Insider: August 18, 2017

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Sustainability at the State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is only a few days away, and many of MEP’s friends and partners are preparing to join in the festivities in Falcon Heights with exhibits on sustainability, conservation, and a lot more! Environmental groups, state agencies, and sponsors from around Minnesota will bring food, entertainment, and knowledge to fairgoers, most prominently at the Eco Experience, held in the Progress Center at the east end of the fairgrounds.

The Eco Experience, organized by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, will feature displays and interactive events from state agencies. The Kick Gas exhibit will feature interactive games and demonstrations on transit, biking, and other clean transportation. The Reduce Reuse Recycle section will feature hands-on activities on how to reduce waste and repair broken items. And MEP associates, including Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, will be on hand to help visitors learn about solar energy and sustainable power.

For those who especially enjoy the State Fair’s culinary delights, there are many sustainable offerings – and learning opportunities! MEP member group Renewing the Countryside and partners will be holding a Healthy Local Food Exhibit at the Eco Experience, with demonstrations of organic food and booths about clean agriculture. And our friends at Fresh Energy will be offering a delicious new ice cream – Solar Honey Swirl – made with honey from bees living on solar array installations. Their exhibit can be found at the Horticulture building from August 24 through September 4.

The State Fair is a time-honored Minnesota tradition, and it’s a great moment to think about how we can choose sustainable food and energy for our future. If you have more tips on green events at the State Fair, or a great experience to share, connect with us on Twitter at @MEPartnership. On behalf of our coalition, we hope to see you there!

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Twin Cities teens paddle against pipelines

(From Bemidji Pioneer) — A group of Twin Cities teens who took to the water six days ago to protest a proposed oil pipeline stopped in Bemidji to spread their message Thursday evening. The six youths, who are between 14 and 18 years old, are paddling canoes 250 miles across northern Minnesota in an effort to raise awareness of their objections to the potential replacement of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3. “I really think it’s important that we have youth, and specifically indigenous youth, to lead this,” said 16-year-old Nolan Berglund of Minneapolis. “I’d like to stress that it is indigenous youth that are leading a lot of this because this is the land that our ancestors are on.” >>Read More.

Report: Enbridge Line 3 options all would have negative effects on American Indians

(From Star Tribune) — The final environmental impact statement for Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project says it is not possible to determine whether the Canadian company’s proposed route would be the best option for American Indians in northern Minnesota. That’s because Enbridge’s route and four alternative paths would all have disproportionately negative effects on the bands, according to the report compiled by the state Department of Commerce. The report, released Thursday, also repeats some environmental concerns raised in a draft EIS released in the spring. >>Read More.


photo credit: MPCA

TAKE ACTION: Protect Minnesota’s Drinking Water 

75% of Minnesotans get their drinking water from underground. That’s why the 1989 Groundwater Protection Act was passed to help prevent pollution of Minnesota’s groundwater and drinking water. Sadly, in the 28 years since the Act was passed, agricultural nitrate pollution in our groundwater has only become more severe.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is currently accepting public comments on its new draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule. Unfortunately, the proposed rule falls far short of protecting our water. Click Here to learn about the rule and contact Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture – ask them to protect our drinking water and groundwater resources!

Dayton’s water quality meeting draws 200

(From Mankato Free Press) — Both the complexity of Minnesota’s water problems and the strong public interest in solving them were in evidence at a community water meeting hosted by Gov. Mark Dayton in Mankato Wednesday night. The event was the second of 10 “Water Town Hall” meetings Dayton and key commissioners are holding in all corners of the state this summer to build support and consensus for the governor’s plan to reduce water pollution by 25 percent by 2025. “This is such a crucial issue,” the governor told a crowd of 200 local government officials, farmers and environmentalists at Minnesota State University. “I know it’s just something Minnesota has to face up to, and most other states do.” >>Read More.



Comment period closes on mining moratorium

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Thursday marked the last day of an extended public comment period for people to weigh in on a U.S. Forest Service’s proposal to halt mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for at least two years, and conduct an environmental review of potential copper-mining impacts. The proposal has drawn both strong support and vigorous opposition for months, including at public hearings held in Duluth, St. Paul and Virginia. Backers of the moratorium gathered again in Duluth on Thursday to reiterate their support for the plan. >>Read More.


A brighter solution: Leech Lake unveils new solar panel arrays to benefit low income communities

(From Bemidji Pioneer) — The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe celebrated a big step forward Monday in its push for sustainability. At a ceremony, fittingly under sunny skies, Leech Lake officials and representatives from the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance unveiled a new solar array at the Prescott Community Center. The walls of solar panels at the community center are one of five spread throughout the reservation, with others at the Palace Casino, Leech Lake Tribal College, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance office in Pine River and a fifth in Jackson Village. >>Read More.


Southwest light rail project passes two more milestones – and gets a giant wall

(From Minnpost) — The Metro Transit staff that has been holding the Southwest Light Rail Transit project together through years of problems passed two major milestones this week. One was the opening of bids for the largest of the project’s construction contracts, which came after bidders requested a delay. The other was the finalization of agreements with two railroads to allow the use of their rail corridors for light rail tracks and stations. At a special meeting Wednesday, a unanimous Metropolitan Council approved the rail agreements and congratulated the staff for the work. Project staff will now move ahead on getting final approvals from the Federal Transit Administration and make formal application for a 50 percent federal match on the project — an amount that now stands at $928.8 million. >>Read More.


photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Microplastics could pose big treatment challenges

(From MPR News) — A growing body of research has been documenting an emerging threat to Minnesota waters — tiny plastic particles found in everything from shampoo to fleece jackets. But even as we learn more about how prevalent these pollutants are, there’s still much we don’t know about their dangers or how to respond. So-called microplastics are tiny — less than 5 millimeters across. They can come from litter or plastic bags that break down over time. In some cases, they start out small, as microbeads added to products like facial soap and toothpaste. One of the biggest sources are plastic fibers from fleece jackets, athletic clothing, carpet and other synthetic fabric. >>Read More.

Upcoming Environmental Events

Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Membership and Individual Giving Associate | Land Stewardship Project – Apply by September 1

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

Executive Director, Southwest | Regional Sustainable Development Partnership University of Minnesota Extension – Apply by August 21

Land Protection Specialist MN, ND, SD | The Nature Conservancy – Apply by August 24

Healthy Local Food Exhibit Staff | Renewing the Countryside

Forestry Policy Research Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness – Apply by August 18

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings


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The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

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