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DULUTH — A state administrative law judge has flatly rejected a plan by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to abandon the statewide 10 parts-per-million limit for sulfate pollution in wild rice waters in exchange for a lake-by-lake system with varying limits. Administrative Law Judge LauraSue Schlatter, in an 82-page opinion approved by the state's chief administrative law judge and released Thursday, Jan. 11, considered 1,500 written comments on the proposed changes in state law and held five public hearings that drew a combined 300 people.
DULUTH, Minn.—The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is looking for volunteers to trek across the north woods later this winter and count grouse poop in the snow, spruce grouse poop in particular. The spruce grouse may be the Rodney Dangerfield of the northern forest — it doesn't get much respect — often referred to as "fool's hen" because they tend not to fly away when approached.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.—The long-awaited restart of the former Magnetation operations just outside Grand Rapids could happen as soon as the summer, with more than 100 people back to work, months earlier than previously expected. New owner Tom Clarke said this week that he now has engineering plans ready and financing in place to complete an estimated $20 million in retrofitting work to the former Magnetation pellet plant in Reynolds, Indiana.
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Tuesday, Jan. 9, said it plans to deny U.S. Steel a variance in its water pollution discharge permit for the company's massive Minntac taconite iron ore processing center in Mountain Iron. The preliminary denial is now open for public comment, with a public hearing set for Jan. 23 in Mountain Iron. Minntac asked for a 20-year variance for sulfates, bicarbonates, dissolved solids and other pollutants before any regulatory enforcement so it can develop affordable ways to control the pollutants.
ST. PAUL—The Minnesota DFL Environmental Caucus said Tuesday that they have endorsed State Auditor Rebecca Otto in the crowded race for the 2018 DFL gubernatorial endorsement. The caucus is made up of about 400 members from across the state who are trying to promote an environmental protection agenda among the state's Democrats.
ST. PAUL — Dave Quiser decided to go for a ride on Christmas afternoon in hopes of finding a grouse or two along the back roads north of his home near Cook, Minn. But instead the retired St. Louis County sheriff's deputy came close to losing his life in 30-below-zero temperatures. He'll be lucky now if he doesn't lose any fingers or toes due to severe frostbite. He was listed in serious condition Wednesday, Dec. 26, in the burn unit of Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
HIBBING, Minn. — Two adults are dead and two children suffered life-threatening injuries in an early morning house fire in Hibbing on Tuesday, Dec. 26. The Hibbing Fire Department said it was called to a fire at 212 42nd St. East at 1:37 a.m. While en route to the scene, crews were updated that there was heavy fire on the back of the home and that there were several people trapped inside.
DULUTH — Twin Metals Minnesota will get back its permits to explore for copper on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and continue working toward a copper mine southeast of Ely, under a decision Friday by the U.S. Interior Department. The move by the Trump administration reverses a decision to hold back the federal mineral leases that was made one year ago by the outgoing Obama administration.
BABBITT, Minn. — Whether it's $544 million in coverage suggested by PolyMet for the first year of mining or the reported $1 billion state experts say might be needed at peak mine activity, the so-called financial assurance for the proposed copper mine near Babbitt is being misinterpreted by some people as a guard against catastrophe.
ISLE ROYALE, Minn.—As the last wolves die off on Isle Royale and the Lake Superior island's moose herd continues to grow rapidly, another odd phenomena is occuring. Isle Royale moose are getting smaller. Research to be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Global Change Biology shows that the size of moose skulls has shrunk 16 percent over the past 40 years.