News Watch: September 21, 2017

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September 21, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change Conservation, Environmental Justice, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Featured Video
TPT Almanac: Enbridge Oil Pipeline Controversy (debate featuring MEP Executive Director Steve Morse)

Agriculture & Food
Rochester Post Bulletin: Greenspace: Chatfield tests new cover crop that protects groundwater
MinnPost: Minnesota should ban use of the weedkiller dicamba
Marshall Independent: Survey: Farmers still hopeful
MPR News: Concern grows over effects of treated seeds on birds

Clean Energy
Duluth News Tribune: Otto proposes fee on carbon, push to renewables
E&E News: 2 Upper Midwest neighbors appear headed for divorce

Climate Change
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesotan headed to USDA: Dealing with climate change a priority
City Pages: Storms get worse while politicians cut our defenses against them

Conservation
International Falls Journal: Reseeding effort gets volunteer boost

Environmental Justice:
Duluth News Tribune: Lake Superior island transferred to Grand Portage Band

Mining
Alexandria Echo Press: Gravel pit ‘would ruin this little town’ neighbors say
MinnPost: Northern Minnesota leaders don’t want the answers a Forest Service mining study might yield

Oil & Pipelines
Forum of Fargo-Moorhead: After the oil boom, how does North Dakota move on?
Star Tribune: Enbridge Line 3 project pits company’s safety concerns against renewed environmental activism

Parks & Trails
Star Tribune: ‘Witness activism’ drew Minnesota couple to live outdoors in BWCA
The Timberjay: Ready, set, camp!
Star Tribune: Edina approves disputed park and creek restoration plan
MPR News: 4 Minn. fall foliage hunting tips from the DNR’s leaf color forecaster​

Pollution
Star Tribune: With hundreds wanting to comment on Ford plant redevelopment, hearing will continue next week
MPR News: Guess what’s showing up in our shellfish? One word: plastics

Transportation
Star Tribune: Met Council rejects Southwest light-rail bids

Waste & Recycling
Star Tribune: Plymouth waste disposal operators charged in fraud scheme

Water
Stillwater Gazette: Column: Community water meetings offer citizens the opportunity to help shape Minnesota policy
Duluth News Tribune: Duluth approves water-rate increase
Faribault Daily News: New tool helps farmers choose alternative practices to buffers
Rochester Post Bulletin: Great Lakes states renew push for new lock at critical point

Wildlife & Fish
Duluth News Tribune: Frogs across Minnesota, US dying from disease
International Falls Journal: Members sought for LoW fish, habitat group
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: Good waterfowl opener expected this weekend
 

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News Watch: September 18, 2017

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September 18, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Conservation, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Featured Video
TPT Almanac: Enbridge Oil Pipeline Controversy (debate featuring MEP Executive Director Steve Morse)

Agriculture & Food
MPR News: Garden bounty a windfall for Minnesota food shelves
Forum of Fargo-Moorhead: Wide range of ag research conducted at Carrington Extension center

Clean Energy
Star Tribune: There’s money to be made in renewables. Argument enough?
Midwest Energy News: Minnesota conference explores how the Midwest can expand energy storage
Star Tribune: South Minneapolis warehouses, with historic designation, transformed into apartments

Conservation
Detroit Lakes Tribune: Park Rapids cooper invents eco-friendly barrel
Faribault Daily News: Seed collectors keep prairie growing at River Bend
Austin Daily Herald: Tree Trust deeply rooted; Unexpected invitation began Southgate’s ‘green revolution’ over 20 years ago

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: DNR releases PolyMet dam permits
MinnPost: Where things stand with the effort to allow mining near the Boundary Waters
Duluth News Tribune: Local view: There was no secret deal for mining near BWCAW

Oil & Pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Two charged in protest at Enbridge pipeline contractor

Parks & Trails
La Crosse Tribune: Overhaul of La Crosse’s Trane Park would accommodate people of all ages, abilities
Star Tribune: New regional trail opens in southern Washington County
St. Cloud Times: Like wildlife? Take a trip to Sherburne refuge on its festival day
Star Tribune: St. Cloud reconnects to Mississippi with trail, plan for redevelopment

Pollution
Minnesota Daily: Much of U.S. tap water contaminated by microplastics, study says

Pollinators
Winona Daily News: Efforts to slow bee decline continue in Minnesota
St. Croix Valley Area Lowdown: Fun, music and honey bring the buzz at PolliNATION festival

Transportation
MinnPost: Could the latest setback to Southwest LRT actually jeopardize the project?
Star Tribune: Polaris’ electric GEM vehicles go driverless in Detroit
Winona Daily News: Saturday’s Ride the Ridges bike tour offers real-time tracking​

Waste & Recycling
MinnPost: For the environment, jobs, and new products from old materials, keep investing in recycling

Water
Mankato Free Press: Wastewater woes: Infrastructure needs roadblocked by lack of funding
Owatanna People’s Press: Volunteers hit the riverbanks for watershed cleanup
Park Rapids Enterprise: A conservation retro-fit: Pine Haven Christian Assembly installs pavers, rain gardens to reduce stormwater erosion
Mankato Free Press: Lake advocates find sediment reducing solution
Park Rapids Enterprise: Park Rapids City approves Wellhead protection plan

Wildlife & Fish
Pioneer Press: Small-game hunting is on the decline in Minnesota while big-game hunting grows. Why is that?
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: Walleye pond harvest stocks local lakes: Creating angling opportunities
Bemidji Pioneer: UPDATED: Bull moose makes it to shore near Ruttger’s
Star Tribune: Hautman again for the win: Minnesotans continue federal duck stamp dominance
MinnPost: Despite all that undeveloped habitat, Canadian wildlife is in sharp decline
 

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News Watch: September 14, 2017

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September 14, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Conservation, Environmental Justice, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Star Tribune: U researchers help food companies track sustainability of corn

Clean Energy
Duluth News Tribune: Energy savings in Duluth schools awarded, but savings don’t measure up to predictions
The Timberjay: New study: Green energy a major job creator in state
West Central Tribune: Chippewa County wind farm likely to go up in early 2018

Climate Change
Duluth News Tribune: Local View: Our ‘altered planet,’ community focus of UMD Farm event Sunday​
MinnPost: For some Minnesota counties, climate change may bring economic benefits

Conservation
Winona Daily News: Winona’s Citizens Environmental Quality Committee moving to expand its role
Minnesota Daily: UMN research on tree leaves could help environmental protection
Owatonna People’s Press: County seeks public comment on disaster mitigation plan
Faribault Daily News: Seed collectors bring River Bend plant life to home gardens

Mining
La Crosse Tribune: Jackson county landowners appeal effort to block sand mine
Duluth News Tribune: Executive Council approves mining leases
La Crosse Tribune: Wisconsin budget bill strips local government control of quarries
Duluth News Tribune: Reader’s View: PolyMet needs evidentiary hearing

Oil & Pipelines
MPR News: State better off without pipeline, Dayton agency says
WCCO: Commerce Dept.: Proposed Enbridge pipeline ‘unnecessary’ (featuring an interview with MEP’s Steve Morse)
MinnPost: Commerce Department’s analysis of Enbridge’s new pipeline could just be the death of this project
Duluth News Tribune: Reader’s View: Line 3 could worsen climate change
MPR News: ‘Not invisible anymore’: Standing Rock a year after pipeline protests

Parks & Trails
Pioneer Press: Park memorializes 1924 mining disaster

Pollution
Pioneer Press: Air quality alert issued for Minneapolis-St. Paul area
Star Tribune: Mississippi River mayors eye wetlands and parks to reduce flooding and environmental damage
Duluth News Tribune: Help clean up the beaches in Superior this week
Marshall Independent: Ground contaminants found during infrastructure project in Echo

Pollinators
Star Tribune: A new bee ‘sky rise’ in Como Park offers home for pollinators
Mankato Free Press: Hopes for backyard beekeeping busted in St. Peter

Transportation
Star Tribune: Contractors disappointed with Met Council plan to rebid Southwest light rail
Pioneer Press: Maryland Avenue 3-lane traffic experiment will continue. Here are the results so far.
Star Tribune: Bicycle and pedestrian counts taking place this week in Minneapolis

Waste & Recycling
MinnPost: With Zero Waste Challenge and expansions in organic recycling, Hennepin County leads in waste reduction
Brainerd Dispatch: Electronics collection event at Crow Wing County landfill site

Water
Bemidji Pioneer: ’25 by 25′: Town hall on water quality held in Bemidji
The Timberjay: Clean water on agenda in Ely
Rochester Post Bulletin: Buffer compliance coming for farmers
Alexandria Echo Press: Sewer district seeks waiver from stricter discharge limits into Lake Winona
Winona Daily News: Drasbach sewer project continues debate on location
Winona Post: Arcadia’s flood repair conundrum

Wildlife & Fish
Mankato Free Press: Turtle barriers at Spring Lake Park? North Mankato to investigate
International Falls Journal: Report: 101.6 million fish, take part in wildlife activities
 

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Press Statement: Department of Commerce concludes that Line 3 Pipeline is not needed in Minnesota

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PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2017

MEDIA CONTACT:
Sara Wolff, Advocacy Director
Minnesota Environmental Partnership
sara@mepartnership.org, 651-491-1229

Department of Commerce concludes that Line 3 Pipeline is not needed in Minnesota
 

This afternoon the Department of Commerce submitted testimony to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission concluding that Enbridge has not established a need for the proposed Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota as required under state rules. 

The testimony states that “in light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3 without any new pipeline being built.”

Steve Morse, Executive Director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, said, “We commend the Department of Commerce for taking a hard look at the data and carefully considering the criteria that are in law for this type of project.  The Department found that this pipeline is not needed for Minnesota, that it does not benefit Minnesota, and is not good for Minnesota.”  

Of note, Morse said, is that according to the testimony, Enbridge did not provide a “sufficient analysis of future demand, and [the oil market analysis prepared by London Economics International, a global energy economics consulting firm] independently finds that ‘Minnesota demand for refined products appears unlikely to increase in the long term.’”

“The age of growth in fossil fuel demand is over,” Morse said. “We don’t need increased fossil fuel capacity.” Instead, “We need to get about the business of abandoning and cleaning up the existing Line 3.”

Enbridge Energy, a Canadian Energy Company, is proposing to construct a new oil pipeline in Minnesota to replace its existing Line 3 pipeline. The new pipeline would be almost twice as large as the existing pipeline and thus enable it to carry dirtier and heavier Canadian tar sands oil – 760,000 barrels per day, through Minnesota’s most pristine waters, watersheds and tribal communities.

Intensive efforts to educate Minnesotans about the harmful impacts of this project have been carried out by a broad and diverse coalition of Line 3 corridor landowners, Indian tribes and tribal communities, concerned citizens and organizations across the state.

###

About Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a coalition of more than 70 environmental, conservation, and civic 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.

www.mepartnership.org
www.facebook.com/MinnesotaEnvironmentalPartnership
www.twitter.com/MEPartnership
 

News Watch: September 11

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September 11, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Conservation, Environmental Justice, Mining, Oil & Pipelines, Parks & Trails, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Bemidji Pioneer: Growing traditions: Second Red Lake indigenous food summit next week
Forum of Fargo-Moorhead: EPA: Thumbs up to “energy beet” idea
Marshall Independent: Delayed Minnesota lawsuit against Syngenta goes to trial

Clean Energy
Faribault Daily News: Minnesota’s clean energy jobs grew 3.8 times faster than overall job growth
Pioneer Press: Woodbury OKs solar garden, as long as nearby homes won’t see it
Mankato Free Press: City gears up for thirsty power plant

Climate Change
MPR News: Pope blasts climate change doubters, cites moral duty to act

Conservation
Pioneer Press: In Minneapolis-St. Paul, developers filling in Twin Cities’ open spaces
Star Tribune: Sick maple trees “becoming epidemic” in Minnesota
Winona Post: Ash borer in “full rampage mode”

Environmental Justice
Star Tribune: Minneapolis seeks resident input before spending Northern Metals settlement money
Bemidji Pioneer: Two prehistoric Indian sites found in path of FM diversion route

Mining
Star Tribune: Paulsen jumps into BWCA mining ban debate, backs moratorium
WPR News: Mining bill draws support, opposition at public hearing
Mankato Free Press: Quarry blast still under investigation
Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin residents push back against mine looming just over state line

Oil & Pipelines
Star Tribune: Enbridge Line 3 projects pits company’s safety concerns against renewed water activism
Duluth News Tribune: Tribes ask for Line 3 judge dismissal
WPR News: Rally held against Enbridge Line 3 replacement project
Bismarck Tribune: Pipeline opponents hold rally at Energy Transfer Partners headquarters

Parks & Trails
Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota’s newest state park opens Tuesday
Rochester Post Bulletin: What do park users think?
Austin Daily Herald: Austin promotes Ramsey Dam project; Legislative Capital Investment Committee hears waterway bonding proposal

Transportation
Star Tribune: Metro Transit sets State Fair and daily Green Line ridership record
Star Tribune: Mankato caters to growing community by adding more bike repair stations
Alexandria Echo Press: Police with pedals support safety on bike trail

Waste & Recycling
Star Tribune: Collection and disposal of old, unused medicines in Hennepin County mushrooms
Mankato Free Press: State takes title to former Mankato dump

Water
Austin Daily Herald: Buffer letters going out before Nov. 1 cutoff
Mankato Free Press: Mankato, North Mankato look to slow water runoff
Winona Post: Corps to decide farm’s fate this winter

Wildlife & Fish
Star Tribune: DNR deal raises suspicion, distrust among Mille Lacs walleye anglers
Aitkin Independent Age: CWD found on deer farm prompts new feeding bans

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News Watch: September 7

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September 7, 2017

Today’s Topics: Agriculture & Food, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Conservation, Mining, Parks & Trails, Pollinators, Pollution, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Water, Wildlife & Fish

Agriculture & Food
Mankato Free Press: Soybean Association to study dicamba herbicide complaints
Marshall Independent: USDA offers targeted farm loan funding for underserved groups and beginning farmers
Rochester Post Bulletin: NFU makes biofuels a priority in its legislative efforts
Winona Post: Wet year for hay growers

Clean Energy
Southwest Journal: City Council mulls increasing use of renewable energy
Mankato Free Press: Frentz among those pushing for clean energy increase
Finance & Commerce: Sustainable: Energy storage could bolster electric grid
WCCO: Report: Minnesota now has more than 57000 clean energy jobs
Owatonna People’s Press: Al-Corn expansion on-budget, under-schedule, CEO says

Climate Change
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: Climate change group ready to act
MPR News: Climate Gone Wild: Climate connections to fire, smoke, flood, and 175 mph Irma

Conservation
International Falls Journal: Sustainable timber harvest analysis is under way
Pioneer Press: Ford site: 110-foot building max lowered, unless developers add green space
MPR News: Hunters sour on Trump’s interior secretary over public lands review

Mining
The Timberjay: Otto jumps into Ely mining debate

Parks & Trails
Duluth News Tribune: Hartley making progress: New trails, parking, more at Duluth park
Star Tribune: Minnesota’s fall colors could be more vibrant earlier this year

Pollinators
MPR News: Farmers, beekeepers put aside their differences to aid bees
Mankato Free Press: Monarchs putting on a strong show locally
Pioneer Press: PolliNATION: Stillwater hosting party for pollinators to highlight their vital role

Pollution
Minnesota Daily: University files lawsuit over hazardous materials detected at properties near Rosemount
Duluth News Tribune: Duluth mayor opposes fee for shopping bags

Transportation
Winona Daily News: MnDOT releases updated state bike trail map, Winona a bronze level bike-friendly community​
Star Tribune: Three Rivers Park District critiques bike-pedestrian bridge in Edina

Waste & Recycling
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: City moves forward with landfill expansion
Winona Daily News: Buffalo County debates feasibility of ‘single-stream’ recycling service’

Water
Marshall Independent: Lyon County appoints liaison to LPRW Board
Rochester Post Bulletin: Where to put 40 years worth of dredge material?

Wildlife & Fish
MPR News: As Mille Lacs walleye season ends, DNR prepares to survey lake’s fish population
West Central Tribune: State pheasant index down 26 percent from last year
Rochester Post Bulletin: John Weiss: Anglers help DNR study sturgeon
 

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The Wild Rice Harvest Begins, Under Threat from Oil Pipelines

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By Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership


At the end of every Minnesota summer, a centuries-old tradition continues on the waters home to the plant the Ojibwe call “manoomin”– wild rice. It’s known to many as the state grain of Minnesota, but wild rice has a much greater significance to the Ojibwe bands around the state who call these lands and waters home. Manoomin lies at the heart of Ojibwe history, culture, and well-being, and tribal members maintain the treaty rights to continue to harvest it and protect the lakes it grows on. Unfortunately, these rights have not always been respected by outside interests who seek to profit from the use of these waters – namely the oil pipelines that already cross these vulnerable waters.

Wild rice has formed an integral part of the Ojibwe people’s identity since they first came to the lands that now include Minnesota. According to oral history, the Ojibwe were told by the Creator to seek out land “where food grows on the water.” Manoomin has since been a staple of Ojibwe meals, and the harvest has successively been passed down to each generation. As a natural grain, it has tremendous health benefits. Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor the Earth and member of the White Earth Band, called it “Food for the belly and food for the soul. Its nutritional value is incomparable.”

 It’s a tradition that brings together communities. In an interview Debra Topping, a member of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, said that she had spent the morning harvesting with family members, and said she hoped for her grandson to soon participate and learn about the tradition. Harvesters work from around 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon for roughly a month, using “knockers” made by community members to collect the grain. And wild rice isn’t solely a crop for human consumption – it feeds all of the life in the area it grows, including worms, insects, fish, and the animals and birds that prey on them – Topping has seen owl pellets containing still-intact grains of manoomin.

Because wild rice is a resource vulnerable to overharvesting and pollution, tribal communities carefully manage its use. Levi Brown, Director of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s Environmental Department and member of the Leech Lake Band, said that the harvest time and length is determined by a community rice committee based on weather and the health of the paddies. In this, he says, “It is a government by and for the people.” The Leech Lake community manages an important and enormous resource – one-tenth of all the water in Minnesota is within the reservation’s borders, and the size of the resulting wild rice crop averages around 250,000 pounds a year.

As expansive as the wild rice waters are today, they have fallen precipitously since white settlers arrived. Winona LaDuke states that more than 70% of the original waters no longer support the grain, and threats to the remaining waters continue to mount. This is despite the treaty rights the Ojibwe hold, allowing them to have sole harvest and regulatory control over the crop on treaty lands. Said Levi Brown, “If you have the sole right to regulate the resource, doesn’t it make sense that you should have the ability to protect it from harm?”

These rights are at the core of the Ojibwe struggle against Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline, which would pump some of the dirtiest oil on earth directly through wild rice watersheds. According to Winona LaDuke, other Enbridge pipelines in the same area have already leaked, and no EIS has ever been conducted on the damage they have done. Previous studies of the new Line 3 indicate that there is no possible route that would not harm wild rice waters. The damage that a spill would cause would be catastrophic, and possibly irreparable to the grain’s survival.

The Ojibwe have decisively said “no” to this new pipeline, but so far it has continued to move forward through the regulatory steps, and Enbridge has already begun construction on the Wisconsin segment of Line 3. Debra Topping says she is doing her best to educate people who haven’t heard about the pipeline’s consequences, so that Enbridge and the Department of Commerce will have to face public accountability. And Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth, and tribal members have promised to continue the fight against Line 3 at every stage of the process. “My family has riced for generations,” LaDuke said, “and you’re not going to take that away from us.”

To learn more about Line 3’s impacts on the Ojibwe and northern Minnesotans, and how you can be an ally in this battle, visit www.stopline3.org. For more information on pipelines, water, climate issues, and more ways to take action, you can also visit our website at www.mepartnership.org.

Thanks to Levi Brown, Debra Topping, Winona LaDuke, and Irene Folstrom for their contributions to this article, and for their work to protect Minnesota’s waters and wild rice.

Insider: September 8, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

   

The Wild Rice Harvest Begins, Under Threat from Oil Pipelines

At the end of every Minnesota summer, a centuries-old tradition continues on the waters home to the plant the Ojibwe call “manoomin”– wild rice. It’s known to many as the state grain of Minnesota, but wild rice has a much greater significance to the Ojibwe bands around the state who call these lands and waters home. Manoomin lies at the heart of Ojibwe history, culture, and well-being, and tribal members maintain the treaty rights to continue to harvest it and protect the lakes it grows on. Unfortunately, these rights have been disregarded by outside interests who seek to profit by polluting – namely the oil pipelines that already cross these vulnerable waters.

Wild rice has formed an integral part of the Ojibwe people’s identity since they first came to the lands that now include Minnesota. According to oral history, the Ojibwe were told by the Creator to seek out land “where food grows on the water.” Manoomin has since been a staple of Ojibwe meals, and the harvest has successively been passed down to each generation. As a natural grain, it has tremendous health benefits. Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor the Earth and member of the White Earth Band, called it “Food for the belly and food for the soul. Its nutritional value is incomparable.”

 It’s a tradition that brings together communities. In an interview Debra Topping, a member of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, said that she had spent the morning harvesting with family members, and said she hoped for her grandson to soon participate and learn about the tradition. Harvesters work from around 9:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon for roughly a month, using “knockers” made by community members to collect the grain. And wild rice isn’t solely a crop for human consumption – it feeds all of the life in the area it grows, including worms, insects, fish, and the animals and birds that prey on them – Topping has seen owl pellets containing still-intact grains of manoomin.

Because wild rice is a resource vulnerable to overharvesting and pollution, tribal communities carefully manage its use. Levi Brown, Director of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s Environmental Department and member of the Leech Lake Band, said that the harvest time and length is determined by a community rice committee based on weather and the health of the paddies. In this, he says, “It is a government by and for the people.” The Leech Lake community manages an important and enormous resource – one-tenth of all the water in Minnesota is within the reservation’s borders, and the size of the resulting wild rice crop averages around 250,000 pounds a year.

 

As expansive as the wild rice waters are today, they have fallen precipitously since white settlers arrived. Winona LaDuke says that more than 70% of the original waters no longer support the grain, and threats to the remaining waters continue to mount. This is despite the treaty rights the Ojibwe hold, allowing them to have sole harvest and regulatory control over the crop on treaty lands. Said Levi Brown, “If have the sole right to regulate the resource, doesn’t it make sense that you should have the ability to protect it from harm?”

These rights are at the core of the Ojibwe struggle against Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline, which would pump some of the dirtiest oil on earth directly through wild rice watersheds. According to Winona LaDuke, other Enbridge pipelines in the same area have already leaked, and no EIS has ever been conducted on the damage they have done. Previous studies of the new Line 3 indicate that there is no possible route that would not harm wild rice waters. The damage that a spill would cause would be catastrophic, and likely irreparable to the grain’s survival.

The Ojibwe have decisively said “no” to this new pipeline, but so far it has continued to move forward through the regulatory steps, and Enbridge has already begun construction on the Wisconsin segment of Line 3. Debra Topping says she is doing her best to educate people who haven’t heard about the pipeline’s consequences, so that Enbridge and the Department of Commerce will have to face public accountability. And Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth, and tribal members have promised to continue the fight against Line 3 at every stage of the process. “My family has riced for generations,” LaDuke said, “and you’re not going to take that away from us.”

To learn more about Line 3’s impacts on the Ojibwe and northern Minnesotans, and how you can be an ally in this battle, visit www.stopline3.org. For more information on pipelines, water, climate issues, and more ways to take action, you can also visit our website at www.mepartnership.org


The Energy Fair comes to St. Paul September 9-10

Join dozens of groups from the clean energy community this weekend at The Energy Fair, September 9th and 10th at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul. Admission is FREE to 80+ workshops and 60+ exhibits on sustainable living, community resilience, and clean energy. The fair will feature several speakers from MEP member groups, including keynote speaker Tara Houska of Honor the Earth, as well as Fresh Energy’s Michael Noble. There will be free rides available from Metro Transit and all-electric shuttle from Union Depot. Solar Professional Day September 8th. All access passes and information can be found at TheEnergyFair.org. We hope to see you there!

Surge in Minnesota clean-energy jobs prompts calls for tighter energy standards

(From Star Tribune) — Jobs related to clean energy in Minnesota have grown 5.3 percent over the past year, a significant uptick that prompted a bipartisan team of state lawmakers and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to call Thursday for boosting the state’s renewable energy goals in 2018. Over the last year, the state added 2,893 jobs in the clean energy industry for a total of 57,351 jobs, according to a new report from the nonprofit group Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, an industry-led nonprofit group. That’s nearly four times faster than the overall job growth rate in Minnesota — and evidence that the state should keep up the momentum, officials said in a news conference at the State Capitol. Clean energy jobs now comprise 1.9 percent of the state’s total employment, with the bulk of those jobs involved with increasing energy efficiency, in buildings for instance. >Read More.

Sustainable: Energy storage could bolster electric grid

(From Finance and Commerce) — While solar and wind continue to capture headlines and investments in the renewable energy economy, the prospect of more affordable energy storage could bring significant changes to the electric grid. Across the country, the idea of pairing solar with energy storage is taking hold, with one such project having been recently completed in Duluth and another proposed by Connexus Energy, the state’s largest electricity cooperative. For several years, Xcel Energy has had a one-megawatt battery in Luverne, a pilot project to capture wind energy in southwest Minnesota. It has also proposed to regulators a solar-storage project in Belle Plaine. >>Read More.


                

Raiding Clean Water Fund damages clean water quest

(From Morrison County Record) — In 2008, during the Great Recession, Minnesotans voted by a considerable margin to amend the state constitution to increase their taxes. The state sales tax was increased by three-eighths of 1 percent for 25 years with the increased revenue to be dedicated to four distinct purposes. One-third of the new revenue is constitutionally dedicated to “…the Clean Water Fund and may be spent only to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and to protect groundwater from degradation….” The constitutional amendment further provides that these funds “… must supplement traditional sources of funding for these purposes and may not be used as a substitute.” >>Read More.

New findings suggest serious threat to Great Lakes fish from, yes, Prozac

(From MinnPost) — New research from the Niagara River suggests that Great Lakes fish are consuming and concentrating pharmaceutical pollution  — especially antidepressants and their breakdown products  — in amounts considerably higher than previous studies have indicated. Because these compounds have a demonstrated ability to harm fish by inducing physiological and behavioral changes, the lead scientist on the project says, the results demonstrate “a threat to biodiversity, and we should be very concerned.” Those are the words of Diana Aga, a chemistry professor at the University of Buffalo who specializes in gauging the environmental effects of new, nonindustrial “pollutants of emerging concern.” >>Read More.

Dayton’s 25 by 25 meetings head north, then to Twin Cities Metro

Governor Dayton has so far hosted five of his ten planned town hall meetings on his proposed “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal throughout Minnesota. The Governor is seeking input on how to improve the health of our state’s waters by 25% by the year 2025, and wants to hear Minnesotans’ ideas. The next several meetings will be coming to Ely and Bemidji, with events in the Twin Cities Metro to follow. For more information on how you can give your own input at a town hall, visit www.eqb.state.mn.us/25by25

   


          

Soybean Association to study dicamba herbicide complaints

(From Mankato Free Press) —  Farmers across the state and the Midwest have filed complaints of a new dicamba herbicide sprayed on neighbors’ fields that has spread onto their soybeans, causing damage to the plants. “There have been over 200 reports of damage that have come into the Department of Agriculture in nearly 50 counties. There is speculation that only 30 percent of damaged fields have been reported,” said Michael Petefish, president of the Mankato-based Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. The growing concern over dicamba and other herbicides being developed to kill weeds that have become resistant to other weed killers led the association to form a dicamba task force. They hope to learn the reasons for the damage and to find the best ways to fight resistant weeds while protecting crops. >>Read More.

           

photo credit: NASA

Emmer, Nolan add amendment to defund mining study

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Minnesota U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and Rick Nolan late Wednesday successfully added an amendment to a House appropriations bill to defund a proposed U.S. Forest Service study of all mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The study was proposed earlier this year, along with a moratorium on mining near the BWCAW, a move that would stifle the proposed Twin Metals copper mine along the Kawishiwi River southeast of Ely. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management also denied Twin Metals permits needed to prospect or mine on federal land in the area. Amendment  No. 70 to the Interior Environment Appropriations portion of the omnibus bill prohibits the Forest Service from spending any money on the study. The full bill passed a House vote late Thursday. >>Read More.


           

Farmers, beekeepers put aside differences to aid bees

(From MPR News) — A new pilot project in North Dakota aims to get past frequent finger-pointing between beekeepers and farmers over the decline in bee populations and get them to work together with scientists to reverse the trend. “It’s an effort to help everybody realize that it is a complex issue and that solving one of the issues that causes stress for bees is not going to solve all of the problems,” said Zac Browning, a fourth-generation beekeeper at Browning’s Honey Company near Jamestown, N.D., and one of the project’s developers. The honey bee industry has struggled for years with the effects of disease, parasites, pesticides and the loss of habitat to feed bees. Those problems have often created tensions between beekeepers and agriculture over where to place blame for bee colony losses, and led to simplistic and unsuccessful fixes. >>Read More.


                

photo credit: MPR

University files lawsuit over hazardous materials detected at properties near Rosemount

(From Minnesota Daily) — The University of Minnesota is suing the federal government and DuPont over hazardous materials detected at one of its properties. The $3 million lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court of Minnesota on Aug. 11, is seeking reimbursement for investigations and potential cleanup costs at a nearly 8,000-acre University property near Rosemount, Minnesota. The land makes up the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education (UMore) Park and Vermillion Highlands. The site was originally operated by DuPont through a government contract during World War II to make gunpowder. >>Read More.

 


Weekly Outdoor Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!            

1. What Minnesota city and county are named after the Ojibwe word for wild rice?
 

2. The two longest rivers with segments in Minnesota are the Mississippi and the Red River of the North. What is the third-longest, which flows through a city in Iowa?
 

3. On what lake on the Mississippi River did Minnesota inventor Ralph Samuelson develop the sport he created – water skiing?

Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Minnesota Organizer | Pesticide Action Network

Public Engagement Fellow | Sierra Club North Star Chapter

Conservation Director | Friends of the Mississippi River

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings

Trivia Answers: 1) Mahnomen 2) Des Moines 3) Lake Pepin


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Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Copyright © 2017
546 Rice Street, Suite 100, Saint Paul, MN 55103
www.mepartnership.org
 

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.

Insider: September 1, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

   

photo credit: Freshwater Society

                                   White Bear Lake Ruling May Impact Other MN Waters

On Wednesday, August 30, Ramsey County District Judge Margaret Marrinan ruled that state officials had failed to exercise adequate stewardship of White Bear Lake and the aquifer beneath it. The lake, located among the northern suburbs of St. Paul, had reached distressingly low water levels in previous years. Judge Marrinan ruled that the DNR had not managed the water’s sustainability, in violation of state law, by allowing too much water pumping by the surrounding cities. The ruling requires the DNR to restrict expanded water use and enact policies that would cut down on water pumping in the area during dry periods. It is unclear at this time whether the DNR will seek to appeal the decision.

This case will certainly have local impacts on the White Bear Lake community. But it connects to larger questions of how the state conducts enforcement of existing environmental laws. The Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, referenced in Judge Marrinan’s decision, declares that everyone in Minnesota has the both right to protected land, air, and water and the responsibility to contribute to their protection, and it provides for mechanisms for ordinary citizens to make sure that the state is living up to its end of the bargain. Though the DNR plays a critical role in using sound science to make decisions on water protection, it does not always meet its obligation to keep our lakes sustainable. In situations like White Bear Lake, it may fall on citizens and action groups to demand that Minnesota’s resource laws be followed, not only when it is convenient, but whenever it is necessary.

At a moment when nutrient pollution and mining decisions are under debate around the state, cases like this one make us question: how can we do better? Water is Minnesota’s most precious resource, and it’s important to remember that keeping its clean is the right – and responsibility – of all of us.


The Energy Fair comes to St. Paul September 9-10

Join dozens of groups from the clean energy community at The Energy Fair, September 9th and 10th at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul. Admission is FREE to 80+ workshops and 60+ exhibits on sustainable living, community resilience, and clean energy. The fair will feature several speakers from MEP member groups, including keynote speaker Tara Houska of Honor the Earth, as well as Fresh Energy’s Michael Noble. There will be free rides available from Metro Transit and all-electric shuttle from Union Depot. Solar Professional Day September 8th. All access passes and information can be found at TheEnergyFair.org. We hope to see you there!

Tracy Schools to light up with solar arrays

(From Marshall Independent) — Tracy Area Public Schools will be lighting up savings with its own solar arrays in the near future. The Tracy School Board voted 5-1 to place the array on the west side of the high school and directly to the east of the elementary school soccer field. Board member Ben Ludeman was the sole “no”vote and refused to comment. There had been a choice of two sites for the high school array. In addition to the chosen site immediately on the west side of the school, there was a patch across the driveway to the parking lot to the northwest side of the school that was considered. “Construction will start this fall, and, dependent on weather may have to be completed in the spring ’18,” Tracy Superintendent Chad Anderson said. >>Read More.


                

Antidepressants turning up in Great Lakes Fish

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Human antidepressant drugs are showing up in the brains of fish in the Great Lakes region, an unexpected byproduct of human waste that isn’t being removed in the sewage treatment process. The University at Buffalo in New York reported Thursday that “high concentrations” of antidepressants are building up in the brains of trout, walleye, bass and several other fish sampled from the Niagara River between lakes Erie and Ontario, the downstream end of the Great Lakes system. The drugs were found in all 10 species studied, said Diana Aga, lead scientists on the study who said the discovery raises “serious environmental concerns.” >>Read More.

Dayton’s 25 by 25 meetings head north, then to Twin Cities Metro

Governor Dayton has so far hosted three of his ten planned town hall meetings on his proposed “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal throughout Minnesota. The Governor is seeking input on how we can improve the health of our state’s waters by 25% by the year 2025, and wants to hear Minnesotans’ ideas. The next several meetings will be coming to Crookston, Ely, St. Cloud, and Bemidji, with events in the Metro to follow. For more information on how you can give your own input at a town hall, visit www.eqb.state.mn.us/25by25

   


          

photo credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Fall Field Day to follow-up on cover crops; Mower SWCD offering free tours of three farms on Oct. 31

(From Austin Daily Herald) — Local producers will reopen their Mower County farms this fall to show their cover crops after harvest as well as discuss other soil-health practices. Mower Soil and Water Conservation District is planning a free Fall Field Day for Oct. 31 as a follow-up to a similar tour offered in late May on cover crops and soil health that drew about 90 people. In the spring, the event showcased cover crop fields at three area farms – Tom Cotter, Tom Finnegan and Terry and Cindy Hamilton – by busing participants to the sites. Cotter and Finnegan have been doing extensive outreach work on cover crops and soil health under a Cover Crop Champion grant this year awarded by the National Wildlife Federation to the Mower SWCD office. >>Read More.


           

Line 3 pipeline construction in Wisconsin sparks protests, arrests

(From MPR News) — Six self-described “water protectors” have now all been bailed out of a Wisconsin jail after being arrested Tuesday for protesting an oil pipeline. The protesters temporarily stopped construction of what’s known as Line 3, the oil pipeline Enbridge Energy wants to build across northern Minnesota. It would replace an existing 50-year-old line that’s still under regulatory review in Minnesota, but the company has already started work across the border. Alexander Good-Cane-Milk of the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota was among the protesters. He locked himself to a piece of heavy equipment just across the Minnesota border, south of Superior, Wis., according to his girlfriend Ta’Sina Sapa Win. >>Read More.


           

The great butterfly release

(From Le Center Leader, featuring Izaak Walton League of Minnesota) — It was a day finer than a frog haircut four ways. I enjoy going to the Steele County Fair. I had a purpose there. No, I wasn’t the guy they shot out of a cannon. I volunteered at the Friends of Rice Lake State Park (RLSP) booth located at the Izaak Walton League’s Building during the fair. It’s a fine place to be. >>Read More.


                

DOT releases new statewide bicycle map

(From Savage Pacer) — Minnesota is among the friendliest states for bicyclists, according to the League of American Bicyclists. And now it just got a little friendlier. The Minnesota Department of Transportation released the 2017 statewide bicycle map and it’s now available a ton of places.You can find a copy of the new map at the Minnesota State Fair at the Kick Gas exhibit, which is at the Eco Experience Building on Randall Avenue, MnDOT says. You can also get it at MnDOT’s booth, which is in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street. You can also get one online and you will also be able to find maps at campgrounds, rest areas and visitor centers throughout Minnesota cities. >>Read More.

Southwest LRT barrier wall raises the ire of neighbors, lawmakers

(From Star Tribune) — Lawmakers and some Minneapolis residents continue to raise questions about a proposed concrete wall that would separate freight and light-rail trains along a short stretch of the planned Southwest LRT route. News of the mile-long, 10-foot-high, 3-foot-wide wall emerged earlier this month after the Metropolitan Council reached an agreement with BNSF Railway over sharing the freight giant’s right of way just west of Target Field. The Met Council will build and operate the 14.5-mile light-rail line connecting downtown Minneapolis with Eden Prairie. >>Read More.


Weekly Outdoor Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!            

1. What is Minnesota’s official state grain?
 

2. What are the names of the two U.S. National Forests in Minnesota?
 

3. What 60-mile-long land formation in southwest Minnesota features more than 200 wind turbines?

Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Minnesota Organizer | Pesticide Action Network

Public Engagement Fellow | Sierra Club North Star Chapter

Conservation Director | Friends of the Mississippi River

Membership and Individual Giving Associate | Land Stewardship Project – Apply by September 1

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

Executive Director, Southwest | Regional Sustainable Development Partnership University of Minnesota Extension

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings

Trivia Answers: 1) Wild rice 2) Chippewa and Superior 3) Buffalo Ridge


Follow Us

   

Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Copyright © 2017
546 Rice Street, Suite 100, Saint Paul, MN 55103
www.mepartnership.org
 

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.

News Watch: August 31

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August 31, 2017

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

Agriculture & Food
Austin Daily Herald: Fall Field Day to follow-up on cover crops; Mower SWCD offering free tours of three farms on Oct. 31

Clean Energy
Marshall Independent: Tracy schools to light up with solar arrays
Winona Daily News: Winona continues energy partnership with Xcel throughout fall

Climate Change
MPR News: Floods in South Asia have killed more than 1,000 people this summer
New York Times: Beyond Houston, a world awash
MPR News: What climate science says about hurricanes

Conservation
Austin Daily Herald: CREP signups open in Mower County, state; Mower SWCD seeks landowners to discuss permanent conservation
Mankato Free Press: Emerald ash borer invades Martin County
Austin Daily Herald: Hog Roast fundraiser to support environmental education in Austin

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Chippewa lawyers tell federal judge another company is trying to sabotage restart of Essar Steel Minnesota

Oil & Pipelines
Bismarck Tribune: Enbridge, local responders train for pipeline leak in Red River
The Detroit News: State demands Enbridge fix Mackinac pipe coating gaps
Duluth News Tribune: Six charged in protest at pipeline worksite in Douglas County

Parks & Trails
The Timberjay: State park campground set to open Sept. 12
Faribault Daily News: Over 500 SSM students and staff help beautify Faribault’s parks and trails
Pioneer Press: New camper cabins, $7.4 million campground opens at Whitewater State Park
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: Blazing a new trail: Mountain bike trail progress made in Fergus Falls

Pollinators
Le Center Leader: The great butterfly release

Pollution
Wisconsin State Journal: Secretary Cathy Stepp leaving DNR to join Donald Trump’s EPA

Transportation
Savage Pacer: DOT releases new statewide bicycle map
La Crosse Tribune: First Open Streets La Crosse event brings new activities to Bicycle Fest weekend

Waste & Recycling
WCCO: Got an old cell phone? Recycle it at the State Fair
Waste Dive: Rep. Ellison calls for a zero-waste revolution and industry shake-up

Water
Star Tribune: Judge rules state of Minnesota failed to protect White Bear Lake, aquifer
West Central Tribune: Yard debris is a water quality concern in Willmar
Alexandria Echo Press: No new wells in Alexandria
Minnesota Conservation Volunteer: Spreading like wildflowers
Duluth News Tribune: WLSSD sewer line fix near Esko may hit $6 million
Alexandria Echo Press: Lake Minnewaska looking for a knock out in algae fight

Wildlife & Fish
Winona Daily News: Buffalo county bird tests positive for West Nile Virus
St. Cloud Times: Stearns included in expanded ban on feeding deer
The Timberjay: Bear permits trimmed
International Falls Journal: DNR: Avoid shooting radio-collared bears
La Crosse Tribune: Army Corps adjusts Genoa dam to slow spread of invasive carp

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