MPCA — the state’s leading environmental protection agency — fails to act against mining pollution

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is again in the news for turning a blind eye to ongoing water pollution leaving U.S. Steel’s Minntac Mine in northern Minnesota, according to a report in E&E News. Minntac’s violations “would likely have meant a multimillion-dollar fine for U.S. Steel Corp. … and strict requirements for a cleanup,” the report said.

The EPA is declining such penalties because of MPCA indifference. E&E writes:

Records obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act indicate Minnesota regulators opposed EPA’s proposed enforcement. …

Leaders of a tribe downstream from Minntac, the Fond du Lac Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, are angry that the case has gone dark. They’ve tried for decades to fend off pollution to preserve wild rice, a culturally significant staple food that grows in the region’s waters.

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Events/Actions: Election Protection volunteers needed, Stronger together to Stop Line 3, and more

In this blog:

  • Election Protection volunteers needed
  • Nonviolence and Religions:  Sources and Practice — Success and Failure, Thursday, Sept. 24
  • Stronger Together to Stop Line 3, Tuesday, Sept. 29
  • Training for non-violent direct action to stop Line 3, Oct. 4-5
  • Urge the MN Public Utilities Commission to prioritize benefits to BIPOC communities

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Weekend Reads: New book ‘White Too Long’; Forced sterilization in U.S nothing new; Whence “White Jesus”? and more

In this blog:

  • Interview with author of ‘White Too Long’
  • Forced sterilization: The long, disgraceful history of American attacks on brown and black women’s reproductive systems
  • How Jesus became white
  • Standing Rock protester Red Fawn released from prison after 4+ years

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Minnesota Senate has a Line 3 temper tantrum

Walz, Bishop: Don’t buckle to intimidation

Former Commissioner Steve Kelley

The Minnesota State Senate booted Steve Kelley as the Commissioner of Commerce because his department filed a legal challenge to the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. In so doing, the Senate abused its role to “advise and consent” on top state administration appointments.

Kelley didn’t violate any ethics rules. He didn’t break the law. The Senate didn’t argue he wasn’t qualified. The Senate failed to make an argument against his appointment other than a policy disagreement.

If a policy dispute was sufficient to reject a commissioner’s appointment, the Senate could justify rejecting any and all appointees.

Also worrisome, the Senate seems to be sending a thinly veiled threat to Laura Bishop, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The MPCA has yet to act on Enbrdige’s request for Line 3’s water crossing permit. The Senate has yet to confirm Bishop’s appointment, so there’s an implied threat that she could be next if she blocks the permit.

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Six reasons Bemidji’s police-community relationships remain strained following George Floyd protests

Part 4 and last in a series on Bemidji’s May 30-31 evening curfews and the community fallout

Here are six reasons Bemidji’s police-community relations took a hit and remain unresolved following the May 30-31 evening curfews. Continue reading

Patriots or vigilantes? Off Grid Armory’s Facebook posts during Bemidji’s curfew sound residents’ alarm bells

Part 3 in a series on Bemidji’s May 30-31 evening curfews and the community fallout

In late May, Bemidji law enforcement had what it believed were credible threats that violent left-wing extremists were coming to burn the city. While that threat never materialized, the city had to contend with people associated with an area gun shop volunteering to help law enforcement “protect” the town.

When citizens learned the next day about the gun shop group’s presence, it made some feel less safe.

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Court OK’s federal law enforcement officers assaulting journalists and observers in Portland protests

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “has just stripped away the protections granted to journalists and legal observers covering ongoing protests against racism in Portland, Oregon,” according to the website Techdirt.com.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a restraining order barring federal officers deployed to Portland “from using physical force, arresting or dispersing anyone they should ‘reasonably know’ is at the protests as a journalist or observer — unless the officers had probable cause to suspect the person had committed a crime,” reported the website OPB.

The Ninth Circuit panel stayed Judge Simon’s restraining order, “finding that a blanket order protecting journalists and observers from being assaulted makes things too tough for federal cops,” according to Techdirt’s analysis.

The case now goes to the full Ninth District Court of Appeals. Continue reading

Will Biden and Trump denounce the Boston Tea Party?

In an earlier post, I offered the question I would most like to ask in the upcoming presidential debates. If I got a second one, it would be this: “You both have denounced the recent street violence that erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc. Do you therefore also denounce the violence and property destruction of John Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and the other organizers of the Boston Tea Party? Continue reading

News: David Smith’s death 10 years ago echoes George Floyd’s; key PolyMet decision expected Thursday, and more

In this blog:

  • Washington Post: How Minneapolis police handled the in-custody death of a Black man 10 years before George Floyd
  • WaterLegacy: Key PolyMet decision expected this Thursday, Sept. 3
  • The Intercept: Trump Supporters Rush to Defend One of Their Own Who Killed Protesters in Kenosha
  • The Koncow Maidu’s Trail of Tears in California

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