The poll results can be seen here.
MPR reports on a new study from the University of Minnesota showing how the conversion of grasslands to crop land poses a dramatic threat to our drinking water supplies because of contamination from nitrogen-based fertilizer. The evidence is getting overwhelming; the key now is to convince state government actors to take the necessary steps to change farming practices.
Friday's New York Times has a nice piece summarizing Minnesota's success in reducing carbon emissions in the last decade. Maybe the most important part is the "without much straining" comment in the headline. Minnesota has had, if not a perfect, at least a decent storm of coincidences that have helped get those numbers down--a severe recession, several old, dirty coal plants due to retire, and significant price drops for natural gas and renewables like solar and wind. Now comes the hard part. Minnesota's economic growth level is picking up, natural gas prices can be expected to rise, and the coal plants still on line are newer, involve more sunk costs, and decisions to close rather than retrofit will be harder for the utilities to make. The laws are in good shape; the question is whether regulators will have the political will to keep pushing those carbon numbers down.
Interesting article in yesterday's New York Times on the impact of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in developing the Obama Administration's rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants. The structure of the rules--giving states targets and then giving them flexibility on how to meet them--is consistent with NRDC white papers, and was obviously persuasive. At the same time, however, the NRDC is today one of the stronger critics of the rule, arguing that it set the bars for the states way too low.
Important new report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, using new technology to show how we have been losing tens of thousands of acres of important wetlands in the prairie pothole region of Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas, with the largest losses in emergent wetlands occurring in Minnesota. At a time when ag and local government groups are violently protesting simple clarification of the federal government's jurisdiction over wetlands, this report demonstrates again just how high the stakes are. Minnesota is a bit unusual because it has its own comprehensive wetland conservation act, but Minnesota's WCA has not been meeting its "no net loss" objective either.
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
26 East Exchange Street, Suite 206
St. Paul, MN 55101 | (651) 223 - 5969