Insider: June 9, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership


Pipeline Backers Feel Public Pushback

On Tuesday, June 6, the Minnesota Department of Commerce held the first of a series of public comment meetings on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline. The current Line 3 is deteriorating and pumping significantly less oil than in past years. The new pipeline would cross the state from the northwestern corner to Duluth on its way to Superior, WI, pumping Alberta tar sands oil past some of the state’s most vulnerable waters. The tar sands oil the new Line 3 would carry produces 17% carbon emissions than conventional oil and is extremely difficult to mitigate if spilled. And the line would cross treaty lands and waters that are vital to the health and economy of Minnesota tribes.

Water and climate advocates attended the public meeting in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, with representatives from groups including Honor the Earth and MN350 speaking out against Line 3. They spoke about the pipeline’s spillage risks and the climate hazards associated with this type of fuel. As this process continues, the public debate will be contentious, and citizens’ sharing of concerns will be vital to shaping the outcome.

And there are many ways to get involved! By sharing information with others and participating in these public meetings, Minnesotans can tell the state to focus on the health of our waters and our climate. Click the links below to find out more about Line 3:

Special Events News                                                 

Northern Spark to light up St. Paul and Minneapolis for climate change action

On Saturday night until Sunday morning, June 10-11, the Green Line corridor in the Twin Cities will be lit up by Northern Spark: Climate Chaos/People Rising, a festival of activity and art for a cities-wide conversation festival on climate change. From Frogtown to Downtown Minneapolis, thousands of attendees can visit dozens of free art installations, take part in interactive exhibits, and watch performances that all address questions of climate action in our communities. The event is made possible by artists and participating organizations, including MEP partners like MN350 and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light. For information on how to attend this free event, visit the Northern Spark Website!



Minnesota signs on to states’ version of Paris accord

(From Star Tribune) — Minnesota will join a dozen other states whose governors have pledged to honor the Paris climate agreement, even if President Donald Trump won’t.Gov. Mark Dayton announced Monday that he has signed onto the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition launched last week when Trump announced that he plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. The global agreement, reached last year by 195 countries, aims to reduce the greenhouse gases emissions that are driving climate change.
>>Read More.

Bad news, good news for Iron Range solar panel plant

(From Duluth News Tribune) — The bad news is that another effort to diversify the Iron Range economy has stumbled, with a Mountain Iron solar panel manufacturer closing shop and leaving town as some of its products have been labeled a safety threat because they might catch fire.The good news is that a new company has moved into the same Mountain Iron building and is making new solar panels while employing more people. Ontario-based Heliene Inc. is employing about eight people in Mountain Iron in an expansion of its Sault Ste. Marie solar panel operations. >>Read More.

UMN Faculty to Trump: Leaving Paris agreement will impact U.S.

(From Minnesota Daily) — Nearly two years ago, University of Minnesota faculty and staff traveled to Paris to watch world leaders broker the Paris Climate Agreement. Last week, President Donald Trump chose to start a withdrawal from the agreement. This makes the U.S. one of three countries outside of the pact that aims to slow Earth’s temperature climb before it reaches two degrees Celsius higher than its preindustrial average. The decision sparked speculation on possible negative effects it may bring for America’s international and economical stature and the environment. >>Read More.


Transit allies to speak out against cuts and fare hikes at Met Council hearing

Transportation Forward is calling on Twin Cities community members to speak out in favor of affordable public transit at a Metropolitan Council hearing on Tuesday, June 14. With Minnesota legislature having declined to fully fund transit during the 2017 session, the Council is considering raising fares and cutting services for Metro Transit. This would decrease ridership and be detrimental to the clean transportation benefits that Metro Transit provides. To lend your voice for equitable transit, click here to learn more and sign up!

Bicycling advocates push to extend Midtown Greenway to St. Paul

(From Star Tribune) — Cyclists with a dream of extending the Midtown Greenway across the Mississippi River and into St. Paul are trying to muster support for a plan that petered out years ago after a legal battle. Many hurdles remain before the trail could become reality. The greenway that cuts across south Minneapolis along an old railroad bed dead-ends just before the river, and bridging the waterway would be just one of the challenges. Then there are costs — unknown — and the trouble of negotiating with a railroad for a route through St. Paul. >>Read More.


MCEA appeals DNR removal of water protections

(From MCEA website) — Today, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy appealed an order of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that removed public water protections from many miles of Minnesota streams and rivers. A DNR order in April used a one size fits all approach to delete over 640 miles of waterways from Minnesota’s public water inventory with no public notice, no chance for the public to comment and with no transparency. >>Read full news release here

MPCA nearly finished with water quality assessment

(From Brainerd Dispatch) — Monitoring crews from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and its local partners are beginning the final phase of a 10-year effort to assess the condition of rivers, streams, and lakes in Minnesota.In addition, crews will begin tracking progress in a few watersheds that were among the first to be studied intensely. This work is funded by the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2008. The most intensive monitoring activities will focus on six of Minnesota’s 80 major watersheds. Each watershed is comprised of a network of interconnected streams, lakes, ditches, and wetlands. The intent is to develop a complete picture of conditions of various water bodies within each watershed. >>Read More.


Tiny beetle poses big threat to northern Minnesota trees

(From West Central Tribune) — Alexandria is preparing for an invasion. A tiny beetle about a half-inch long could wipe out the most popular kind of tree in the city, ash trees. The emerald ash borer isn’t here yet but it could arrive soon. It’s already made deep inroads in Minnesota. Officials in the Twin Cities area are in the process of cutting down 60,000 beetle-infested trees and another 175,000 in private yards in the metro area are threatened. >>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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