Friday, March 25, 2011

Lawsuit withdrawn after Minnesota legislature exempts Iron Range Resources from environmental review

By The Center for Biological Diversity

DULUTH, Minn.— A change in state law exempting Iron Range Resources from Minnesota’s environmental review requirements prompted conservationists today to dismiss their lawsuit against the agency. The lawsuit had been filed to challenge a premature and illegal loan by Iron Range Resources to PolyMet Mining Company, which is pursuing the state’s first open-pit sulfide mine but has not obtained the required environmental approvals. Instead of addressing the problems identified in the lawsuit, the state simply changed the longstanding rules to benefit the mining proposal.

“Passing new legislation that weakens environmental requirements in response to a lawsuit is public policy at its worst,” said Marc Fink, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The lawsuit was filed in January in response to the Iron Range Resources’ approval of a $4 million loan to PolyMet at its December board meeting. State agencies are prohibited by the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act from authorizing loans to projects that are still going through the environmental review process. The purpose is to ensure that there is no bias in favor of proposals prior to the completion of environmental review. In response, the state legislature passed a new law exempting Iron Range Resources from the definition of “government unit” under the statute.

“The new legislation undermines a critical component of environmental review, which is for the state to withhold permits, loans or approvals until it has been determined that a proposal meets the state’s environmental standards,” said Betsy Daub, of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

The exemption of Iron Range Resources from the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act was offered as a floor amendment by Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia when a related bill was being considered by the House of Representatives. No hearings were held on the exemption, there was no public notice, and the effect of the provision was not described fully before passage.

“We are extremely disappointed that the legislature exempted Iron Range Resources from environmental review without any public process,” said Le Lind of Save Lake Superior Association. “The only reason an agency on the Iron Range is being treated differently is to bolster the highly controversial sulfide mine proposals.”

In prior comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rated the PolyMet mine proposal as “environmentally unsatisfactory-inadequate” due to unacceptable and long-term water-quality impacts. The tribal cooperating agencies also determined that the proposed mining project would need to treat wastewater for “hundreds or thousands of years” to avoid contamination of nearby surface waters. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is currently working with federal agencies to prepare a supplemental environmental analysis for the proposed PolyMet mine project after the initial draft received critical reviews from other agencies, tribal scientists and the public.

The proposed mine site is located on the Superior National Forest, but PolyMet owns the mineral rights. PolyMet’s proposed mine is not allowed on Superior National Forest lands, which has triggered a proposed land exchange between the Forest Service and PolyMet. The $4 million loan from the Iron Range Resources Board would be used by PolyMet to purchase lands to be exchanged with the Forest Service for the proposed mine site.

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Save Lake Superior Association, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and Indigenous Environmental Network.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 320,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


from March 22, 2011 DNT, Hiring of police chief questioned, page 1.

"The city manager for Benson, Rob Wolfington, who supervised Crace at the time of the disciplinary actions, called the infractions minor.

"In my judgement, he had not exercised the expected sufficiently high standard of professional conduct and that he had, thereby, failed to maintain the expected and, in my o9pinion, appropriate supervisor-subordinate relationship relative to those particular situation," he said.

HUH ... !

Monday, March 14, 2011

Deed offers publication for investors, emerging businesses

For Immediate Release Contact: Monte Hanson, 651-259-7149

ST. PAUL - A new publication for people who want to learn more about the state's new Angel Tax Credit Program and securities registration is being offered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

"Minnesota's Angel Tax - Small Corporate Offering Registration (SCOR)" covers eligibility requirements for the angel tax credit, how the credit works and other details. A separate section explains the Small Corporate Offering Registration (SCOR), which can help businesses raise capital by simplifying the securities registration process.

The publication was a collaborative effort of DEED and the Minneapolis-based law firm of Larkin Hoffman.

"Minnesota has a strong tradition of innovation and growth through small firms," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "The new angel tax credit will offer a substantial incentive to investors and will direct crucial funding to start-up businesses. The section on SCOR will appeal to similar audiences."

DEED launched its Angel Tax Credit Program last July to provide an incentive for investors and funds to put money into emerging companies focused on high technology or new proprietary technology. The program includes a 25 percent individual income tax credit for qualified investors.

In its first six months, the program attracted $28 million in investments for 66 Minnesota businesses and $7 million in tax credits for 258 investors.

"Minnesota's Angel Tax - Small Corporate Offering Registration (SCOR)" is available for no charge in hard copy and on CD by calling DEED's Small Business Assistance Office at 651-259-7476. It is also available for direct download on the DEED website at

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at Follow us on Twitter at

“Prospects for the Arrowhead: What Do You Want For Your Future?”

 Reply |Stern, Laurie to Patty
show details 10:49 AM (2 hours ago)
 March 14, 2011
Contact: Laurie Stern

MPR News and Northland’s NewsCenter Present
“Prospects for the Arrowhead: What Do You Want For Your Future?”
Tuesday, April 5 at Radisson Harborview

Admission is free and the public is invited to attend

WHAT:  MPR News and Northland’s NewsCenter are hosting a community conversation about the economic future of Northeastern Minnesota.  An economic evolution is underway in the Arrowhead region. New mining projects, continued development along the North Shore, the growth of health care and increasing numbers of self-employed workers present a fresh generation of choices.
While the economy shows signs of life, the path to prosperity raises tough questions about jobs and quality of life. Host Cathy Wurzer from MPR News and Barbara Reyelts from Northland’s News Center will conduct an invigorating and important discussion.

“Prospects for the Arrowhead” is the third in a series of statewide events to be hosted by MPR News. The events are collaborations between MPR News and greater Minnesota news organizations to explore local issues, and are made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. “Prospects for the Arrowhead” is co-sponsored by Northland’s NewsCenter.

"We are thrilled to work with MPR News to explore the economic options in Northeastern Minnesota,” says Barbara Reyelts, News Manager for Northland’s NewsCenter. “Northeastern Minnesota has unique economic potential and some hard choices to make.”

“Northland’s NewsCenter covers the gamut of economic issues in the Arrowhead,” says Chris Worthington, managing director of MPR News. “We’re looking forward to a lively discussion. We know what happens in the Arrowhead will affect the whole state.”

The media organizations will work together on taped interviews leading up to the event.

WHEN: 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5. Free pre-event reception begins at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Radisson Harborview Great Hall, 505 West Superior Street, Duluth.  Parking is free.
TICKETS: Admission is free, but RSVP is requested by going to