Jay Nygard May Still Go to Jail Over Homemade Wind Turbines

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File photo
The offending wind turbine, before Nygard covered it in anti-reflective paint.

Jay Nygard thought he was in the clear after a Hennepin County judge ruled last October that state law upheld his right to keep his four DIY wind turbines, which his home city of Orono vowed to take down.

Now Judge Susan Robiner says Orono cops can drag him off to jail if he doesn't disassemble the turbine in his front yard by February 19. She's wanted him to do that since June 2014, saying the turbine produces an "intense flashing light and sound" that "no person should be expected to endure."

Nygard denies the accusation because the turbine in question doesn't have lights and has been turned off since last winter. He won't take it down, risking a contempt of court order to jail him and his wife for six months.

See also:
Judge: Orono's Ban on Jay Nygard's Wind Turbines Conflicts with State Law


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Minnesota's Do-It-Yourself Solar Movement Explodes

Categories: Environment

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By Matt Grimley

A zebra pelt stretches along the wood panel walls of Ed Eichten's man cave. Kudu and warthog skulls stare over framed photos of safaris past. Louis L'Amour and American history fill a bookcase. In some small way, it's still the frontier on this Center City farm.

Joe and Mary, Ed's parents, are from a frontier of sorts. They learned to make gouda cheese in Holland in the 1970s. Just inside their sprawling metal shed of a cheese factory is a world map darted with pins that run from Russia to South Africa, representing the homelands of those who've visited the Eichtens' farm, hoping to learn how they make their cheese.

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Minnesota Energy Policymaker Rep. Pat Garofalo's Complicated Vision for the Future

Categories: Environment

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Photo by brian kusler
Locally sourced usually comes with a price, but it's not one Garofalo's willing to pay.

Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) is anti-solar subsidy, pro-oil pipeline, and pro-fracking, but he also drives a Tesla and backs wind power.

The longtime lawmaker is heading up Minnesota's energy and jobs committee in a new Republican-controlled legislature House, and he's starting the year with big ideas on how to strike maximum power for minimum costs at the risk of pissing a lot of people off.

See also:
Letting Your Car Engine Warm Up Is a Huge Waste of Time and Money


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Letting Your Car Engine Warm Up Is a Huge Waste of Time and Money

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Pixabay
Quit idling and just let 'er rip
The practice of letting your car's engine "warm up" for a few minutes, allowing it to gracefully awaken from its arctic slumber, is deeply ingrained in the Tips That Help You Survive Winter everyone from Minnesota knows.

It makes sense, at least to people who know nothing about cars. It's like the mechanical equivalent to stretching before exercise. But studies done by both the United States and Canadian governments found cars don't benefit from idling at all.

See also:
Minneapolis City Council Passes 'Idling' Ordinance


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Here's Why North Dakota Wants to Allow 10X More Potent Radioactive Waste into Its Dumps

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Colin Delaney via Creative Commons
North Dakota is increasing its radioactive landfill limits to handle the heavy industry driving its economy

North Dakota is in the middle of a push to increase the level of naturally occurring (non-nuclear and medical) radioactive material allowed in its industrial landfills from 5 picocuries per gram to 50 picocuries per gram.

At first it seems easy to shake your head and tsk-tsk the prosperous, newly minted energy giant for selling out its environment, but the North Dakota Department of Health actually makes a pretty compelling case for raising restrictions on dumping the low-level radioactive material known as TENORM.

See also:
North Dakota Tries to Market Itself as a Hookup Haven, Fails


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Essar, Minnesota's New Mining Giant, Caught Repeatedly Falsifying Pollution Records

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Essar

The Essar Group will launch its $1.8 billion taconite plant in Nashwauk sometime next year -- with the state of Minnesota kicking in $66 million in loans and infrastructure bonds.

But riding along with the Iron Range's largest project in 40 years will be Essar's record of providing fraudulent environmental records to regulatory officials.

See also:
Will Mining Save or Destroy Northern Minnesota?

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Judge: Orono's Ban on Jay Nygard's Wind Turbines Conflicts with State Law

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This tall metal structure (on the right) moves people to sue each other
A Hennepin County judge ruled Friday that city officials can no longer ban small wind energy systems used at businesses and homes, including Jay Nygard's. For four years, he's been battling his neighbors and city officials in court for the right to keep four homemade wind turbines on his Lake Minnetonka property.

We called him Friday and found him brimming with pride. An engineer and owner of Go Green Energy, Nygard almost went to jail this summer for refusing to back down.

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


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Will Mining Save or Destroy Northern Minnesota?

Categories: Environment

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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

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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

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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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