Insider: March 3, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Environmental Rollbacks are Out of Step with What Minnesotans Want

At the same time when Minnesota Legislators are debating a torrent of rollbacks a new poll shows that Minnesotans of all backgrounds and regions are concerned about our environmental protections and don’t want to see proposals that would roll back those protections.The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) released a statewide public opinion research poll this week. According to the results, nearly three in four Minnesotans (74%) are concerned about rollbacks of our law s that protect our land, air, and water.

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From the Loon Commons Blog

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A Fighting Chance for Minnesota Bees

This session, Minnesota legislators will have the chance to support two bills aimed at reducing pollinator exposure to pesticides. The first bill would create a “pollinator account,” funded by fees paid by pesticide corporations and supplemented with money from the state’s general fund. The account would be used for research and farmer-focused outreach and education, with the goal of reducing the use of pollinator-harming pesticides. No farmer wants to harm pollinators; this legislation will make it easier for farmers to eliminate unnecessary uses of neonicotinoids, and to manage pests without hazardous pesticides. The second bill would create a “treated seed program.” >>Read more.

Even Bigger Factory Farms Jeopardize Clean Water

We’d like to shine a light on a rapidly moving legislative proposal that will be bad for our health, our water and our communities. This bill would double the size that a factory farm can be before environmental review is required. Please speak out against proposal SF 1016 / HF 1456.


Register for the 2017 Minnesota Water Action Day 

Join us on Wednesday, April 19th for the 2017 Minnesota Water Action Day! This is a day of public action and advocacy to let lawmakers know we care about our water. This all-day event will include a rally, issue trainings and meetings with your legislators. Come for all or part of the day. There will be trainings in the morning, both on how to actively engage legislators and on the water issues that we face in Minnesota. Throughout the day there will be events and other ways to keep people engaged, and the rally will be held in the Capitol Rotunda at 1pm. Register today

Agency delays plan for keeping Asian carp from Great Lakes 

(From MPR) —  The Trump administration has delayed indefinitely a plan for strengthening defenses on a crucial Chicago-area waterway to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, where scientists say they could cause severe harm to native fish populations, officials said Tuesday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been scheduled to release draft results of a study begun in April 2015 on possible structural or technological upgrades at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, a few miles downstream of a network of electrical barriers intended to repel the carp. A final version of the plan was to be released in early 2019. >>Read More.

White House could slash Great Lakes funding by 97% as part of proposed EPA budget cuts 

(From Chicago Tribune) — With reports swirling that President Donald Trump intends sharp cutbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Detroit Free Press reports that a drastic reduction may be under consideration for Great Lakes restoration efforts, which in the past have received bipartisan support. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies confirmed for the Free Press late Thursday that an initial proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million. >>Read More.

Alberta Clipper pipeline meeting expected to draw activists, large crowd

(From Duluth News Tribune) —  A U.S. Department of State meeting in Bemidji meant to allow public comment on a proposed oil pipeline expansion may draw activists from as far as the Twin Cities and has prompted the creation of local opposition events.The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, March 7, is the only one in the country, and will allow the public to submit formal comments on an energy company’s plans to pump more oil through a segment of an existing oil pipeline known as Line 67.  >>Read More.

Suppressed memo shows many failings in Corps review of Dakota Access plan

(From Minnpost) — Shortly after Donald Trump directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fast-track approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s Missouri River crossing on January 24, four legal memoranda related to the project were pulled from the Interior Department website. This goes beyond the silly and transparent revisionism the new administration is bringing to settled government positions on climate change and other inconvenient realities. It’s an attempt to make opaque some serious shortcomings in the Corps’ performance on DAPL that are little known and less understood. >>Read More.


Dayton signs bill allowing natural gas plant in Becker

(From MPR) — Gov. Mark Dayton today signed a bill giving Xcel Energy the authority to build a new natural gas power plant in Becker, Minn., to replace capacity lost when part of its Sherco coal plant retires.Xcel and lawmakers from central Minnesota had pushed for the bill, saying the plant would ease the transition both in terms of electrical grid stability and economic stability from the jobs and property tax revenue flowing into Becker and Sherburne County. >>Read More.

Bipartisan effort seeks to double Minnesota’s renewable energy standard

(From Midwest Energy News) — Minnesota’s renewable energy standard would increase to 50 percent by 2030 under a bipartisan plan unveiled Monday by Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. The state’s current renewable energy standard, or RES, stands at 25 percent by 2025 for all utilities, with a more aggressive target for the state’s largest investor owned utility, Xcel Energy. >>Read More.


Iron Range residents sue Dayton over mining near Boundary Waters

(From MPR) — Seven Iron Range residents and an Ely nonprofit have sued the state of Minnesota and Gov. Mark Dayton over his actions to prevent mining activity near the Boundary Waters. The lawsuit alleges Dayton, “bowing to political pressure, has colluded with the federal government and anti-mining activists to ban mining in the Rainy River watershed of the Superior National Forest.” >>Read More.

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Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Live-in Caretaker | Minnesota Food Association

Communications Associate | Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness 

Stewardship Associate | Minnesota Land Trust

Program Manager | Environmental Initiative

Advocacy Director | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness 

Communications Director | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Manager of Development & Member Engagement | Transit for Livable Communities / St. Paul Smart Trips Senior

Campaign Representative (Beyond Coal) | Sierra Club

Conservation Program Manager | Minnesota Land Trust 

Landowner Outreach Assistant | St. Croix River Association 

Sustainable Ely Internship | Sustainable Ely

Community Engagement/Social Media Coordinator | Water Legacy

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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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