Minnesota Environmental Partnership Issues Statement on Governor’s Veto of Bill that Would Cripple the PUC

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March 21, 2017 (St. Paul, Minn.) — Last night, Governor Dayton followed through on a promise made last month when used his veto pen on a bill that would have weakened the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and punish Minnesota’s solar customers by removing PUC oversight of excessive charnges by rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities customers connect their solar panels to the energy grid.

Below is a statement from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

We thank Governor Dayton for his veto and protecting Minnesota’s solar customers. The purpose of the PUC is to protect the public’s interest while promoting safe, reliable utility services. This bill would have stripped the PUC of its ability to protect Minnesota’s solar customers across much of the state, leaving them at the whim of their local power companies, some of which are charging solar customers massive fees. This bill would have created huge disincentives for Minnesota’s renewable energy customers, especially in rural Minnesota, punishing them for doing the right thing. With his veto, Governor Dayton sends a clear message that all Minnesotans deserve the protection of the PUC.

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Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a statewide coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy and protection of our Great Outdoors. The Minnesota Environmental Partnership engages state leaders, unites environmental efforts and helps citizens take action for the Minnesota they love.

Letter to Senators: Protect the Environmental Quality Board

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Minnesota Environmental Partnership

March 17, 2017

 

Dear Senators:

We write to alert you to a bill, SF 1087, being heard by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committee.  This bill is opposed by members of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership because it rolls back and weakens Minnesota’s bedrock environmental laws. We urge you to vote no on SF 1087

SF 1087 (Ingebrigtsen) should be opposed because it contains many damaging provisions, such as:

  • A provision requiring draft permits to be issued in 150 days, a “one size fits all” deadline for which no justification has been given. Note that agencies are issuing over 90 percent of all permits within the timelines set by the Legislature in previous streamlining bills.
  • A provision that allows private companies to draft environmental review documents, which will remove accountability and transparency. If an EIS is written by a private party rather than a government entity, the public will not have access to the documents relied upon for the EIS. 
  • A change in the permit to mine statute that removes the option of a contested case hearing, leaving the Court of Appeals as the only choice for those raising issues about a permit to mine.
  • The complete elimination of the Environmental Quality Board, which works across agency silos to solve complex environmental problems such as frac sand mining, pollinator protection, and water sustainability. No credible reason has been given to abolish the EQB. 

 

Thank you for your consideration.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions:

Sara Wolff, Advocacy Director, Minnesota Environmental Partnership            

651-491-1229, Sara@MEPartnership.org

Allison Wolf, Legislative Director, MN Center for Environmental Advocacy

612-750-5449, awolf@mncenter.org

 

Sincerely,

The Following Organizations (listed on the reverse side of this page)

 

Alliance for Sustainability

Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis

Center for Biological Diversity

CURE (Clean Up the River Environment)

Friends of Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest

Friends of the Mississippi River

Institute for the Local Self Reliance

Izaak Walton League – Minnesota Division

Land Stewardship Project

League of Women Voters – The Upper Mississippi River Region

Lower Phalen Creek Project

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Minnesota Conservation Federation

Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Minnesota Native Plant Society

Minnesota Ornithologists’ Society

Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter

Minnesota Trout Unlimited

MN350

Pesticide Action Network

Pollinate Minnesota

Renewing the Countryside

Save Our Sky Blue Waters

Transit for Livable Communities

 

PDF Version: SF1087 Letter to Senators

A fighting chance for Minnesota bees

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As Scott Pruitt takes over as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s clearer than ever that our federal decision-makers won’t be stepping up to protect communities — or our food system — from pesticides anytime soon. It’s that much more important therefore for state and local leaders to do their part. Here in Minnesota, decision-makers are beginning some important steps to protect pollinators from pesticides, and we’re fighting to make those changes powerful models for the rest of the country.

Minnesota steps up

Last August, Minnesota’s Governor and Department of Agriculture released new plans to protect our state’s pollinators. The Department of Agriculture (MDA) had spent nearly three years reviewing research on the impacts of neonicotinoids (“neonics”), focusing on the science most relevant for our state. Their review confirmed what thousands of independent studies have found: at high and low doses, neonicotinoids can kill or harm pollinators.

photo by laurieschneider.com

In response to the findings of their study, MDA proposed a number of action steps to protect Minnesota’s pollinators. Many of their proposed activities — like requiring a verification that pesticides are necessary before spraying them on crops or nursery plants, and increasing outreach to homeowners about the impacts of pesticide use in home gardens — are already moving forward.

But two pieces of MDA’s plan require approval from the legislature, and now PAN and other MEP members are helping lead the charge to pass pollinator-friendly laws this session.

Agriculture needs pollinators

MDA is tackling the issue of pollinator decline because key Minnesota crops need them to thrive. Apples, our state’s top fruit crop, are valued at $17 million per year and rely on honey bees for pollination. Minnesota is also historically one of the top honey-producing states in the country. Additionally, bees significantly improve the yield, diversity, and quality of other critical Minnesota crops like sunflowers ($33 million) and canola ($17 million).

And while honey bees are the most well-known pollinator, a recent study found that there is also a shortage of native bees that increase yields for key crops in many Minnesota counties — including soybeans, which benefit from (but don’t require) insect pollination.

So here we are, in a tangled situation where a healthy food and farming system requires bold action to protect pollinators from pesticides. At the same time, many farmers are caught on a pesticide treadmill that includes using bee-harming pesticides in their fields. Playing the blame game won’t help fix this. We need a plan that supports farmers while also addressing the pesticide problem for pollinators.

Step one is phasing out widespread use of neonics, ensuring that Minnesota farmers are well supported through the transition. Legislation under consideration in the Capitol aims to take this challenge head on.

Hope on the horizon

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.” As we’ve said before, pesticide seed coatings are the most common use of neonicotinoids — 40 percent of the soybeans and nearly all of the corn planted in Minnesota have been treated with neonicotinoids before planting. Why is this a problem? Not only is the pesticide pulled up into all parts of the plant, but 80 to 95 percent of the seed coating isn’t absorbed into the plant. Instead, neonics are released into surrounding soil, air and water, where they can harm pollinators and other beneficial members of the farm ecosystem.

Unfortunately, because of a loophole in federal law, MDA can’t currently gather good information — let alone take action — on the widespread use of pesticide seed treatments. But soon-to-be introduced legislation would allow MDA to monitor and regulate pesticide-coated seeds in the same way that it manages all other pesticides applied in the state. The legislation would increase transparency about seed treatments, without placing any restrictions on when or where treated seeds can be planted. The bill would also support research about Minnesota pests and how to manage them effectively. 

I’ll be honest. While these bills represent some of the boldest action taken by any state in the country — especially any major agricultural state — to protect pollinators, they’re more gradual than they are earth-shattering. They’re modest steps toward important solutions — and we fully expect our decision-makers, who represent agricultural communities and everyone who eats, to support them across party lines.

Though the pollinator crisis is impacting farmers, beekeepers and communities nationwide, Minnesota has set itself apart as a leader by committing to tackle the problem. But the work is far from done. The real test is whether our state will turn strong intentions into strong policy and practice, and quickly.

We have a chance to set a high bar for other states and, now, we have to fight to make sure our decision-makers follow through. 

Environmental Rollbacks are Out of Step with What Minnesotans Want, Says New Research

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St. Paul, Minn. (March 1, 2017) —  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 today. 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.

“Over the past seven weeks, we’ve seen a torrent of proposals in the Minnesota Legislature rolling back our environmental safeguards that protect the air we breathe, water we drink, and land we use,” said MEP Executive Director Steve Morse. “There have been dozens of proposed rollbacks to our water quality standards; clean, renewable energy systems; equitable transportation options; and more.

“Minnesota voters from all across the state are looking for bold leaders, who stand up for our natural resources, not ones who compromise our core Minnesota values.”

Laws should be tougher_better enforced

The survey of 502 Minnesotans was conducted February 1-5, 2017, by a bipartisan team — Public Opinion Strategies, which conducts polling for Republican candidates, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which specializes in polling for Democratic candidates — includes a 5.3% margin of statewide sampling error.The poll conducted additional surveys in rural Minnesota to gain a more complete picture of public attitudes in these regions of the state.

The study found that:

  • Minnesotans broadly agree that we need more environmental protections, not fewer, with 62% agreeing that our environmental laws should be tougher or better enforced.
  • Statewide, 70% of voters would view their legislator less favorably if their legislator voted to weaken environmental laws. The study showed little difference in voters from rural Minnesota (69%) vs those from more urban areas (71%).
  • Water pollution and disappearing pollinators rank as Minnesota’s most urgent environmental concerns.
  • The Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment has seen growing overwhelming support. The Amendment passed with a 56-39 margin in 2008, and today, three out of four (75%) of Minnesotans support the Legacy Amendment.
  • 81% of Minnesotans are concerned about runoff from farms polluting Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and streams.
  • 83% of Minnesotans support the phasing out of the use of pesticides proven to harm pollinators.

Download the full 2017 Minnesota Environmental Partnership Public Opinion Poll results.

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Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a statewide coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy and protection of our Great Outdoors. The Minnesota Environmental Partnership engages state leaders, unites environmental efforts and helps citizens take action for the Minnesota they love.

News Watch: February 16

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February 16, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Conservation, Energy, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
The Kenyon Leader: Controversy surrounding factory hog farm permit, public meeting in Red Wing Monday evening featuring MEP member group Land Stewardship Project
Public News Service: Letter Sent to Sessions about Ag Mega-Mergers
Steele County Times: Area Feedlots At Center Of State Appeals Court Decision featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

Climate Change 
Brainerd Dispatch: Speaker to address climate change featuring MEP member group The Nature Conservancy
Patch: Making Home Heating, Cooling Climate-Friendly: New Study featuring MEP member group Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Conservation
Northland Press: Protecting Lake Roosevelt Through a New Aquatic Management Area featuring MEP member group Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation

Energy
Midwest Energy News: Changes to Minnesota power plant bill ease some opponents’ concerns
MPR: Minnesota Senate says yes to Becker power plant
MinnPost: American households’ energy costs fall to a new low: just 4 cents of each dollar

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Mesabi Metallics CEO asks to meet with Dayton on leases

Oil & Pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Enbridge closes on Dakota Access stake
Duluth News Tribune: TransCanada files Keystone XL route application in Nebraska
MPR: Pope Francis: Native people have rights over their lands
MPR: Trump signs bill undoing oil, gas reporting rule

Pollinators
MPR: Crop-protecting fungicides may be hurting the honey bees
MPR: Group sues Trump administration for delaying bumblebee’s endangered listing

Pollution
Mother Jones: Toxic Liquid Nuclear Waste Headed for US Roadways

Transportation
MinnPost: Plan to kill regional transit board moves closer to reality
Star Tribune: Gold Line busway gets millions toward a 2024 opening
Star Tribune: Metro Mobility reports 6 percent ridership gain for 2016
Star Tribune: Metro Transit sent reps to Houston for Bowl intelligence

Waste & Recycling
MPR: Recycling woes linger for some St. Paul residents
Star Tribune: St. Paul continues to negotiate organized trash collection with haulers

Water
MPR: Construction work to begin on Red River diversion project
MPR: Pollution has worked its way down to the world’s deepest waters
Star Tribune: Blaine schools are closed Monday after water pressure problems return

Wildlife & Fish
Brainerd Dispatch: Years of animal facility inspection reports scrubbed from USDA website

News Watch: February 13

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Agriculture & Food
Brainerd Dispatch: Years of animal facility inspection reports scrubbed from USDA website
La Crosse Tribune: Land Stewardship Project to host soil workshop with Rodale chief scientistfeaturing MEP member group Land Stewardship Project
MPR: To save the planet, give cows better pasture
Star Tribune: Appeals Court to decide Dodge County hog farm lawsuit pitting pollution vs. water featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
WNAX: Land Stewardship Project Leaders Lobby the Hill on Farm Bill featuring MEP member group Land Stewardship Project

Climate Change 
MPR: Open water: Madeline Island watches, worries as winter climate shifts

Energy
Brainerd Dispatch: Blown away: Wind energy sector turns into largest renewable resource in U.S., sees massive expansion in North Dakota
Midwest Energy NewsMinnesota report suggests efficiency push could generate 15,000 jobs
MPR: Climate Cast: Wind turbines create economic and environmental opportunities

Oil & Pipelines
Brainerd Dispatch: Tribal summit in Duluth will target pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Tribal representatives strategize in Duluth
Fox 9: DAPL protesters rally outside home of U.S. Bank CEO
WDIO: Tribal Members Convene in Duluth over Enbridge Energy Pipelines

Parks & Trails
Brainerd Dispatch: Minnesota’s first bison buggy planned at Blue Mounds State Park
Grand Forks Herald: Partnership brings cross-country skiing to 3 state parks in northwestern Minnesota featuring MEP member group Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Pollinators
Brainerd Dispatch: The plight of the bumble bee

Pollution
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota Slip contaminants will be capped, not removed
Mother Jones: Here’s What’s at Stake If Congress Kills the Methane Rules

Transportation
Duluth Budgeteer NewsFriday is Winter Bike to Work Day featuring MEP member groupBicycle Alliance of Minnesota

Waste & Recycling
MPR: Plastics tech makes composting easier. But will businesses get on board?
MPR: Recycling pickup missed in St. Paul? Contractor says they’re working on it featuring MEP member group Eureka Recycling

Water
Brainerd Dispatch: Minnesota Legislature: Water quality efforts require collaboration
Star Tribune: Blaine schools are closed Monday after water pressure problems return
Star Tribune: Massive water project in SW Minnesota wants Trump to open the money tap

Wildlife & Fish
Brainerd Dispatch: Canada reintroduces bison to Banff National Park
Country Messenger: The surprising lives of native mussels featuring MEP member group St. Croix River Association
NPR: As 200 more whales are stranded in New Zealand, heroics turn to heartbreak

News Watch: February 9

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Agriculture & Food
Public News Service: More Voices Sought in Farm, Immigration Debate

Climate Change 
MPR: GOP-backed measures seek to rein in science used at EPA

Conservation
MinnPost: Newly launched campaign aims to raise funds for MinnPost’s environmental coverage

Energy
The Lake Country Echo: Back to Basics: Speaker to tackle ‘renewable energy revolution’featuring MEP member group Fresh Energy
Midwest Energy NewsCommentary: Removing co-op oversight jeopardizes rural solar
Midwest Energy NewsNew Xcel program sells renewable energy directly to businesses and homeowners

Mining
MinnPost: Lawsuit against PolyMet land exchange raises potent issue of taxpayers’ rightsfeaturing MEP member group WaterLegacy
Timberjay: Nolan faces pushback over request to Trump featuring MEP member groupNortheastern Minnesotans for Wilderness

Opinion, Duluth News Tribune: Local view: Duluth Chamber can remember its own words, live up to them by Tonia Kittelson of MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Oil & Pipelines
Democracy Now!: A Violation of Tribal & Human Rights: Standing Rock Chair Slams Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline
MPR: Dakota Access pipeline construction to restart ‘immediately’
MPR: Tribe files legal challenge to stall Dakota Access pipeline
MPR: Two cities vote to pull more than $3 billion from Wells Fargo over Dakota pipeline

Parks & Trails
Star Tribune: Bridge project begins, Godfrey Parkway near Minnehaha Park closes

Pollinators
Duluth News Tribune: Trump blocks endangered status for dwindling bumble bee
MinnPost: How the bees you know are killing the bees you don’t

Pollution
MinnPost: Trump’s no friend of the environment, but Congress is doing the real damage

Transportation
MPR: Rochester eyes ‘game changer’ transit plan. Will public get on board? featuring MEP member group Transit for Livable Communities

Waste & Recycling
KSTP: Eureka Recycling Promises to Fix Problems Soon in St. Paul featuring MEP member group Eureka Recycling
Monitor St. Paul: Monitor In A Minute featuring MEP member group Eureka Recycling
MPR: Recycling pickup missed in St. Paul? Contractor says they’re working on it
Star Tribune: Frustrations persist with new St. Paul recycling program featuring MEP member group Eureka Recycling

Water
Brainerd Dispatch: Future of water quality to be discussed

Wildlife & Fish
MPR: After more than a century, bison return to Canada’s oldest national park
St. Croix 360: St. Croix River’s marvelous mussels are focus of Feb. 18 presentation featuring MEP member group St. Croix River Association

News Watch: February 6

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Agriculture & Food
Albert Lea Tribune: Farm loans available for small-scale farmers featuring MEP member groupRenewing the Countryside
La Crosse Tribune: Soil health expert will be featured at cover crops workshop featuring MEP member group Land Stewardship Project

Climate Change 
MPR: Food for thought: St. Louis Park woman uses parties to teach on diet, climate change
MPR: Trump administration lifts its hold on EPA contracts
USA Today: Congress passes first rollback of Obama environmental rule

Energy
CBS: Senate Committee Gives Go-Ahead For Gas Power Plant In Becker featuring MEP member group Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Midwest Energy NewsReport cites clean energy growth as Minnesota legislators push to eliminate solar program

Mining
City Pages: Lawsuit: Feds sold Superior National Forest land to mining company for way too cheap featuring MEP member group Water Legacy
MinnPost: With Boundary Waters mining in the news, here’s a brief history of the BWCAW
MPR: Dayton speaks out against potential mining near Boundary Waters
MPR: Debate over copper mining near Boundary Waters heats up again featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Timberjay: Nolan asks Trump to halt mineral lease freeze featuring MEP member groupNortheastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Timberjay: Nolan faces pushback on Twin Metals letter

Parks & Trails
International Falls Journal: VNP offers paddle carving featuring MEP member group Voyageurs National Park Association

Pollinators
MSU Reporter: Bee-friendly campus project aims to be friendly to bees featuring MEP member group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness

Pollution
Mother Jones: Here’s What’s at Stake If Congress Kills the Methane Rules

Transportation
Capitol Report: Breaking the Ice: Advocate seeks transportation options statewide featuring MEP member group Transit for Livable Communities
Star Tribune: Anoka weighs MnDOT’s early bridge design to remedy dangerous rail crossing
Star Tribune: Minnesota bicyclists find a lot not to like in new bill on bike lanes featuring MEP member group Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
Star Tribune: Regional transportation board taps 58 projects for federal funding

Water
Morris Sun Tribune: Farmers say others also have impact on water quality
MPR: Dayton proposes new water quality goal without regulations
Star NewsRiver gathering, brush haul planned featuring MEP member group Friends of the Mississippi River
Star Tribune: Dayton challenges state to cut water pollution by 25 percent by 2025
Star Tribune: Flood forecasters keeping watch over the Red River

News Watch: February 2

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Energy, Invasive Species, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollution, Transportation, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
Brainerd Dispatch: MN farmers want state aid, more in policy than money
MinnPost: Fast-food wrappings are found to carry nonstick coatings linked to health risks
MPR: Hormel stops taking pigs from farm shown in undercover video
MPR: What we do and don’t know about food allergies

Climate Change 
Brainerd Dispatch: Senate delays vote on Trump EPA pick after Democrats boycott
Mother Jones: Environmentalists Are the “Greatest Threat to Freedom,” Says Trump Adviser
West Central Tribune: Senate panel approves Trump EPA chief pick over Democrats’ boycott

Energy
Duluth News Tribune: ‘Stove Swap’ program targets dirty wood stoves featuring MEP member group Fresh Energy
Midwest Energy NewsMinnesota legislation would end state oversight of small utilities’ fixed fees
Midwest Energy NewsReport cites clean energy growth as Minnesota legislators push to eliminate solar program
MinnPost: Gorsuch is a well-credentialed conservative — so what happens next?
MinnPost: Republican legislators take aim at Public Utilities Commission
MPR: Replace Sherco coal plant with natural gas? Xcel brings debate to the Capitol
Star Tribune: Legislature could intervene in dispute over solar fees featuring MEP member group Fresh Energy
WDIO: Project Stove Swap Launched to Help Environment, Economy, and Communitiesfeaturing MEP member group Environmental Initiative

Invasive Species
Star Tribune: Taking genetics to the lake: New study shows that fight against invasive plant is more complicated thanks to hybrids

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota Democratic representatives square off over Boundary Waters
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota DNR ready for another mining lease sale
MPR: Environmental groups launch second legal challenge over PolyMet land exchange
MPR: Nolan outreach to Trump administration on mining draws fire from McCollum
Star Tribune: Suit claims swap with PolyMet grossly undervalued public land

Oil & Pipelines 
Attn: Seattle Committee Responds to Standing Rock
Duluth News Tribune: Approval of Dakota Access easement ‘imminent’
MPR: Company: Size of Iowa diesel pipeline spill overestimated
MPR: Senator: Army Corps told to approve Dakota pipeline easement
MPR: Review of Dakota Access pipeline could be beginning of end for opponents
Telesur: Police Raid Standing Rock Last Child Camp, Arrest 76
Yes! Magazine: Tribes Find New Ways to Keep Pipelines—and Their Oil—Out of the Great Lakes

Parks & Trails
International Falls Journal: VNPA recognized featuring MEP member group Voyageurs National Park Association
Star Tribune: Great River Passage plan connects St. Paul with Mississippi River

Pollution
Mother Jones: Here’s What’s at Stake If Congress Kills the Methane Rules
Star Tribune: Megaproject in Arden Hills: Environmental model, or hazard?

Transportation
Star Tribune: Minneapolis moves forward with 29th Avenue closure near Midtown Greenway

Water
Brainerd Dispatch: State study highlights river health in central MN
Pioneer Press: Mississippi is near-pristine until it reaches metro area, pollution study finds
Willmar Radio: Dayton in Morris Friday for “Clean Water Summit”

Wildlife & Fish
Brainerd Dispatch: DNR deer management plan takes first steps

News Watch: January 30

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Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Climate Change, Conservation, Energy, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollution, Sustainable Development, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish, Loon Commons

Agriculture & Food
Mankato Free Press: Grow a Farmer loans help small farmers featuring MEP member groupRenewing the Countryside
West Central Tribune: Peterson adopts wait-and-see attitude on Trump’s ag policies

Climate Change 
Midwest Energy NewsWisconsin leads on climate research, even as agencies cut science from websites

Conservation
Austin Daily Herald: Mower SWCD sending buffer notification letters
Brainerd Dispatch: Conservation Corps offers 700 service opportunities
Fergus Falls Journal: What 2017 holds for Minnesota and its land featuring MEP member groupConservation Minnesota
West Central Tribune: Willmar business wins Pork Board’s environmental stewardship award

Energy
Independent: Ireland passes law to become world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Second lawsuit against PolyMet land exchange featuring MEP member group WaterLegacy

Oil & Pipelines 
Brainerd Dispatch: Pipeline protest closes Twin Cities bridge
Brainerd Dispatch: Trial set to open for activist charged in Wash. pipeline disruption
Democracy Now!: A Complete Disregard for Democracy: Greenpeace Condemns Trump’s Move on Pipelines & Silencing of EPA
Duluth News Tribune: Red tape chokes off oil drilling on North Dakota’s reservations
Grist: The Standing Rock Sioux will not back down
Grist: Zombie pipelines, EPA under attack, and that’s just Week One
Indian Country Media Network: Second Trump Transition Meeting Held with Native Americans
Indian Country Media Network: Standing Rock Chairman Archambault Sends Strong Letter to Trump
Indianz: Judge calls unexpected hearing after President Trump’s Dakota Access push
MPR: All-clear after pipeline protest shuts key Mpls.-St. Paul bridge
MPR: As Trump reboots pipeline expansion, unexpected delay emerges
MPR: ‘It’s a big one’: Iowa pipeline leaks nearly 140,000 gallons of diesel
Star Tribune: Lake Street-Marshall Avenue bridge reopens after protest, police say

Parks & Trails
MPR: It’s not just the Park Service: ‘Rogue’ federal Twitter accounts multiply
MPR: Report: Trump called park official to dispute crowd photos
West Central Tribune: Public input shapes goals for Kandiyohi County bike and pedestrian plan

Pollution
Duluth News Tribune: EPA gives all-clear to pollution grants for Minnesota
MPR: More soil contaminated with TCE found in east Minneapolis
MPR: Official: Trump wants to slash EPA workforce, budget
Star Tribune: EPA gives all-clear to pollution grants for Minnesota

Sustainable Development
Austin Daily Herald: Sparks, DFL propose $100M broadband investment

Transportation
Go MN: The bike lane permit bill is ‘a royally stupid idea,’ coalition says featuring MEP member group Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
Star Tribune: MVTA becomes state’s second largest transit agency despite 2 percent drop in ridership

Waste & Recycling
Star Tribune: St. Paul’s new recycling system leaves some residents frustrated

Water
Aberdeen NewsLower stretch of Mississippi River calls for improvements featuring MEP member group The Nature Conservancy
Brainerd Dispatch: Mn DNR: Don’t release aquarium or water garden plants into the wild

Wildlife & Fish
MPR: Can new DNA science help keep our fish safe?
MPR: Endangered no more? Wolf again poised to go off federal protection
St. Cloud Times: Public meetings on Isle Royale wolves scheduled