Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Groups file suit to stop increase in crude oil transported through Minnesota

The GOP believes Keystone XL and other pipelines have a better shot after the election. There are a few who beg to differElizabeth Dunbar at MPR writes, “Environmental advocates are challenging a workaround by Enbridge Energy to transport additional Canadian crude oil into the United States while waiting for a federal permit. The Sierra Club, the White Earth Nation and several other groups filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. State Department. The suit alleges that the department approved an Enbridge plan to construct and operate a crude oil pipeline that crosses the U.S.-Canada border without first reviewing the environmental impacts of the project as required by federal law. Such a review would include an assessment of whether the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.” Uh, I think I know the answer to that one. Also, there was this from the AP. (Here is MinnPost’s take.)

The latest on #pointergate? Stanley Hubbard may get picketed. Says Molly Bloom at MPR, “The chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting, the company that owns KSTP, is speaking this week at Augsburg College in Minneapolis and plans for a protest are already underway. As chairman, Stanley Hubbard oversees local radio and television stations across the country, including KSTP. Augsburg’s Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, a chapter of a nationwide community organizing group, are organizing a #pointergate rally to take place before Hubbard’s speech on Thursday. The group is also encouraging people to reserve tickets for the speech itself.”

Speaking of executives, you gotta know there’s some juicy high-level politics in the story behind the “restructuring” at UnitedHealth. Say Christopher Snowbeck and Joe Carlson in the Strib, “The managed care giant said Executive Vice President Gail Boudreaux, 54, will leave effective Feb. 27. Other changes include the promotions of three other executives and the creation of a five-member Office of the Chief Executive that will manage the company over the next five years. Boudreaux, who has been with the company since 2008 and heads UnitedHealth’s insurance division, is due a severance of up to $23 million as part of the change, according to securities filings and company statements.” 

The winners get to gloat. In the conservative Weekly Standard Barry Casselman, who knows Minnesota, writes about comedian Bill Maher’s failed attempt to oust Rep. John Kline. “Kline’s reelection was not in any doubt, but TV comedian Bill Maher thought he could intervene in the election and defeat him. It was a pathetic and uninformed effort (Maher didn’t even know who Kline’s Democratic opponent was). Kline reacted accordingly, raising campaign funds from Maher’s hapless folly and publicizing the comedian’s intrusion into the race. Kline won in a 17-point landslide, and I don’t doubt that Maher’s efforts actually increased his margin of victory. Along with former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz, Kline is one of the most respected and well-liked political figures in the state.”

The GleanKevin Smith staying on at the Minnesota Orchestra is kind of a big deal. The New York Times’s Allan Kozinn writes, “Mr. Smith was elected to the position by a unanimous vote of the board, in effect confirming him in the role in which he has been acting in an interim capacity since Sept. 1, … Mr. Smith, 63, joined the orchestra’s management in July. He was president and chief executive of the Minnesota Opera for 25 years before he retired from that company in 2011. Osmo Vanska, the orchestra’s music director, said in a statement: I have been very impressed by Kevin’s ability to listen and to bring people together, qualities which make him the right leader to guide the organization.’”

In the Strib, Graydon Royce says, “Smith quickly won the trust of all constituencies at the orchestra when he arrived in August. Significantly, Dianne Brennan also was hired as head of development, bringing with her 15 years of experience and contacts as the Guthrie Theater’s chief fundraiser. The organization announced in August the receipt of $13 million in donations that were targeted for endowment.”

The deer have been keeping their heads down. The St. Cloud Times story says, “Minnesota hunters registered 54,000 deer during the first three days of the gun-deer season — down 30,000 compared with the same period in 2013, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday.” Their best friend is the lousy weather.

For all the cynical noise raised during the Ebola freak-out there has been a heartening response. Dan Browning and Jeremy Olson of the Strib report, “The American Refugee Committee, based in Minneapolis, was already in talks with U.S. government officials this fall about providing medical aid in Liberia when it contacted local Liberian leaders and discovered there were already 100 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals eager to volunteer. When the charity started posting jobs and volunteer positions on its website for the treatment center, it received 400 applications in the first two days. ‘People will amaze you at their willingness to go into the most difficult situations,’ said Daniel Wordsworth, president and chief executive of the American Refugee Committee, or ARC, on Wednesday.”

Also positive news: John Enger of MPR reports, “Pregnant women in northern Minnesota who are addicted to drugs or alcohol will get more medical support, thanks to a $1.6 million grant announced Wednesday at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. The grant will pay for a collaborative drug education and screening program for at-risk mothers in Beltrami County and the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Jim Przybilla, CEO of PrimeWest Health, the health plan provider funding the grant, said substance abuse among expectant mothers is a particular problem in and around Beltrami County.”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/13/2014 - 06:23 am.

    ESA Sticks the Landing! A Fish House on the Comet.

    Minnesota concentrates on Minnesota issues. I understand that.
    Though I note a big story missing from this page.

    America used to own stories like this. Moon landings. Sometimes with Minnesota connections.
    Now its China going to the moon & the European Space Agency landing research vehicles on comets.

    Just be sure to have the fish house off the ice by March 1st.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/13/2014 - 08:40 am.

    How to Ruin Credibility 101

    OK Weekly Standard, I was buying your bit until this….”Along with former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz, Kline is one of the most respected and well-liked political figures in the state.” Boschwitz wouldn’t even be on the first page, single spaced.

  3. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 11/13/2014 - 09:14 am.

    “a severance of up to $23 million”

    Your premiums are are being flushed down the toilet for this person’s unearned severance package.

    You were possibly denied coverage for a medical procedure so that Gail Boudreaux could retire in luxury.

    Pure waste–and one of the arguments for closing down health insurance companies in favor of a single payer system.

    A truly progressive government would clawback Boudreaux’s legally sanctioned corporate theft and return its funds to covering what it was intended to cover–payment for healthcare.

    Once again the American public is played for a fool, and it will ask for yet more.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/13/2014 - 03:09 pm.

      And this is for a VP !! If she’d climbed the ladder further,…

      …maybe she could have enjoyed an even better deal, like Bill McGuire, currently using his $1.x billion dollar net worth (“self-made”, one site said, dismissive of the policyholders) to see if he can get the next professional sports stadium built here in Minnesota, since we don’t have enough of them.

      He made a 2013 list of the most (insert your favorite adjective here) retirement payouts:

      “William McGuire, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH), 2006: McGuire became CEO in 1991. He left amid scandal in 2006 when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission started investigating the company for options backdating. McGuire received $286 million in his retirement deal, but later had to pay more than $600 million in settlements with the SEC and shareholders.”

      This $600 million is a cost of doing business for someone like McGuire. Don’t shed any tears for him, though. Save your tears for the insureds and the shareholders, who need representation and advocacy in these matters – to save their skin.

      Hopefully, Ms. Boudreaux isn’t involved in any backdating scandal. Her golden parachute might even enable her, in her rise, to become one of the principal owners of McGuire’s soccer team: “The United States Soccer Federation has strict ownership standards for Division II teams such as United FC. They include requiring each team’s principal owner to have a net worth of at least $20 million.” (same link)

      Today’s online Fortune says:

      [She created an environment that developed “trust with the people we serve,” something that does not come easily in the health care industry.]

      That bit about “trust with the people we serve”, should get some kind of award, considering today’s news.

  4. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/13/2014 - 11:52 am.


    “The deer have been keeping their heads down. The St. Cloud Times story says, “Minnesota hunters registered 54,000 deer during the first three days of the gun-deer season — down 30,000 compared with the same period in 2013, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday.” Their best friend is the lousy weather.”

    And yet we have people that complain when only 250 wolf permits are issued.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 11/13/2014 - 02:39 pm.

      Can you please clarify the connection between the two?

      I don’t know what you are trying to say regarding wolves and deer.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/13/2014 - 04:16 pm.


        What I’m getting at is that wolves eat deer and must be managed now since there are fewer deer to eat. DNR is receiving too much money from deer hunters to do anything different but wolf lovers cry when a few wolves are allowed to be killed to keep the population in check.

        • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 11/14/2014 - 10:16 am.


          You don’t seem to understand how wolves function in the ecosystem. The only wolves that could reasonably be killed are ones that are causing problems (attacking livestock, encroaching on populated areas, etc.), and that is exceedingly rare.

          A healthy wolf population actually helps improve the health of deer populations. To suggest they have anything to do with lower deer populations right now is ludicrous. Two harsh winters (and brutal springs) have had a deleterious effect on deer populations.

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/17/2014 - 11:11 am.

            You don’t

            seem to understand the point of my comments. None of my comments suggested that the low deer harvest was a result of the wolves. My comments were intended to show how silly it was for people to be upset by the wolf hunting season. How do you suppose people differentiate between wolves that are causing problems and other ones? They can’t so wolves are killed no matter what which to me seems reasonable in order to keep the health of the wolf and deer populations and both in balance. At no point did I suggest that the wolf population had anything at all to do with lower deer populations. The wolf hunting season was necessary since the DNR receives too much money to limit a deer harvest.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/13/2014 - 12:16 pm.

    Faint praise.

    “Kline is one of the most respected and well-liked political figures in the state.”

  6. Submitted by jody rooney on 11/13/2014 - 01:36 pm.

    Actually Kline has potential

    his district just has to train him.

    Hit him with your issues regardless of party and keep after him.

    If there is one thing any military officer or x military officer understands it’s that his job is to protect his troops. Approach him with the problems he will address them or he will be labeled as a failure. If he doesn’t remember that every veteran in his district will.

  7. Submitted by tim johnson on 11/13/2014 - 03:23 pm.


    Why don’t some intrepid metro reporters interview a good slice of gangbangers in the Cities to see how they interpret the photo of the mayor and the ex-gangbanger?
    Seems like it would add some value to the discussion, more than the knickerstwisting over the horror that anyone would suggest the mayor might snidely/cooly played at showing a gang sign with the ex-gangbanger.
    There is such a gang sign.
    It does sort of look as if the ex-gangbanger is making the sign, not just pointing at the mayor….
    why not ask some experts?

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/15/2014 - 09:08 am.

      Did you watch the video?

      In the moments leading up to the “point”, Navell and the Mayor were doing a variety of different “poses” with their hands. Just before the “point”, they were both doing a “thumbs up”, and then they did the “point”.

      So if he was throwing a “gang sign”, it was certainly one of the most awkward throws ever.

Leave a Reply