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DULUTH, Minn.—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it won't require mining companies to prove they have the cash available to clean up future pollution problems, often called financial assurance, despite government reports that show huge legacy cleanup costs to taxpayers. The move, announced late Friday, would undo a requirement set in place under the Obama administration to require companies set aside money for future Superfund cleanup costs from unexpected toxic releases long after mines close.
DULUTH — The National Park Service is getting closer to announcing its final decision on reintroducing wolves to Isle Royale National Park, and it couldn't come a minute too soon. Wolf researchers for Michigan Technological University say the island may be down to its very last wolf based on analysis of trail camera data gathered over the summer and through September. "We were able to document only one on a trail camera," said Michigan Tech researcher Rolf Peterson. "It's still possible that there are two."
DULUTH, Minn.—Scientists have been saying for years that Minnesota winters are getting warmer, but a new report from the nonprofit group Climate Central shows the region in the bull's-eye for climate change in the U.S. The report, released this week, found winters warming faster in the Great Lakes and Great Plains than anywhere else in the U.S., with winters in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and northern New England warming at an average rate of more than 1 degree per decade since 1970 — more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit total.
Legislation that would reopen areas near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to copper-nickel exploration and potential mining cleared the U.S. House on Thursday, Nov. 30. The bill, which passed 216-204 and still must clear the Senate and be signed by President Trump before taking effect, would end an Obama-administration ban on exploration and mining near the federal wilderness. The bill is aimed at Twin Metals, the Chilean-owned company that wants to build a massive underground copper mine near the Kawishiwi River southeast of Ely, Minnesota.
Two Minnesota anglers learned the hard way that Ontario doesn't mess around when it comes to fish and game law violations and big fines. Russell R. Sikkila Jr. of Chisholm was fined $800 (Canadian dollars) for trying to sneak a dozen leeches into Sand Point Lake, while Carl W. Brandt of Forest Lake was fined $1,500 for hiding bags of leeches in a worm cooler as he crossed the border at Fort Frances. Both men pleaded guilty to smuggling leeches into Ontario in violation of the import ban on most live bait. The cases were heard last week in court in Fort Frances.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. House on Wednesday debated legislation that would reopen areas near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota to copper-nickel exploration and potential mining, but stopped short of taking any vote. House members hotly debated the bill that would end an Obama-administration ban on exploration and mining near the federal wilderness. But a memo from the House whip said a final vote was postponed until Thursday, Nov. 30.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, Nov. 28, passed legislation that orders the U.S. Forest Service to move forward with a land exchange giving PolyMet Mining access to the site where it hopes to build Minnesota's first-ever copper-nickel mine. The bill passed 309-99 and would, if it becomes law, nullify lawsuits filed by environmental groups to stop the land exchange.
DULUTH, Minn. — The governments of Canada and the U.S. are making "considerable progress" in cleaning up the Great Lakes but should set time-specific targets for fixing wastewater and drinking water systems, reducing agricultural and urban runoff and eliminating toxic pollutant releases into the lakes. That was the assessment Tuesday, Nov. 28, by the International Joint Commission, the quasi-government, cross-border group charged with overseeing U.S.-Canada border water disputes and with monitoring the health of the Great Lakes.
DULUTH, Minn. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering using sand dredged from the Duluth-Superior Harbor to resupply rapidly eroding Lake Superior beaches along Minnesota Point. The erosion problem, spurred by near-record-high lake levels and made worse during the big lake's epic storms, has eaten away hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand — reaching so far onto shore that mature trees in the Minnesota Point forest are falling into the lake.
ST. PAUL—Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Minnesota state regulators on Wednesday reported finding three children's jewelry products containing toxic levels of cadmium. The jewelry — a butterfly necklace, ladybug charm necklace and penguin charm necklace — were among 89 toys purchased online and in stores by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as part of a joint effort to enforce the state's Toxic Toys Act.