By Lori Andresen
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency rated the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for PolyMet, a proposed toxic sulfide mine located between Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, as environmentally unsatisfactory and inadequate. PolyMet’s defective mine plan delayed the environmental review process. According to the draft EIS, the proposed strip mine would violate the Endangered Species Act by destroying critical habitat for lynx and wolves, fail to meet water quality standards, violate wetlands laws, and violate protections for Superior National Forest, as the DEIS stated that the mineral rights leased by PolyMet do not allow open pit mining on National Forest land. PolyMet was required to do additional groundwater and other testing and to prepare a supplemental EIS addressing these inadequacies, which is expected out this summer.
By Justin Fay
The 2013 Legislative Session is now more than halfway finished, and plenty has been happening on issues affecting the environment.
Energy has been a particularly busy area so far. The House and Senate are considering omnibus energy policy bills that would have Minnesota take several critical steps forward. The House version (HF956 – Hortman) has now passed its first two committees. The House bill includes a 4% by 2025 solar standard and a 40% by 2030 expansion of the existing renewable energy standard, both for investor-owned utilities only. Last week, the Senate version of the bill (SF901 – Marty) passed out of its first committee. The Senate bill also includes a 4% by 2025 solar standard for investor-owned utilities, along with a 2% by 2025 solar standard for rural co-ops and municipal utilities; the Senate bill does not include an expansion of the overall renewable energy standard.
By Christine Carroll
As a college student, I am interested in universities who are taking the opportunity to use solar energy.
There are some universities in my home state of Minnesota who are currently using solar such as the College of St. Benedict’s and Saint John’s University, which has adopted a commitment to achieving carbon neutrality, and is hoping that this large scale project will pave the way to clean energy; and the University of Minnesota Morris Campus, which has a really neat Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE).
Solar Farm at Saint John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota
On Friday morning, climate action activists greeted Minnesota leaders at the Minnesota Environmental Congress to thank Governor Dayton for his strong words on climate during his state of the state address and to encourage swift action on the imminent threat of climate disruption.
The Minnesota Environmental Congress is a working session of recognized experts and community leaders to set priorities for the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board based on citizen input from public forums this Fall. The Environmental Quality Board includes the heads of 9 state agencies that play a vital role in Minnesota’s environment and development.
By Olivia Cashman
The Sierra Club North Star Chapter participated in the “Getting Real About Climate Change” forum by the League of Women Voters and Healthy Legacy on Thursday, March 14th at Mayflower Church in Minneapolis. The evening began at 5:30 with guests visiting exhibit tables of supporting environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, Mn350, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, Clean Water Action, and Kids for Saving Earth. Guests could learn about each organization and found out how they are doing their part to mitigate climate change.
Local restaurants including Birchwood Café, Wise Acre, and Bryant Lake Bowl provided a delicious and sustainable dinner for the event.