Great Lakes Commission Visits Duluth, Talks Water and Infrastructure Solutions

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By Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership

On Tuesday and Thursday, September 19-20, the city of Duluth hosted the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), an interstate compact dedicated to discussing and implementing good public policy for water, land, and economic prosperity in the Great Lakes region. Members from eight states as well as Ontario and Quebec visited the Twin Ports, where they elected John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, as the GLC’s new chairman. Staff from MEP attended to learn from Great Lakes experts and offer input on pressing problems facing the region, and had the opportunity to view restoration projects that have already been accomplished in Duluth’s harbor.

The Commission’s most critical accomplishment was agreeing on an action plan to tackle the water infrastructure problems facing Great Lakes communities today. States around the basin are in need of drinking- and wastewater infrastructure upgrades that meet the needs of this century and prevent further pollution of these critical waters. These are issues that no city or state can address alone: the Commission will have to work with local stakeholders, federal agencies, and programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to move these projects forward.

Fortunately, Duluth provided an excellent opportunity for policymakers to learn. Native American leaders from the Fond du Lac Band and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission spoke about tribal sovereignty, engaging with indigenous communities, and the importance of wild rice as a critical resource for Great Lakes tribes. By listening to tribal, state, and local concerns in tackling the environmental challenges that face the Great Lakes, the GLC has an opportunity to build a cleaner and more equitable future for all of us who depend on these precious waters.

For more information on the GLC and Great Lakes issues, check out the 2017 Annual Meeting Briefing Book – the critical Joint Action Plan on clean water infrastructure can be found starting on page 38.

MEP Welcomes Commerce Testimony on Line 3

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By Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership

On Monday, September 11, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released an analysis arguing that the proposed Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline, which would carry Alberta tar sands oil across Northern Minnesota, was not needed by the state, based on independent analysis of oil consumption projections. The Department further testifed that the pipeline’s environmental and social impacts on Minnesotans would outweigh the benefits, and that the previous Line 3, which is aging and running at low-capacity, should be removed and cleaned up. This analysis came as a surprise to many observers, especially considering that Enbridge has already begun construction on segments of the pipeline in Wisconsin in Canada.

Steve Morse, the Minnesota Environmental Partnership’s Executive Director, welcomed the Commerce conclusions in a press release. “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.”

Though this report represents a significant blow against this hazardous pipeline, the Department of Commerce does not have the authority to prevent Line 3. The politically independent Public Utilities Commission will consider these and other arguments in hearings next spring, when it determines whether to grant Line 3 a certificate of need. But it is clear that sustained pressure from advocates on the pipeline’s harmful effects is not going unheard.

The Public Utilities Commission should take into account the harmful effects that this oil pipeline would have on water, climate change, and the health and livelihoods of Minnesota’s indigenous communities. And it should carefully consider the Department of Commerce conclusion that this new fossil fuel infrastructure is not needed. It will take continued, vocal advocacy from Minnesotans to make sure that these concerns are heard. We invite residents from across our state to educate their neighbors and speak up on Line 3’s threats to our water and climate. Visit mepartnership.org to learn more find out how to take action!

Department of Commerce News Release on Line 3
MEP press statement on Department of Commerce testimony
WCCO coverage of Commerce testimony, featuring interview with Steve Morse

Insider: September 22, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

 

Great Lakes Commission Visits Duluth, Talks Water and Infrastructure Solutions

On Tuesday and Thursday, September 19-20, the city of Duluth hosted the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), an interstate compact dedicated to discussing and implementing good public policy for water, land, and economic prosperity in the Great Lakes region. Members from eight states as well as Ontario and Quebec visited the Twin Ports, where they elected John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, as the GLC’s new chairman. Staff from MEP attended to learn from Great Lakes experts and offer input on pressing problems facing the region, and had the opportunity to view restoration projects that have already been accomplished in Duluth’s harbor.

The Commission’s most critical accomplishment was agreeing on an action plan to tackle the water infrastructure problems facing Great Lakes communities today. States around the basin are in need of drinking- and wastewater infrastructure upgrades that meet the needs of this century and prevent further pollution of these critical waters. These are issues that no city or state can address alone: the Commission will have to work with local stakeholders, federal agencies, and programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to move these projects forward.

Fortunately, Duluth provided an excellent opportunity for policymakers to learn. Native American leaders from the Fond du Lac Band and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission spoke about tribal sovereignty, engaging with indigenous communities, and the importance of wild rice as a critical resource for Great Lakes tribes. By listening to tribal, state, and local concerns in tackling the environmental challenges that face the Great Lakes, the GLC has an opportunity to build a cleaner and more equitable future for all of us who depend on these precious waters.

For more information on the GLC and Great Lakes issues, check out the 2017 Annual Meeting Briefing Book – the critical Joint Action Plan on clean water infrastructure can be found starting on page 38.



photo credit: NASA

Our View: Keep up pressure for good of Great Lakes

(From Duluth News Tribune) – Just two months after the future brightened for a federal program actually making real progress in cleaning up the St. Louis River and other heavily polluted “areas of concern,” public and political pressure turned up even more this week for the future of the Great Lakes. First, about that federal program, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: In March, it was listed among potential federal budget cuts under then-new President Donald Trump. The initiative’s $300 million annual appropriation faced a slash to just $10 million, a whopping 97 percent reduction. Then it got worse. In late May, the Trump administration’s budget blueprint to Congress eliminated the initiative’s funding altogether. >>Read More.

White Bear Lake homeowners won their lawsuit over water levels. Now what?

(From Pioneer Press) — White Bear Lake-area officials and residents are struggling to comprehend the implications of a lawsuit concerning the lake’s water levels. The August ruling by a Ramsey County judge ordered restrictions on local water use. City officials from White Bear Lake and other municipalities are concerned the ruling, which includes a potential residential watering ban, could burden area residents. Meanwhile, homeowners say the decision raises the question of whether communities should look beyond wells for their water. “We need to find out more information about, if the ruling stands, what impact it will have on our overall community,” said Tom Snell, executive director of the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce. >>Read More.

Dayton’s 25 by 25 meetings head to the Twin Cities

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 Minneapolis, Burnsville, and Stillwater. To find out how you can give your own input at a town hall, visit www.eqb.state.mn.us/25by25


                

image credit: MN350

Hold the Line to Stop Line 3 on September 28

On the afternoon Thursday, September 28, Minnesotans from around the state will gather at the State Capitol to speak out against the proposed Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline. The group will hold a protest rally there at 4:00 PM, featuring jingle dress dancers and speakers, including Honor the Earth’s National Campaign Director Tara Houska.

At 5:00, the coalition will march to the Intercontinental Hotel downtown to attend a public hearing on Line 3 held by the Public Utilities Commission. The PUC is gathering testimony on whether Line 3 should be granted a certificate of need, and this is a critical time for Minnesotans to speak up!

This event will be hosted by a collaboration of groups allied to protect water and tribal resources and combat climate change in Minnesota. To find out how to get involved, visit the Action Network page or the Facebook event.

Almanac Debate: Enbridge Oil Pipeline Controversy

On Friday, September 15, MEP Executive Director Steve Morse was featured on the TPT (Twin Cities PBS) program Almanac, where he debated Cam Winton of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce on whether the state has a need for the Line 3 pipeline. Morse explained how the PUC came to the conclusion that neither the aging, current Line 3 nor its proposed replacement is needed by Minnesotans. He went on to say that, while it will take time to transition away from fossil fuels, this pipeline would be a step in the wrong direction, and its benefits would not be worth the costs. Watch the full video here. 

   


          

photo credit: NASA

Northern Minnesota leaders don’t want the answers a Forest Service mining study might yield

(From MinnPost) — Political backers of the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine near Ely have made progress in seeking to undermine federal funding for an ongoing study of the potential effects of sulfide mining within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) watershed. It’s all part of a push by Eighth District Rep. Rick Nolan and many local politicians to re-establish mineral leases for Twin Metals which the Obama administration canceled back in December and to head off any examination of some of the economic downsides of copper-nickel mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters. Sadly, such battles are too often simply about the fight, and the politics of the fight, rather than part of an overall strategic vision that has the potential to move the region’s economy forward. >>Read More.

           

photo credit: The Land Institute

Greenspace: Chatfield tests new cover crop that protects groundwater

(From Rochester Post Bulletin) — Chatfield officials are planting an uncommon crop in hopes of protecting the town’s drinking water supply. The City of Chatfield is working with the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Rural Water Association to determine the viability of Kernza, an intermediate wheatgrass. Officials planted Kernza on 3 acres of city-owned land last week as part of an effort to protect the local water supply. Chatfield is the first city in Southeast Minnesota to plant Kernza — a perennial crop sporting a dense root structure. >>Read More.

           

Southwest light-rail wall draws the ire of Minneapolis, state officials

(From Star Tribune) — A proposed concrete wall along a portion of the proposed $1.9 billion Southwest light-rail route in Minneapolis has drawn the ire of elected officials who want an additional environmental study done before the partition is built. The $20 million wall was requested by BNSF Railway while it was in right-of-way negotiations with the Metropolitan Council, which will build and operate the 14½-mile line between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. The regional planning body approved the construction of the mile-long wall between the Royalston Avenue/Farmers Market and Bryn Mawr stations last month, part of a broader agreement with BNSF. >>Read More.


                

Want to attract Amazon? Try winning the wind race

(From MinnPost) — Last week, Minneapolis-St. Paul signaled its intention to join the race to entice Amazon to locate its new headquarters in the Twin Cities. While local officials pull together a package they hope will win the day, it’s worth considering how our friendly neighbors to the south have managed to persuade so many companies to set up shop in Iowa. Iowa, it turns out, can offer one thing more and more major corporations want: easy access to low-cost, renewable energy. In a recently published national opinion piece, “The red state with an energy blueprint,” Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds extolled Iowa’s burgeoning wind industry and the 37 percent of Iowa’s electricity provided by homegrown wind power. >>Read More.

 


Weekly Outdoor Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!            

1. What conifer, named for a European country, is Minnesota’s official state tree?

2. What river, sharing its name with a type of liquor, connects Lake Mille Lacs with the Mississippi?

3. Minnesota has more bald eagles than any other state except for…?

Upcoming Environmental Events

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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) Norway Pine 2) Rum River 3) Alaska


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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 16, 2017

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MEP Welcomes Commerce Testimony on Line 3

On Monday, September 11, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released an analysis arguing that the proposed Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline, which would carry Alberta tar sands oil across Northern Minnesota, was not needed by the state, based on independent analysis of oil consumption projections. The Department further testifed that the pipeline’s environmental and social impacts on Minnesotans would outweigh the benefits, and that the previous Line 3, which is aging and running at low-capacity, should be removed and cleaned up. This analysis came as a surprise to many observers, especially considering that Enbridge has already begun construction on segments of the pipeline in Wisconsin in Canada.

Steve Morse, the Minnesota Environmental Partnership’s Executive Director, welcomed the Commerce conclusions in a press release. “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.”

Though this report represents a significant blow against this hazardous pipeline, the Department of Commerce does not have the authority to prevent Line 3. The politically independent Public Utilities Commission will consider these and other arguments in hearings next spring, when it determines whether to grant Line 3 a certificate of need. But it is clear that sustained pressure from advocates on the pipeline’s harmful effects is not going unheard.

The Public Utilities Commission should take into account the harmful effects that this oil pipeline would have on water, climate change, and the health and livelihoods of Minnesota’s indigenous communities. And it should carefully consider the Department of Commerce conclusion that this new fossil fuel infrastructure is not needed. It will take continued, vocal advocacy from Minnesotans to make sure that these concerns are heard. We invite residents from across our state to educate their neighbors and speak up on Line 3’s threats to our water and climate. Visit mepartnership.org to learn more find out how to take action!

Department of Commerce News Release on Line 3
MEP press statement on Department of Commerce testimony
WCCO coverage of Commerce testimony, featuring interview with Steve Morse



photo credit: NASA

Great Lakes Commission to work on water solutions in Duluth

Next week, the city of Duluth will host the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), an interstate compact dedicated to discussing and implementing good public policy for water, land, and economic prosperity in the Great Lakes region. MEP staff will be in attendance to join in discussing solutions to some of the most pressing water issues, such as invasive species and pollution, that face the Great Lakes today. Click here for more information about the Great Lakes Commission’s important work on protecting and improving these waters for future generations.

’25 by 25′: Town hall on water quality held in Bemidji

(From Bemidji Pioneer) — Local and state officials talked about ways to improve water quality in Minnesota on Wednesday before turning the question to residents for more ideas. The event was the seventh of 10 water quality town hall events held across the state. Starting in July, the series of meetings are part of an initiative launched by Gov. Mark Dayton dubbed “25 by 25,” meaning a goal of improving the state’s water quality 25 percent by 2025.  Dayton, who was initially scheduled to appear at the event, was unable to attend. However, his water advisor Anna Henderson was on hand to address the crowd of about 250 people at Bemidji High School. “We’re here to listen and learn from all of you about the water quality improvements that you want to see and how we can increase the pace of progress,” Henderson said. >>Read More.

Dayton’s 25 by 25 meetings head to the Twin Cities

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 Minneapolis, Burnsville, and Stillwater. To find out how you can give your own input at a town hall, visit www.eqb.state.mn.us/25by25


                

photo credit: Midwest Energy News

New study: green energy a major job creator in state

(From The Timberjay) —  The clean energy industry has become a significant bright spot in Minnesota’s overall economy in recent years, creating nearly 3,000 new jobs in just the past 12 months. That’s according to a new report from Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, which is being highlighted by state officials, including Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. With the latest growth in employment, the clean energy industry— which includes businesses and workers advancing renewable sources of energy production and energy efficiency improvements—now employs just over 57,000 Minnesotans according to the study. Of those jobs, just over 17,000 are located outside the Twin Cities metro area, making the sector a major employer in outstate Minnesota. >>Read More.

Chippewa County wind farm likely to go up in early 2018

(From West Central Tribune) — Equipment began arriving this week for the construction of an 18-turbine wind farm in Chippewa County, but work is not likely to get underway until spring. Company officials with Palmer’s Creek Wind Farm outlined plans for the 44.6-megawatt wind farm to Administrative Law Judge Barbara Case at a public hearing Monday evening in Montevideo. The Public Utilities Commission has developed a draft permit for the project, and is expected to act on the permit by year’s end. Judge Case said public comments on the project will be accepted by the PUC through Sept. 21. It’s an opportunity to point out what could be improved, or issues regulators might not be aware of, she said. Company officials had hoped to begin work this fall, but the permit process is not complete. >>Read More.

   


          

photo credit: EPA

Families clash over proposed hog farm in Zumbrota Township

(From MPR News) —  A family proposing a large hog operation near Zumbrota Township on Thursday showed up at a press conference held by neighbors who oppose the facility. Backed by the Land Stewardship Project, Zumbrota Township retired farmer Dale Post and about a dozen others held signs such as “No Factory Farms” and “Family Farms NOT Factory Farms” as they spoke in a downtown Lakeville park about their concerns about odors and hydrogen sulfide gas, which results from animal waste and can be harmful to health at certain levels. >>Read More.

           

 

Air Quality alert issued for Minneapolis-St. Paul area

(From Pioneer Press) — Unusually warm temperatures, sunny skies and high levels of ozone coming in from the south and central United States are creating unhealthy air quality for some people in the metro and southern Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released an air quality alert Thursday that’ll be in effect from noon to 8 p.m. Friday. Air quality index levels are expected to climb through the afternoon and settle after sunset. People with respiratory problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart conditions could be affected by the higher levels of ozone. Those who have asthma or COPD, make sure to have your inhaler with you and take other necessary precautions, the MPCA said in the statement. >>Read More.


           

A new bee “sky rise” in Como Park offers home for pollinators

(From Star Tribune) —  A new custom-built high-rise featuring a sleek wood and metal design and breathtaking views of Como Lake hit the market Wednesday morning. Best of all? The list price is free — to bees and butterflies. The pollinator “sky-rise” is the work of Public Art St. Paul and the Bee Lab at the University of Minnesota. The purpose of the striking yellow tower is more than artistic, however. Researchers hope to learn what kind of man-made housing will attract, protect and nurture pollinators at a time when natural habitat is disappearing. At the same time, officials hope the tower and its nearby bins of free flower seeds — milkweed, purple prairie clover and black-eyed Susan — will elicit support for developing even more pollinator habitat. >>Read More.


                

photo credit: Pioneer Press

Where things stand with the effort to allow mining near the Boundary Waters

(From MinnPost) — For those who don’t want mining — or even the whiff of mining — to come anywhere near northern Minnesota’s protected Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the last weeks of the Barack Obama administration were good ones. Just as Donald Trump was preparing to take office, the Obama administration declined to renew mineral leases held by the company Twin Metals, and began the process of blocking off nearly a quarter-million acres of Superior National Forest from mining projects for up to 20 years. Fourth District DFL Rep. Betty McCollum, one of Congress’ staunchest opponents of mining near the Boundary Waters, said back then that Minnesotans should celebrate the victories, but cautioned that “we have more work to do.” >>Read More.

 


Weekly Outdoor Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!            

1. What peak in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is Minnesota’s highest point?

2. What Minnesota county is named for a Dakota word meaning “where the buffalo fish come”?

3. Minnesota’s state park system is the second-oldest in the United States. Which state’s is the oldest?

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) Eagle Mountain. 2) Kandiyohi. 3) New York


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: September 25, 2017

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September 25, 2017

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

Featured Article
Star Tribune: White Bear Lake ruling could ripple across all of Minnesota (featuring MEP Executive Director Steve Morse)

Agriculture & Food
MPR News: Fond du Lac Band restores wild rice to keep harvest tradition alive
Detroit Lakes Online: White Earth Reservation receives state grant to fight ‘food desert’ problem with food truck
Rochester Post Bulletin: Circle K hog farm case gets its day in court
Austin Daily Herald: Mower SWCD launches 3-year soil study; Hormel Foundation awards $98K grant
Agweek: CRP haying connects eastern, western ND producers
Minnesota Daily: CFANS student seeks funding for research to synthesize dairy

Clean Energy
Alexandria Echo Press: Alexandria doctor harnesses the sun for $50,000 project
Albert Lea Tribune: Meeting held to discuss wind farm project
MinnPost: Want to attract Amazon? Try winning the wind race

Climate Change
MinnPost: In a reversal, climate scientists now say goal set in Paris accord is within reach
Minnesota Daily: New research fights climate change in cities

Conservation
MinnPost: A disappearing ecosystem: Minnesota’s oak savannas
Alexandria Echo Press: Good news, bad news for fall: Maples should be healthy, oaks maybe not

Mining
Mankato Free Press: Criminal charges possible in quarry blast
Fox Business: In Wisconsin, GOP pushes to end sulfide mining moratorium

Oil & Pipelines
WCCO: Protests expected as enbridge pipeline debate shifts to public hearings
St. Cloud Times: Enbridge pipeline hearings start Tuesday
Bemidji Pioneer: UPDATED: Protest at Enbridge property in Bemidji ends (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Parks & Trails
Mankato Free Press: Dogs in parks across North Mankato? Officials say more discussion needed​

Pollinators
Electric Light & Power: Xcel Energy, Minnesota city create butterfly, bee habitat
Pioneer Press: Blundering Gardener: Giant Swallowtail butterfly brings home plight of pollinators​

Pollution
St. Cloud Times: Sewer smell stymies Sartell

Transportation
La Crosse Tribune: North-south corridor plans for La Crosse shelved again
Star Tribune: Anoka County hopes free shuttle service will help attract, maintain North Star riders

Waste & Recycling
Marshall Independent: Partnerships make difference for Lyon county landfill operations
Winona Post: St. Charles’ recycling ‘crown jewel’

Water
Pioneer Press: White Bear Lake homeowners won their lawsuit over water levels. Now what? 
Duluth News Tribune: Duluth City Council to consider water rate veto

Wildlife & Fish
MPR News: Inside a St. Paul lab’s battle against aquatic invaders
Duluth News Tribune: Is the deer duel in St. Paul over? Chronic wasting disease unites DNR, Board of Animal Health
Mankato Free Press: Area minnow trappers face a variety of challenges
Park Rapids Enterprise: State pheasant index down 26% from last year
 

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©2017 Minnesota Environmental Partnership, 546 Rice St. Suite 100, St. Paul, MN 55103

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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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©2017 Minnesota Environmental Partnership, 546 Rice St. Suite 100, St. Paul, MN 55103

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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
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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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