Insider: August 18, 2017

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Sustainability at the State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is only a few days away, and many of MEP’s friends and partners are preparing to join in the festivities in Falcon Heights with exhibits on sustainability, conservation, and a lot more! Environmental groups, state agencies, and sponsors from around Minnesota will bring food, entertainment, and knowledge to fairgoers, most prominently at the Eco Experience, held in the Progress Center at the east end of the fairgrounds.

The Eco Experience, organized by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, will feature displays and interactive events from state agencies. The Kick Gas exhibit will feature interactive games and demonstrations on transit, biking, and other clean transportation. The Reduce Reuse Recycle section will feature hands-on activities on how to reduce waste and repair broken items. And MEP associates, including Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, will be on hand to help visitors learn about solar energy and sustainable power.

For those who especially enjoy the State Fair’s culinary delights, there are many sustainable offerings – and learning opportunities! MEP member group Renewing the Countryside and partners will be holding a Healthy Local Food Exhibit at the Eco Experience, with demonstrations of organic food and booths about clean agriculture. And our friends at Fresh Energy will be offering a delicious new ice cream – Solar Honey Swirl – made with honey from bees living on solar array installations. Their exhibit can be found at the Horticulture building from August 24 through September 4.

The State Fair is a time-honored Minnesota tradition, and it’s a great moment to think about how we can choose sustainable food and energy for our future. If you have more tips on green events at the State Fair, or a great experience to share, connect with us on Twitter at @MEPartnership. On behalf of our coalition, we hope to see you there!



Image credit: stopline3.org

Twin Cities teens paddle against pipelines

(From Bemidji Pioneer) — A group of Twin Cities teens who took to the water six days ago to protest a proposed oil pipeline stopped in Bemidji to spread their message Thursday evening. The six youths, who are between 14 and 18 years old, are paddling canoes 250 miles across northern Minnesota in an effort to raise awareness of their objections to the potential replacement of Enbridge Energy’s Line 3. “I really think it’s important that we have youth, and specifically indigenous youth, to lead this,” said 16-year-old Nolan Berglund of Minneapolis. “I’d like to stress that it is indigenous youth that are leading a lot of this because this is the land that our ancestors are on.” >>Read More.

Report: Enbridge Line 3 options all would have negative effects on American Indians

(From Star Tribune) — The final environmental impact statement for Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project says it is not possible to determine whether the Canadian company’s proposed route would be the best option for American Indians in northern Minnesota. That’s because Enbridge’s route and four alternative paths would all have disproportionately negative effects on the bands, according to the report compiled by the state Department of Commerce. The report, released Thursday, also repeats some environmental concerns raised in a draft EIS released in the spring. >>Read More.


                
photo credit: MPCA

TAKE ACTION: Protect Minnesota’s Drinking Water 

75% of Minnesotans get their drinking water from underground. That’s why the 1989 Groundwater Protection Act was passed to help prevent pollution of Minnesota’s groundwater and drinking water. Sadly, in the 28 years since the Act was passed, agricultural nitrate pollution in our groundwater has only become more severe.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is currently accepting public comments on its new draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule. Unfortunately, the proposed rule falls far short of protecting our water. Click Here to learn about the rule and contact Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture – ask them to protect our drinking water and groundwater resources!

Dayton’s water quality meeting draws 200

(From Mankato Free Press) — Both the complexity of Minnesota’s water problems and the strong public interest in solving them were in evidence at a community water meeting hosted by Gov. Mark Dayton in Mankato Wednesday night. The event was the second of 10 “Water Town Hall” meetings Dayton and key commissioners are holding in all corners of the state this summer to build support and consensus for the governor’s plan to reduce water pollution by 25 percent by 2025. “This is such a crucial issue,” the governor told a crowd of 200 local government officials, farmers and environmentalists at Minnesota State University. “I know it’s just something Minnesota has to face up to, and most other states do.” >>Read More.

   


          

Comment period closes on mining moratorium

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Thursday marked the last day of an extended public comment period for people to weigh in on a U.S. Forest Service’s proposal to halt mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for at least two years, and conduct an environmental review of potential copper-mining impacts. The proposal has drawn both strong support and vigorous opposition for months, including at public hearings held in Duluth, St. Paul and Virginia. Backers of the moratorium gathered again in Duluth on Thursday to reiterate their support for the plan. >>Read More.


           

A brighter solution: Leech Lake unveils new solar panel arrays to benefit low income communities

(From Bemidji Pioneer) — The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe celebrated a big step forward Monday in its push for sustainability. At a ceremony, fittingly under sunny skies, Leech Lake officials and representatives from the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance unveiled a new solar array at the Prescott Community Center. The walls of solar panels at the community center are one of five spread throughout the reservation, with others at the Palace Casino, Leech Lake Tribal College, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance office in Pine River and a fifth in Jackson Village. >>Read More.


           

Southwest light rail project passes two more milestones – and gets a giant wall

(From Minnpost) — The Metro Transit staff that has been holding the Southwest Light Rail Transit project together through years of problems passed two major milestones this week. One was the opening of bids for the largest of the project’s construction contracts, which came after bidders requested a delay. The other was the finalization of agreements with two railroads to allow the use of their rail corridors for light rail tracks and stations. At a special meeting Wednesday, a unanimous Metropolitan Council approved the rail agreements and congratulated the staff for the work. Project staff will now move ahead on getting final approvals from the Federal Transit Administration and make formal application for a 50 percent federal match on the project — an amount that now stands at $928.8 million. >>Read More.


                

photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Microplastics could pose big treatment challenges

(From MPR News) — A growing body of research has been documenting an emerging threat to Minnesota waters — tiny plastic particles found in everything from shampoo to fleece jackets. But even as we learn more about how prevalent these pollutants are, there’s still much we don’t know about their dangers or how to respond. So-called microplastics are tiny — less than 5 millimeters across. They can come from litter or plastic bags that break down over time. In some cases, they start out small, as microbeads added to products like facial soap and toothpaste. One of the biggest sources are plastic fibers from fleece jackets, athletic clothing, carpet and other synthetic fabric. >>Read More.


Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

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 – Apply by August 21

Land Protection Specialist MN, ND, SD | The Nature Conservancy – Apply by August 24

Healthy Local Food Exhibit Staff | Renewing the Countryside

Forestry Policy Research Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness – Apply by August 18

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

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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.

News Watch: August 17

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August 17, 2017

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

Featured Article:
Duluth News Tribune: Leech Lake tribe unveils new solar panel arrays to benefit low-income communities

Agriculture & Food
Faribault Daily News: In Rice County, cover cropping surges in popularity
Marshall Independent: Tru Shrimp, Schwan’s announce alliance

Clean Energy
Midwest Energy News: University of Minnesota makes long-term commitment to clean energy
Rochester Post Bulletin: Answer Man: Power grows in solar power east of Wabasha

Conservation
Austin Daily Herald: LeRoy family honored for conservation efforts
Duluth News Tribune: Another study finds earthworms are hurting maple trees
Star Tribune: Cloquet teacher Len Anderson, 77, was a devoted champion for the St. Louis River

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Group reiterates call for hearing on proposed PolyMet mine
Albert Lea Tribune: Mankato residents concerned about quarry

Oil & Pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Final environmental review for Line 67 pipeline released
US News & World Report: Minnesota releases review on disputed Enbridge oil pipeline
Bemidji Pioneer: Testimony: Group that tampered with pipeline valve felt they had no choice

Parks & Trails
The Timberjay: Campground opening date remains uncertain

Pollinators
Winona Post: Roadside prairies approved
Great Lakes Echo: Minnesota citizen scientists thrill at sightings of endangered bumble bee

Pollution
MPR News: Microplastics could pose big treatment challenges
KMSP: U of M sues federal government over former gunpowder factory site

Transportation
Star Tribune: Met Council approves rail agreements for Southwest light rail
Fergus Falls Daily Journal: FF businesses promote bicycle friendly community

Waste & Recycling
Winona Daily News: Wisconsin recycling grants totaled $20 million
 
Water
Grand Forks Herald: E. coli found in waters near closed Thief River Falls beach
MPR News: Researchers search for clues to toxic algae blooms
Mankato Free Press: Dayton’s water-quality meeting draws 200
MPR News: Mankato to Dayton: Do better on water quality

Wildlife & Fish
St. Cloud Times: Mille Lacs Band gets federal grant to study walleye habitat
MPR News: DNR official: Strong walleye fishing on Mille Lacs not a sign of healthy population
St. Cloud Times: “Lake killer” starry stonewort found in Grand Lake
 

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Insider: August 11, 2017

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   map credit: Stop Line 3

Native youth take the lead to protect Minnesota from pipeline

On Saturday, August 12, a team of indigenous youth will launch canoes in Itasca State Park, at the headwaters of the Mississippi, on a journey called Paddle to Protect. They’re a group on a mission to send a message to Enbridge and the State of Minnesota. That message: Line 3 attacks the rights and lives of the Ojibwe people, and it must be stopped. Paddle to Protect will travel over more than 250 miles of northern Minnesota, through wild rice waters and treaty lands that Line 3 would severely threaten.

Enbridge’s Line 3 proposal would construct an entirely new pipeline between Minnesota’s northwest corner and the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior, nominally as a replacement to the aging Line 3 currently buried in the state. This line would pump extremely emissions-heavy oil from the Alberta tar sands through lands and waters where Ojibwe tribes maintain treaty rights to fish and harvest wild rice, which they depend on for income, health, and cultural use. A tar sands oil spill in those waters would devastate entire ecosystems. Enbridge has already begun construction on this pipeline in Manitoba and Wisconsin, encircling Minnesota, but it has yet to pass the review and permitting process our state requires.

Thanks to the efforts of youth like the Paddlers, this process has been much improved. On August 9, Governor Dayton announced that the deadline on the Environmental Impact Statement for Line 3 would be delayed to continue considering the enormous volume of comments received – more than 2,860 recorded by the Department of Commerce. And a group of youth, including some involved in Paddle to Protect, have been recognized as “intervenors,” meaning they will be able to participate in hearings and court decisions that will determine whether the pipeline will receive a permit. Thanks to these young people and indigenous-led organizations like Honor the Earth, a victory for Line 3 backers is far from a forgone conclusion.

For more information on Paddle to Protect and how Line 3 would impact Ojibwe communities, visit honorearth.organd stopline3.org/paddletoprotect, and check out the news coverage below.

Stop Line 3: Paddle to Protect campaign video
Bemidji Pioneer: Environmental activists hold concert to oppose pipelines
Star Tribune: Enbridge’s Line 3: Why 13 young Minnesotans launched a legal fight against a pipeline
Duluth News Tribune: Line 3 replacement getting spendier
MPR News: Minn. oil pipeline fight stokes threats, fears of Standing Rock
Duluth News Tribune: Line 3 environmental review release pushed back


Act Now
 

Governor seeks your ideas for improving water quality 

Governor Mark Dayton wants Minnesota to accelerate the pace of progress towards clean water. He announced a new “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal, aiming to spur collaboration and action to improve Minnesota’s water quality —  25% by the year 2025. Without additional action, the quality of Minnesota’s waters is expected to improve only 6-8% by 2034.

Governor Dayton is seeking your ideas on how to improve water quality and is hosting a series of Town Halls over the summer and fall. For info on how to get involved, click the Act Now button.

EPA administrator stops in Fargo for closed roundtable on federal waters rule

(From Inforum) — Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, attended a closed-door roundtable discussion here Wednesday, Aug. 9, on the federal government’s proposed revision of the Waters of the U.S. rule, known as WOTUS. Attendees of the roundtable held at North Dakota State University included North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven and U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, as well as representatives of a number of farm groups. After the roundtable, Pruitt left immediately without speaking to news reporters waiting outside the meeting room. >>Read More.


photo credit: MPCA

Proposed Nitrogen Rule wouldn’t do enough for Minnesota waters

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is currently accepting public comments on its draft Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule, which aims to reduce the amount of nitrate pollution in the state’s groundwater. Nitrate contamination is a serious issue that requires a robust response, and unfortunately, the proposed rule is severely watered-down. It would fail to protect currently uncontaminated groundwater, focusing only on already-impaired waters. It would have a needlessly long 3-year phase-in period after an already 26-year wait on nitrogen standards. And the mandatory best practices it enforces fall short of any meaningful reduction of nitrogen fertilizer use. For more information, take a look at this fact sheetproduced by our friends at MCEA.

Written comments will now be accepted until August 25, 2017 –  tell the MDA to adopt a rule that will actually benefit state waters!


                

Met Council chair: Southwest light rail work should start by 2019

(From MPR News) — The new Metropolitan Council chair hopes the transit agency will start construction on the Southwest light rail line — the agency’s most ambitious project — by early 2019. DFL Gov. Mark appointed Alene Tchourumoff as Met Council chair in June. In an interview Thursday with MPR News host Tom Weber, Tchourumoff laid out what she called a bipartisan agenda for transportation and infrastructure, including the new light rail line. By the time Dayton’s term ends in early 2019, Tschourumoff said she hopes “we will have started the construction of Southwest LRT, we’ll have sustainable funding for transit, and we will have elevated the dialogue and discussion around our convening role in water, in particular.” >>Read More.

          

Electric vehicles and rewewables: the PB&J of the energy world

(From MinnPost, by Fresh Energy senior policy associate Andrew Twite) — Electric vehicles and renewable energy are like peanut butter and jelly: They’re great on their own, but they’re so much better together. Electric vehicles save money and are better for the environment, and wind energy is the lowest-cost way to make electricity in Minnesota. When combined, renewable energy makes electric vehicles cleaner and cheaper, and, at the same time, electric vehicles can help integrate variable renewable electricity generation. >>Read More.

Rural sustainability

(From The Timberjay) — The building is clean, the floors are waxed, and the vision behind a remarkable effort at rural sustainability is taking physical form as the folks behind the Orr Recreation and Resource Center prepare for their second annual Homesteading and Sustainable Lifestyles Expo, set for Aug. 19-20, in Orr. It’s been a busy year at the ORR Center, thanks to a small army of volunteers, donations, grants, and their energetic field marshal Wendy Purdy, who makes sure everything and everyone keeps moving in the right direction. Wendy and her husband Jeff were busy working at the center this week, hoping to show off some of the progress they’ve made since the last expo. Jeff was up on the expansive flat roof of the former Orr School building, which now houses the center. He’s making the final connections on an 11.8-kilowatt solar array that will provide a bit over half of the center’s electrical needs. >>Read More.


           

photo credit: Chesapeake Bay Program

Frank Family Farms honored at fair for its conservation efforts; Mower County operation uses strip tillage and more

(From Austin Daily Herald) — Farming in the headwaters of Rose Creek has presented soil-erosion challenges to the Frank family while operating 1,100 acres for corn, soybeans and hay near Dexter. “We believe a big part of being farmers is to be good stewards of what God has given us to be in charge of,” Tom Frank said. “That is not only doing our best to run a profitable, sustainable farming operation but also to care for the land.” For its efforts, Frank Family Farms is the 2017 Conservationist of the Year for Mower County as chosen by Mower Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors. >>Read More.

                

St. Louis County passes bee-friendly policy

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Minnesota’s largest county will avoid the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and will plant bee- and butterfly-friendly native plants when possible under a resolution approved by the St. Louis County board Tuesday. The board unanimously passed the resolution that calls for county actions to bolster pollinator populations “and provide the framework for pollinator-friendly policies in St. Louis County.” Scientists have linked the use of certain pesticides containing neonicotinoids and the huge decline in pollinators such as native bees, domestic honeybees and butterflies. Butterflies, especially monarchs, also are facing a habitat issue, with critically important milkweed being nudged out of rural areas by heavy use of herbicides and cropland expansion. >>Read More.


Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

Executive Director, Southwest | Regional Sustainable Development Partnership University of Minnesota Extension – Apply by August 21

Land Protection Specialist MN, ND, SD | The Nature Conservancy – Apply by August 24

Part-time Fellow, Energy Policy Research | Fresh Energy 

Healthy Local Food Exhibit Staff | Renewing the Countryside

Forestry Policy Research Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness – Apply by August 18

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings

 


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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: August 4, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

   photo credit: MPCA

EPA reverses delay of air-quality rules

On Wednesday, August 2, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was undoing a previous decision to delay implementing new smog rules that would help reduce toxic air pollutants in the atmosphere, and would instead continue work on the rule as scheduled. The smog rule, which was created by the EPA in 2015, is meant to counteract ozone pollution, and is widely supported by health and environmental groups. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had planned in June to delay the rule by one year, but following strong pushback and a lawsuit by the attorneys general of Minnesota and 14 other states, the agency released a statement that recognized the states’ concerns and said it would tentatively move forward.

It’s encouraging to see the EPA respecting the needs of states and organization concerned about keeping our air clean and breathable. And it’s great to see our state taking leadership in defense of this important smog standard. We know that Minnesotans don’t want to see protections for our air and water rolled back – and it’s on us to make sure that the federal government is listening!


           


photo credit: NASA

The Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone is the biggest ever seen

(From MPR News) — It’s become a rite of summer. Every year, a “dead zone” appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an area where water doesn’t have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it. This week, NOAA announced that this year’s dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey. And it’s adding fuel to a debate over whether state and federal governments are doing enough to cut pollution that comes from farms. The debate actually goes back many years, at least to 1985, when Don Scavia was a top scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. >>Read More.


photo credit: MPCA

Red River water quality ‘generally poor’, Minnesota officials say

(From Inforum) — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says water quality in the Red River watershed is “generally poor,” and recommends changes along the Red and its tributaries to trim levels of fecal coliform bacteria and sediments, reduce erosion, and improve habitat for fish and for recreational uses. Monitoring of the Red between Georgetown and Breckenridge — including Moorhead — found excessive levels of E. coli bacteria and suspended solids from field runoff and erosion, the MPCA said in a news release Wednesday, Aug. 2. “Water quality in the watershed is generally poor, reflecting intensely cultivated land use, changes to streams to increase drainage, intensive drainage,” and a lack of vegetation to act as buffers for many wetlands and streams in the watershed, the agency said. >>Read More.

Act Now

Governor seeks your ideas for improving water quality 

Governor Mark Dayton wants Minnesota to accelerate the pace of progress towards clean water. He announced a new “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal, aiming to spur collaboration and action to improve Minnesota’s water quality —  25% by the year 2025. Without additional action, the quality of Minnesota’s waters is expected to improve only 6-8% by 2034.

Governor Dayton is seeking your ideas on how to improve water quality and is hosting a series of Town Halls over the summer and fall. For info on how to get involved, click the Act Now button.



photo credit: The Land Institute

Kernza Field Day in Madison, MN August 10

Registration is open for the Kernza Field Day at the A-Frame Farm in Madison, where visitors can learn about this beneficial wheatgrass. Researched by the Land Institute and the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative, Kernza is being developed as a commercially viable crop that prevents soil erosion and improves the water health of areas where it is grown. This event is free with registration and will feature a tour of Carmen Fernholz’s farm and light refreshments.


                

Emmer bill would reinstate Twin Metals leases

(From The Timberjay) — New legislation introduced in Washington would reinstate mineral leases for a proposed mine near Ely and weaken the authority of the president to protect federal lands in Minnesota. The legislation, introduced July 25 by Republican Sixth District Rep. Tom Emmer, would reverse a decision announced by the Obama administration last December , which denied renewal of two mineral leases critical to a plan by Twin Metals to open a copper-nickel mine southeast of Ely. The bill would also end an ongoing study of a proposed 20-year withdrawal of 234,000 acres of federal land within the Superior National Forest from the federal minerals leasing program. >>Read More.

          

Minnesota biodiesel standards to double in 2018

(From Star Tribune) — The state’s standard for the biodiesel blend will double to 20 percent at gas pumps next May, a decision that displeased trucking industry advocates. The announcement made public by state commissioners at Farmfest in Redwood Falls has been in the works for a long time and was solidified last week. “B20 will help keep Minnesota at the forefront of the homegrown clean energy revolution that is expanding economic opportunities for the state’s farmers and rural communities while reducing pollution and improving air quality for everyone,” Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said. >>Read More.


           

Line 3 replacement getting spendier

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Enbridge says its Line 3 replacement pipeline is getting more expensive in the wake of regulatory delays and changes to the project. The proposed oil pipeline is now set to cost $6.5 billion, which is 9 percent higher than previous estimates. “(The increase) primarily reflects delays in the regulatory process, scope changes and route modifications as well as other changes that resulted from the extensive consultation process,” Enbridge said in a news release Tuesday, noting that a strong American dollar and lower operating costs will “fully offset” the higher building costs. (A figure of $7.5 billion used in some previous reports was in Canadian dollars.) >>Read More.

Nebraska regulators block testimony ahead of Keystone XL hearings

(From Reuters) —  Nebraska regulators weighing the fate of TransCanada Corp’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline have ruled that opponents of the project cannot use one of their best arguments against it in final hearings next week: that America does not need the oil. The state’s five-member Public Service Commission is scheduled to hold court-like hearings on Aug. 7 to 11 before deciding whether to approve the project’s route, marking the final hurdle for the long-delayed project after President Donald Trump gave it federal approval in March. >>Read More.

 

                

‘Bee Atlas’ comes to BSU: University hosts program to help support healthy bee populations

(From Bemidji Pioneer) —  Kevin Williams pointed at a large white strip in central California on a map of the United States. The strip, in contrast to larger, bluer swathes of the map, indicated that there was a low abundance of wild bees there. “That’s where the almonds are growing,” Williams, a facilitator from the University of Minnesota Extension, said as some attendees at Wednesday’s “Bee Atlas” at BSU nodded. Many of the bee-sparse areas, Williams noted, corresponded to places with a lot of agriculture — up the Mississippi River, and into Illinois, Ohio, the Dakotas and Greater Minnesota — and beekeepers across the country can make a hefty sum strategically transporting their bees to pollinate crops there, but that also makes it easy for diseases to fester and spread. >>Read More.


Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

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

Land Protection Specialist MN, ND, SD | The Nature Conservancy

Part-time Fellow, Energy Policy Research | Fresh Energy 

Healthy Local Food Exhibit Staff | Renewing the Countryside

Forestry Policy Research Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

Director | Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings

 


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 14

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August 14, 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
Faribault Daily News: Farmers, professionals discuss how to build healthy soil
Agweek: Fighting drought and flood with soil health
West Central Tribune: Grain prices influence farm bill’s conservation compliance provisions

Clean Energy
Austin Daily Herald: Austin Utilities to tap the sun; New service to offer subscriptions to solar array power
St. Cloud Times: First American Wind Week celebrates U.S. leadership
Marshall Independent: Development of wind projects means good jobs

Climate Change
St. Cloud Times: Larch beetle’s march takes down state’s tamaracks
MPR News: 2016 weather report: Extreme and anything but normal

Conservation
Rochester Post Bulletin: How’s Chester Woods doing?
International Falls Journal: August Weed of the Month: Amur honeysuckle is not native

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: DNR releases first PolyMet draft permits

Oil & Pipelines
The Intercept: Tribal liaison in Minnesota pipeline review is sidelined after oil company complains to governor
Bemidji Pioneer: Environmental activists hold concert to oppose pipelines
Inforum: Security company denies providing illegal services during DAPL protests

Parks & Trails
Duluth News Tribune: Mud-free mountain biking: All-weather trail could soon come to Duluth
Brainerd Dispatch: Fending off bears and dirt miles is the path for Lake Mills native pursuing hiking history
International Falls Journal: National parks plan for solar eclipse
Austin Daily Herald: New access open on Cedar River State Water Trail

Pollinators
Rochester Post Bulletin: An eye for insects, a learner about the land
Winona Post: Roadside prairies approved

Pollution
Winona Daily News: Root River Rod Co. helps keep driftless area spotless

Transportation
Star Tribune: There’s no transit plan so needed, so far off that it can’t find its foes

Waste & Recycling
La Crosse Tribune: Dynamic recycling to add 140,000 square feet, 150 jobs with expansion
Duluth News Tribune: Cloquet landfill owner challenges city policies
Rochester Post Bulletin: Hair salon focuses on the environment

 
Water
Hastings Star Gazette: Water quality remains a Minnesota problem. State launches effort to make improvements
Houston County News: Root River SWCD: Water quality program expands

Wildlife & Fish
Alexandria Echo Press: Mussels found in Whiskey, Chippewa lakes
 

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News Watch: August 10

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August 10, 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

Agriculture & Food
MPR News: White Earth tribe holds high hopes for hemp
Austin Daily Herald: Hog facility in Mower County looking to expand production
West Central Tribune: Going underground in corn country: Western Minn. farmer tests economics of subsurface irrigation
Austin Daily Herald: Frank Family Farms honored at fair for its conservation efforts; Mower County operation uses strip tillage and more

Clean Energy
MPR News: Wind power growing in Minnesota, and around U.S.
Rochester Post Bulletin: Austin Utilities demonstration promotes solar choice program
MinnPost: Electric vehicles and renewables: the PB&J of the energy world

Climate Change
New York Times: Students, cities and states take the climate fight to court 
MPR News: U.S. already feeling negative effects of climate change, report says

Conservation
Bemidji Pioneer: Sustainable Saturday: Annual tour to take residents to locations across region
International Falls Journal: Partnership strengthens riverbank, youth
The Timberjay: USFS successfully completes White Iron burn near Ely

Environmental Justice
Pioneer Press: MnDOT redesigning highway project after damaging Native American burial site

Mining
Duluth News Tribune: Local View: Yes, contested-case hearing is needed on PolyMet

Oil & Pipelines
Duluth News Tribune: Line 3 environmental review release pushed back
Bemidji Pioneer: Love Water Not Oil tour concert Thursday in Bemidji

Parks & Trails
International Falls Journal: VNP opens bald eagle nesting areas
MPR News: Mpls. park board vote signals end for Hiawatha Golf Course

Pollinators
Duluth News Tribune: St. Louis County passes bee-friendly policy
MinnPost: Some happier news, for a change, on honeybee’s health and colony collapse

Pollution
Mankato Free Press: Birds Eye, Waseca County dealing with odor
Star Tribune: Minneapolis gives preliminary approval to fee for plastic, paper bags
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Environmentalists criticize exemptions for Foxconn’s $10 billion Wisconsin plant

Transportation
La Crosse Tribune: Chicago-Twin Cities train study rolls ahead; proposal would double La Crosse service in either direction

Waste & Recycling
Alexandria Echo Press: Making the most of food waste
 
Water
MinnPost: One way to promote green infrastructure in your city
Inforum: EPA administrator stops in Fargo for closed roundtable on federal waters rule

Wildlife & Fish
The Timberjay: More options for deer hunters this season
Star Tribune: Volunteers scour Minnesota lakes for newest invasive: starry stonewort
MPR News: Report focuses on Illinois dam to keep invasive carp from Great Lakes
Star Tribune: Minnesota’s first bat festival aims to prove that these flying critters aren’t so creepy

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News Watch: August 7

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August 7, 2017

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

Agriculture & Food
Northfield News: Spilling the dirt on soil: workshops planned for Rice County
Agweek: MDA encourages farmers to take survey on alleged dicamba damage
La Crosse Tribune: Galesville dairy wins potential record stray voltage case against Xcel Energy
Agweek: Drought-ravaged ranchers look east for CRP hay

Clean Energy
Star Tribune: Minn. lawmakers go to bat for Canadian firm making solar panels on Iron Range
Faribault Daily News: Faribault native recognized for global career in solar energy
Star Tribune: CenterPoint seeking 6.4 percent rate hike in Minnesota
WEAU: Solar panels being installed in vacant lot in Eau Claire
Star Tribune: Stick with Minnesota’s biodiesel mandate

Conservation
MPR News: Sewing volunteers mend clothes, hearts, and the planet
Ely Echo: Planned fire on White Iron’s Ring Rock peninsula underway

Mining
Minnesota Brown: Pinning hopes to billions we don’t have
Star Tribune: Counterpoint: Don’t be fooled by Emmer’s mining scam
St. Cloud Times: Emmer’s bill eviscerates environmental protections
New York Times: Under Trump, coal mining gets new life on U.S. lands

Oil & Pipelines
Park Rapids Enterprise: Honor the Earth’s Ride the Line makes stop near Lake George
West Fargo Pioneer: Minnesota company seeks ND permit to handle radioactive oil well waste
KWBE: Thousands take to streets in protest of Keystone XL pipeline

Pollinators
Austin Daily Herald: Get the buzz on bees at the nature center

Pollution
Duluth News Tribune: Final report on Boise spill weeks away

Transportation
Duluth News Tribune: Superior moving forward with bike-sharing program
MinnPost: Summit to focus on walking to promote social, economic and community health

Waste & Recycling
Detroit Lakes Online: New recycling building to go up at transfer station
 
Water
Winona Post: Lake Winona restoration underway
Rochester Post Bulletin: Protecting water quality means limits on factory farms
Bemidji Pioneer: Beltrami County Commissioners, staff study buffer laws, shoreland management, water plans
International Falls Journal: Complaint of bubbles, odor on river investigated

Wildlife & Fish
Bemidji Pioneer: DNR expands Minn. deer season opportunities
Winona Post: Discovery may help save species
 

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

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News Watch: August 7

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August 7, 2017

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

Agriculture & Food
Northfield News: Spilling the dirt on soil: workshops planned for Rice County
Agweek: MDA encourages farmers to take survey on alleged dicamba damage
La Crosse Tribune: Galesville dairy wins potential record stray voltage case against Xcel Energy
Agweek: Drought-ravaged ranchers look east for CRP hay

Clean Energy
Star Tribune: Minn. lawmakers go to bat for Canadian firm making solar panels on Iron Range
Faribault Daily News: Faribault native recognized for global career in solar energy
Star Tribune: CenterPoint seeking 6.4 percent rate hike in Minnesota
WEAU: Solar panels being installed in vacant lot in Eau Claire
Star Tribune: Stick with Minnesota’s biodiesel mandate

Conservation
MPR News: Sewing volunteers mend clothes, hearts, and the planet
Ely Echo: Planned fire on White Iron’s Ring Rock peninsula underway

Mining
Minnesota Brown: Pinning hopes to billions we don’t have
Star Tribune: Counterpoint: Don’t be fooled by Emmer’s mining scam
St. Cloud Times: Emmer’s bill eviscerates environmental protections
New York Times: Under Trump, coal mining gets new life on U.S. lands

Oil & Pipelines
Park Rapids Enterprise: Honor the Earth’s Ride the Line makes stop near Lake George
West Fargo Pioneer: Minnesota company seeks ND permit to handle radioactive oil well waste
KWBE: Thousands take to streets in protest of Keystone XL pipeline

Pollinators
Austin Daily Herald: Get the buzz on bees at the nature center

Pollution
Duluth News Tribune: Final report on Boise spill weeks away

Transportation
Duluth News Tribune: Superior moving forward with bike-sharing program
MinnPost: Summit to focus on walking to promote social, economic and community health

Waste & Recycling
Detroit Lakes Online: New recycling building to go up at transfer station
 
Water
Winona Post: Lake Winona restoration underway
Rochester Post Bulletin: Protecting water quality means limits on factory farms
Bemidji Pioneer: Beltrami County Commissioners, staff study buffer laws, shoreland management, water plans
International Falls Journal: Complaint of bubbles, odor on river investigated

Wildlife & Fish
Bemidji Pioneer: DNR expands Minn. deer season opportunities
Winona Post: Discovery may help save species
 

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Insider: August 4, 2017

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

   photo credit: MPCA

EPA reverses delay of air-quality rules

On Wednesday, August 2, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was undoing a previous decision to delay implementing new smog rules that would help reduce toxic air pollutants in the atmosphere, and would instead continue work on the rule as scheduled. The smog rule, which was created by the EPA in 2015, is meant to counteract ozone pollution, and is widely supported by health and environmental groups. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had planned in June to delay the rule by one year, but following strong pushback and a lawsuit by the attorneys general of Minnesota and 14 other states, the agency released a statement that recognized the states’ concerns and said it would tentatively move forward.

It’s encouraging to see the EPA respecting the needs of states and organization concerned about keeping our air clean and breathable. And it’s great to see our state taking leadership in defense of this important smog standard. We know that Minnesotans don’t want to see protections for our air and water rolled back – and it’s on us to make sure that the federal government is listening!


           


photo credit: NASA

The Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone is the biggest ever seen

(From MPR News) — It’s become a rite of summer. Every year, a “dead zone” appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an area where water doesn’t have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it. This week, NOAA announced that this year’s dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey. And it’s adding fuel to a debate over whether state and federal governments are doing enough to cut pollution that comes from farms. The debate actually goes back many years, at least to 1985, when Don Scavia was a top scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. >>Read More.


photo credit: MPCA

Red River water quality ‘generally poor’, Minnesota officials say

(From Inforum) — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says water quality in the Red River watershed is “generally poor,” and recommends changes along the Red and its tributaries to trim levels of fecal coliform bacteria and sediments, reduce erosion, and improve habitat for fish and for recreational uses. Monitoring of the Red between Georgetown and Breckenridge — including Moorhead — found excessive levels of E. coli bacteria and suspended solids from field runoff and erosion, the MPCA said in a news release Wednesday, Aug. 2. “Water quality in the watershed is generally poor, reflecting intensely cultivated land use, changes to streams to increase drainage, intensive drainage,” and a lack of vegetation to act as buffers for many wetlands and streams in the watershed, the agency said. >>Read More.

Act Now

Governor seeks your ideas for improving water quality 

Governor Mark Dayton wants Minnesota to accelerate the pace of progress towards clean water. He announced a new “25 by 25” Water Quality Goal, aiming to spur collaboration and action to improve Minnesota’s water quality —  25% by the year 2025. Without additional action, the quality of Minnesota’s waters is expected to improve only 6-8% by 2034.

Governor Dayton is seeking your ideas on how to improve water quality and is hosting a series of Town Halls over the summer and fall. For info on how to get involved, click the Act Now button.



photo credit: The Land Institute

Kernza Field Day in Madison, MN August 10

Registration is open for the Kernza Field Day at the A-Frame Farm in Madison, where visitors can learn about this beneficial wheatgrass. Researched by the Land Institute and the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative, Kernza is being developed as a commercially viable crop that prevents soil erosion and improves the water health of areas where it is grown. This event is free with registration and will feature a tour of Carmen Fernholz’s farm and light refreshments.


                

Emmer bill would reinstate Twin Metals leases

(From The Timberjay) — New legislation introduced in Washington would reinstate mineral leases for a proposed mine near Ely and weaken the authority of the president to protect federal lands in Minnesota. The legislation, introduced July 25 by Republican Sixth District Rep. Tom Emmer, would reverse a decision announced by the Obama administration last December , which denied renewal of two mineral leases critical to a plan by Twin Metals to open a copper-nickel mine southeast of Ely. The bill would also end an ongoing study of a proposed 20-year withdrawal of 234,000 acres of federal land within the Superior National Forest from the federal minerals leasing program. >>Read More.

          

Minnesota biodiesel standards to double in 2018

(From Star Tribune) — The state’s standard for the biodiesel blend will double to 20 percent at gas pumps next May, a decision that displeased trucking industry advocates. The announcement made public by state commissioners at Farmfest in Redwood Falls has been in the works for a long time and was solidified last week. “B20 will help keep Minnesota at the forefront of the homegrown clean energy revolution that is expanding economic opportunities for the state’s farmers and rural communities while reducing pollution and improving air quality for everyone,” Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said. >>Read More.


           

Line 3 replacement getting spendier

(From Duluth News Tribune) — Enbridge says its Line 3 replacement pipeline is getting more expensive in the wake of regulatory delays and changes to the project. The proposed oil pipeline is now set to cost $6.5 billion, which is 9 percent higher than previous estimates. “(The increase) primarily reflects delays in the regulatory process, scope changes and route modifications as well as other changes that resulted from the extensive consultation process,” Enbridge said in a news release Tuesday, noting that a strong American dollar and lower operating costs will “fully offset” the higher building costs. (A figure of $7.5 billion used in some previous reports was in Canadian dollars.) >>Read More.

Nebraska regulators block testimony ahead of Keystone XL hearings

(From Reuters) —  Nebraska regulators weighing the fate of TransCanada Corp’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline have ruled that opponents of the project cannot use one of their best arguments against it in final hearings next week: that America does not need the oil. The state’s five-member Public Service Commission is scheduled to hold court-like hearings on Aug. 7 to 11 before deciding whether to approve the project’s route, marking the final hurdle for the long-delayed project after President Donald Trump gave it federal approval in March. >>Read More.

 

                

‘Bee Atlas’ comes to BSU: University hosts program to help support healthy bee populations

(From Bemidji Pioneer) —  Kevin Williams pointed at a large white strip in central California on a map of the United States. The strip, in contrast to larger, bluer swathes of the map, indicated that there was a low abundance of wild bees there. “That’s where the almonds are growing,” Williams, a facilitator from the University of Minnesota Extension, said as some attendees at Wednesday’s “Bee Atlas” at BSU nodded. Many of the bee-sparse areas, Williams noted, corresponded to places with a lot of agriculture — up the Mississippi River, and into Illinois, Ohio, the Dakotas and Greater Minnesota — and beekeepers across the country can make a hefty sum strategically transporting their bees to pollinate crops there, but that also makes it easy for diseases to fester and spread. >>Read More.


Upcoming Environmental Events


Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Director of Public Affairs | Northeast Minnesotans for Wilderness

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

Land Protection Specialist MN, ND, SD | The Nature Conservancy

Part-time Fellow, Energy Policy Research | Fresh Energy 

Healthy Local Food Exhibit Staff | Renewing the Countryside

Forestry Policy Research Internship | Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

State Policy Community Organizer | Land Stewardship Project

Director | Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

State Director | Environment Minnesota

See all job postings

 


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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.

News Watch: August 3

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August 3, 2017

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

Agriculture & Food
Duluth News Tribune: Northern Minnesota’s wild rice crop looks good
Star Tribune: Living Green Farms of Faribault is growing indoors
West Central Tribune: MNYou reaps what it sowed: Youth group’s garden produce for sale at farmers’ markets

Clean Energy
Duluth News Tribune: Allete Clean Energy to spend $80 million on turbine refurbishment
Mankato Free Press: Xcel street light conversion comes to Mankato

Conservation
Star Tribune: Plan to log old-growth forest near Ely pits hikers, skiers vs. timber interests
MPR News: Homeland Security to waive environmental rules on border wall projects

Mining
Timberjay: Emmer bill would reinstate Twin Metals leases
Rochester Post Bulletin: Nolan, Emmer want to shortcircuit mining review
Timberjay: Ely’s golden goose – Township residents power Ely-area economy

Oil & Pipelines
Bismarck Tribune: Contractor that damaged pipeline is repeat offender
Star Tribune: History of gas line accidents in Minnesota since 1998
WCCO: Economics could end up killing the Keystone XL pipeline

Parks & Trails
International Falls Journal: Comment sought on VNP Mukooda campground plan
MPR News: Border-spanning adventure trail in the works for northern Minn.

Pollinators
Bemidji Pioneer: Bee Atlas comes to BSU: University hosts program to help support healthy bee populations

Pollution
Star Tribune: State says 3M is reneging on 10-year-old cleanup deal for polluted water
Pioneer Press: Minnesota, 14 other states appeal EPA delay of stricter air-quality standards

Transportation
Duluth News Tribune: Transit service up and running in Hermantown
Rochester Post Bulletin: 6 things to know about Rochester’s planned bus garage expansion

Waste & Recycling
Stillwater Gazette: Stillwater has new way to recycle textiles
 
Water
Austin Daily Herald: A picture of health; Fish survey helps determine on going efforts to clean waterways
Inforum: Red River water quality “generally poor,” Minnesota officials say
Mankato Free Press: Unwanted record: Biggest ever dead zone in Gulf of Mexico

Wildlife & Fish
Pioneer Press: Court keeps Great Lakes wolves on endangered species list
Duluth News Tribune: U.S. bird report shows progress
St. Cloud Times: DNR: ebounding deer populations mean more hunting options
Alexandria Echo Press: L’Homme Dieu to get permanent boat decontamination station
Winona Daily News: After half century, endangered cricket frogs return
Winona Post: “Coral of the river:” Saving Mississippi mussels
Bemidji Pioneer: Bemidji area to host college fishing national championship

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