Will Mining Save or Destroy Northern Minnesota?

Categories: Environment


As he leaves a small cafe in Ely, Gerald Tyler approaches two middle-aged women and whispers a joke. They smile politely.

He walks gingerly, a leftover cost from his years in the military. In a patterned sweater that appears to have 30 years of mileage on it, he appears more the goofy grandfather than major mining activist.

But when he's through the doors of his main street office, a transformation occurs. This is the headquarters of Up North Jobs, a group devoted to finding new economic opportunities for this struggling town. And to succeed in this quest, Tyler must play the warrior, fighting to bring back the jobs that have slowly slipped away from Ely over the past 50 years, courtesy of the decline in mining.

Lawn signs lining the walls telegraph Tyler's strategy to restore Ely. "We Support Mining!" one reads. "Mining Supports Us," another one says.

"This is our livelihoods," he explains.

Tyler comes loaded with a war chest, a sprawling mess of economic data, newspaper articles, and ads. They show how a new type of mining — for precious metals like copper and nickel — could save this town.

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Why a mining accident in British Columbia matters to Minnesota

Categories: Environment

Screenshot of Mount Polley Mine accident from YouTube

The Mount Polley copper and gold mine lies at the head of the Fraser River in Cariboo, British Columbia, a mammoth site of pits, vehicles, and steel infrastructure designed to extract precious metals from the rocks below.

The project is nearly 2,000 miles and two time zones away from Minnesota. But after a major disaster earlier this month, and with the mine's similarities to proposed projects in Minnesota, it could wind up having an impact on the future of mining in the state.

See also:
Buried Treasure: On the Iron Range, the surging commodities market may bring prosperity. But it might also threaten one of the state's greatest natural resource

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Jay Nygard is not in jail, and still fighting Orono over his wind turbines

This tall metal structure (on the right) moves people to sue each other
Jay Nygard got the bright idea for a homemade wind turbine in 2010, and set about collecting, in his own words, only the finest parts -- "I didn't buy a piece of shit propeller."

Maybe so. But the whole thing stunk to Orono city officials. They tried to stop construction and took him to court in 2011. Since then, he's built three more machines in his Lake Minnetonka backyard.

See also:
Prospect Park steps into the future with DIY urbanism

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Complicated history between 3M, enviro group comes to head before ASG

Categories: Environment


Tuesday night's All-Star game unexpectedly brought out the best of the environmental movement, with one protestor memorably draping a sign reading "Love Water Not Oil" over the Target Field video board - an apparent reference to the Native American environmental group Honor The Earth, headed by two members of the Indigo Girls.

But if you gazed up at the sky over the Target Field stands before the game, you would have seen the work of another organization. There, zipping across the sky, was an airplane, with a banner containing a seemingly odd message behind it: "3M DO THE RIGHT THING FOR FORESTS."

See also:
Protester risks death to place Love Water Not Oil" Banner over Target Field video board

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Arsenic in Minnesota's water: How worried should we be?

Categories: Environment

The Center for Public Integrity

Just a week ago, we shared a report from the Center for Public Integrity showing that Minnesota has a serious problem involving arsenic in its groundwater, with many areas reporting levels much higher than the EPA's limit of 10 parts per billion.

If you look at the map accompanying the center's report, the situation in Minnesota looks dire, far worse than any other state. The map shows much of Minnesota covered in black dots, representing areas where arsenic levels are above 50 parts per billion, five times the EPA limit.

See also:
New report finds dangerous levels of arsenic across Minnesota wells

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KSTP denies report Stanley Hubbard is sponsoring climate change denial conference [UPDATE]

Hubbard, according to Rolling Stone, calls climate change "the biggest fraud in the history of America."
:::: UPDATE :::: As Media Matters notes, despite Radford's denial, Hubbard Broadcasting Inc. is listed as a co-sponsor of the conference on the Heartland Institute's website. As a result, Media Matters characterizes "the Hubbard team's response" as "a completely illogical dodge."

Original post (June 27) -- In a report, Media Matters dings Stanley Hubbard for "co-sponsoring a Heartland Institute conference promoting climate denial" and alleges Hubbard's skepticism has "seeped into [his] stations' reporting."

Hubbard's flagship station, of course, is KSTP. But KSTP news director Lindsay Radford tells us Media Matters has it wrong about the upcoming conference and overstates Hubbard's influence on her newsroom.

See also:
Petition calls on Star Tribune to stop paying attention to climate change deniers

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Minnesota's triclosan ban: Expert explains why it's the right move

There's nothing wrong with plain-old soap and water, Dr. Colette Cozean says.
After we reported on Gov. Mark Dayton signing the nation's first triclosan ban into law (read the full backstory here), we heard from an expert who applauded the Land of 10,000 Lakes for being ahead of the curve.

Dr. Colette Cozean is a California-based medical device inventor. She's also the CEO of Zylast, a company that makes a triclosan-free hand sanitizer. But before you dismiss her as simply being a shill for her product, consider what she has to say about the benefits of old-fashioned soap and water.

See also:
Petition calls on Star Tribune to stop paying attention to climate change deniers

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Minnesota becomes first state to ban triclosan, controversial ingredient in antibacterial soaps

Triclosan is in roughly 75 percent of antibacterial soaps and body washes.
:::: UPDATE :::: Minnesota's Triclosan ban: Expert explains why it's the right move

Tucked into an environment bill signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday was a measure banning triclosan, a controversial antibacterial agent found in a wide array of consumer products.

Minnesota is the first state to ban triclosan, which is currently being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.

See also:
Cocaine, antidepressants found in roughly one-third of Minnesota lakes, study finds

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Global warming will make Minnesota look more like Missouri, U of M prof says

Categories: Environment
Flickr via Jenny Downing
The White House released the third National Climate Assessment report Tuesday, showing how climate change is touching the entire United States. It's a grim prediction of floods and droughts, rising sea levels and receding forests, and it puts the blame squarely on the human species.

The average temperature in Hibbing, for instance, rose 3.1 degrees between 1991 and 2012 when compared to the period between 1901 and 1960. This might not seen like much, but it freaks out climate scientists.

See also:
MNGOP leader Kurt Daudt suggests today's freezing temps mean global warming is a myth

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U of M's Julian Marshall surprised by public health implications of race-air pollution study

Twin Cities NO2 map
The more yellow an area, the higher the nitrogen dioxide levels. Orange depicts particularly high concentrations.
Because people of color tend to live near highways or power plants, they're exposed to a lot more nitrogen dioxide than whites, a new study finds. As a result, there are about 7,000 heart disease deaths in America each year that wouldn't happen if nonwhites were exposed to the same NO2 levels as whites.

That dramatic finding surprised University of Minnesota environmental engineering professor Julian Marshall, who coauthored "National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality: Outdoor NO2 Air Pollution in the United States" along with Lara Clark and Dylan Millet.

See also:
Mpls air pollution affects blacks more than whites, U of M study finds

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