Insider: January 13, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Photo Credit: MoxyJane@Spiral Bound Images, Flickr CC

Dayton’s Bonding Package Includes Water Investments

Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and streams don’t just take care of themselves. Strong capital investments in our Great Outdoors with state bonding are essential to the long-term health of our communities.  Earlier this month, Governor Dayton unveiled a $1.5 billion bonding proposal earlier this month, with significant investments in water. The package includes $167 million to help communities repair and modernize aging wastewater and drinking water systems; $30 million for targeted conservation easements with willing farmland owners to conserve soil, eliminate erosion, and protect habitat and water quality; and $25.5 million to clean up contaminated sediment and industrial waste in the St. Louis River Estuary and the Duluth harbor and bay. 

These investments are essential The Minnesota Environmental Partnership and our coalition members work to ensure that Minnesota continues to invest the traditional levels of at least 22% bonding toward environment and conservation investments, and that the state’s Legacy Constitutional Amendment funding is not used as a substitute. >>Read More

From the Loon Commons Blog 

Photo Credit:
. Strakey, 
Flickr CC

We stand together around shared priorities

By Christine Durand, Minnesota Environmental Partnership — Minnesota’s Great Outdoors is more than just the beautiful natural spaces, clean lakes, prairie lands and forests. It’s about the health and vitality of our people and communities. The coalition members of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership believe that economic prosperity and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. They go hand in hand. Our state’s growth and prosperity have been driven by our heritage of plentiful clean water. Agriculture, business, and recreation have all grown because of the fertile ground our clean water has nurtured.  Minnesotans want to protect that legacy and leave a healthy future for their children and their children’s children to reap the same rewards. >>Read More

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Brian Cantoni,
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Enbridge may face tough legal battle in Wis. to keep 60-year-old pipeline running

(From Bemidji Pioneer) —  Enbridge Inc. may be set for a bruising legal battle in Wisconsin after a Native American tribe voted against renewing land use agreements on a major crude oil pipeline, potentially shutting down a conduit that has been in operation since the 1950s, legal experts said. The vote last week has ratcheted up tension on Enbridge, which already faces questions about the safety of the line elsewhere in the U.S. Midwest. The decision also opened a new avenue of opposition to North American energy infrastructure, as it was a notable use of tribal authority to move against an existing pipeline. Activists have mostly concentrated on halting new pipeline construction across the United States and Canada, most notably the Standing Rock Sioux’s fight against the Dakota Access line in North Dakota. >>Read More

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Dark Sevier,
Flickr CC

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Department of Justice Move to Dismiss Dakota Access Lawsuit

(From Native News Online) —  On Monday, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking District Judge James Boasberg to throw out Dakota Access’s lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers. The Department of Justice, which represents the Corps, filed a similar motion. The motions do not effect the lawsuit filed by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Corps permits, which are currently held in abeyance pending the recently initiated Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) process considering route alternatives. >>Read More 


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Flickr CC

Every rooftop’s solar potential revealed on new Duluth website

(From Midwest Energy News) — Residents of a Minnesota city wondering if their rooftops of their homes and businesses have any potential for solar panels have a new web-based resource. Duluth Shines builds off an existing state solar map but adds additional data that offers residents an idea of how much solar could be installed on a roof and how much it might cost. “This effort is to let people know solar is viable in Duluth, that it works well and is already being used in their community,” according to Bret Pence, director of community program at Ecolibrium3, a local nonprofit that works on energy issues and which led the effort. “This is to help them understand solar.” >>Read More

Photo Credit:
Doug McAbee,
Flickr CC

Legislators propose bills to allow a new Xcel plant in Becker

(From the Star Tribune) — Bills have been introduced in the Legislature that would allow Xcel Energy to build a big power plant in Sherburne County, a project usually decided by Minnesota utility regulators, not written into state law. In fact, Xcel has a proposal for the plant pending before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, that was put on hold in October. That concerned area legislators, who are worried about the area’s economy if the plant isn’t built. The Minneapolis-based utility wants to build a 786-megawatt natural gas-fired plant in Becker, Minn., to partly replace the power lost when it shutters two big coal-fired plants there. >>Read More

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St. Olaf College in Northfield graduates to 100% renewable energy

(From Clean Energy Resource Teams) — St. Olaf College, located in southeast Minnesota, is taking energy matters into their own hands and making the leap toward 100% renewable energy. This great feat has taken commendable initiative in order to completely relinquish dependence on non-renewable electricity sources. According to Pete Sandberg, St. Olaf Assistant Vice President for Facilities, “The role we’re playing in bringing more renewable energy resources online is something we can all be proud of.” >>Read More


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eltpics, Flickr CC

Residents frustrated polluting Mpls. metal shredder could stay open for years

(From MPR) — An outline of a settlement that could keep Northern Metal Recycling open in north Minneapolis for more than two years — even after it was found in violation of its permit — angered some to the point of walking out of a meeting Wednesday with state and local officials. State and city health officials say the ZIP code that covers much of north Minneapolis has the highest hospitalization rates for asthma in the state and the highest rates of lead poisoning among children in the city. The vast majority of people living in the area are people of color, and the median household income for the area is less than $35,000 a year. >>Read More


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ookie M,
Flickr CC

Report on changes in transportation behavior

(From Minnesota Department of Transportation) — As Minnesota’s population, environment, and economy change so too will the state’s transportation needs. Anticipating these needs and preparing for them can help to ensure that people and goods are able to move from place to place. There are many drivers behind why people might choose to change their transportation patterns. Changing patterns of urbanization may make some modes more appealing than others. Demographic changes and economic circumstances may push people towards a more affordable mode of travel. New technologies are changing the way that people think about the trips that they take and provide options that did not exist even a decade ago. >>Read the full report

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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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