Insider: June 16, 2017

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Minnesota water quality meetings to begin as lakes and rivers under threat

In Feburary 2017, Governor Mark Dayton announced Minnesota’s 25 by 25 Water Quality Goal, a project that aims to produce a 25% improvement in the state’s waters by 2025. Organized by a group of state agencies, this initiative will solicit feedback from Minnesotans at Town Halls and community meetings throughout the summer and fall. Starting in July, the Governor will host a total of ten town hall meetings throughout Minnesota, while citizens and groups are invited to hold their own meetings to develop ideas and concerns to share with the administration. 

Though it is unclear what the conclusions of 25 by 25 will look like, this goal comes at a critical time. The Legislature passed bills that delay and weaken clean water protections and cut funding for quality improvement programs. The state Health Department has estimated that over 8,000 private wells in Minnesota are contaminated with nitrates, mostly from agricultural runoff. The Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline project, which would deliver tar sands oil across Minnesota waters, is moving forward, though fortunately undergoing an environmental review process. And contentious debates over mining projects that would threaten the Boundary Waters with sulfide pollution are heating up.

The Legislature may have finished its work on environmental bills for this year, but that doesn’t mean our work for our great outdoors is over. There are lots of ways to get involved and speak out for our water and the rights of all of us who rely on it. Read on to learn how you can raise your voice! The only way that Minnesota’s resources can be protected and cleaned up is with the work of action takers like you!

Events and Advocacy News                                              

Photo credit: There Is Only Us FB page
Raise your voice for clean, sulfide-free water

There Is Only Us, a recently-formed group of Minnesota musicians dedicated to protecting our great outdoors, will hold a sing-in with several musical acts at the State Capitol this Saturday to oppose the new PolyMet copper mine proposal that threatens the Boundary Waters and the Lake Superior watershed. The group has released the music video for their song “There Is Only Us” to protest the danger that this pollution would pose to all Minnesotans, and to remind us that all water, land and life is connected.

If you want to stand up for Minnesota’s precious waters, come to this free event in the Capitol Rotunda at 10:30 on Saturday, June 17!

MEP releases summary of disappointing session

This week, MEP released our 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up report for the Minnesota Legislature’s session. This session was full of rollbacks and raids on our state’s environmental protection and restoration efforts. Clean energy, transit, and water were especially hard-hit, though fortunately the Legislature passed a bonding bill that would help fund water infrastructure and cleanup efforts on the St. Louis River. The full report, available here, details what Minnesota lost, what we gained, what we prevented, and some things we need to work for to protect our great outdoors.



Proposed Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Public Meetings

Enbridge Energy, a Canadian Energy Company, is proposing to construct a new oil pipeline in Minnesota to replace its existing Line 3 pipeline. The proposed new pipeline would transport 760,000 barrels of carbon-heavy, highly toxic tar sands oil per day across some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable waters. The proposal disproportionately impacts tribal communities and their treaty rights.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is holding 22 meetings across the state on the first-ever Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a crude oil pipeline.  We hope you will come share your views. Click here for more information on how to get involved!

Federal judge orders environmental review of Dakota Access pipeline

(From Washington Post) — A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to conduct further environmental reviews of the Dakota Access pipeline but stopped short of halting oil-pumping operations pending further hearings beginning June 21. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg handed a limited victory to Native American tribes in North Dakota that had challenged the administration’s effort to speed the project, and his dense, 91-page opinion directed both sides to appear before him next Wednesday to decide next legal steps. >>Read More.


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Buzz from the Minnesota capitol

(From PAN Midwest Organizer Lex Horan) — As the dust settles on Minnesota’s 2017 legislative session, the push for new pollinator protective policies has mostly wrapped up for the year. The outcome? In a year when many, many issues we care about saw major rollbacks, we managed to win a few small victories for pollinators — and hold back the worst proposals that would’ve gutted our state’s pesticide laws. But legislative leaders were remarkably unwilling to look for solutions to the pesticide and pollinator problem, and there is much work still to do. >>Read Full Blog Post Here.


Settlement with Northern Metal Recycling offers no reparations for Northside community

(From Twin Cities Daily Planet) — “We are still out here dying. My son still has asthma. That thing is still in our backyard,” said Felicia Perry, a fashion designer, activist, mother and North Minneapolis resident. It’s a sentiment that could have been said by any other resident on the Northside. Perry, along with her colleague and fellow activist Roxxanne O’Brien, live in the Northside’s 55411 and 55412 zip codes, an area with a population of over 70,000 people – of whom more than 70 percent are people of color. The community is home to more than a dozen schools, parks and a growing business corridor, as well as the unwelcome industrial polluter Northern Metal Recycling, situated just off of Broadway Avenue on the west side of Interstate 94.The company has a near decade-long track record of permit violations, illegal emissions and confirmed high rates of lead and other heavy metal pollution. >>Read More.


Grant brings major growth for Mankato bus system

(From Mankato Free Press) — Regular bus service from Eagle Lake to Mankato, more frequent buses and more convenient routes within Mankato, and a new transit service for west Mankato, north-side neighborhoods and northern North Mankato. Those are the improvements planned for the next six to 18 months after the Mankato City Council accepted a major state grant that will cover $1.7 million in new buses and other equipment and nearly $1.5 million in new operating costs. >>Read More.

Outside magazine names Twin Cities among its best towns ever

(From Star Tribune) — Outside magazine Tuesday named Minneapolis and St. Paul as one of the top 25 “Best Towns” ever, singling out the Twin Cities as the best place to bike-commute year-round.Kansas City, Mo., made the list for biking and barbecue, and Fort Collins, Colo., took honors as the best “bike-to-happy-hour town.”“Sure, the Twin Cities have affordable homes, a mellow pace of life, and a great economy [it’s home to tech, retail, and finance giants 3M, Target and U.S. Bank],” the magazine stated. “But the real reason to move here is the biking [median household income $71,000].” >>Read More.

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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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