermometers. We love the lake, and our whole city shares the views, the free summer air conditioning and the drinking water.

I look out of my office windows and see ten percent of the world’s surface fresh water. I’m proud of all we’ve done to protect it. I hope you will take a hard look at the Waukesha diversion proposal and return it back to the sender. If there’s ever going to be an exemption under the Compact, we have to do it right. The Waukesha proposal isn’t right. Governor Pawlenty was the first governor to sign the Great Lakes Compact. I’m hoping you will be among the first governors to uphold and defend it.

Sincerely
Andrew Slade