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Sandpiper project goes to Minnesota Supreme Court

Sandpiper, seek the Supreme. Says Dave Shaffer of the Strib, “Enbridge Energy and state regulators have asked the state’s top court to toss out a recent Appeals Court decision ordering an environmental impact statement for the Sandpiper project, a proposed pipeline to carry North Dakota crude oil to refineries in other states. If the Supreme Court agrees to review the case, it could mean further uncertainty and delay for the $2.6 billion project that Calgary-based Enbridge hoped to begin building next year. If the high court declines to review the case, the appellate panel’s ruling would stand, along with its mandate for a full-scale environmental impact statement (EIS), which also could delay construction.”

In the Cliffs vs. Essar taconite squabble up north, says, “Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) stated that in July 2015, Cliffs’ CEO and three other Cliffs’ executives accepted the invitation by Essar Minnesota’s CEO Madhu Vuppuluri to tour the Essar Minnesota construction site. As a result of the site visit and Cliffs’ decades of experience in the business, Cliffs believes that Essar’s claims of the project’s state of completion are substantially overstated and, as a result, the projected timeline for pellet production in 2016 is inaccurate. Cliffs had previously reported during its second-quarter 2015 earnings call that until Essar starts producing iron ore pellets at a sustainable rate, the Essar project in Minnesota is nothing more than a construction site. This remains Cliffs’ position.”

But then, MPR reports, “Cliffs Natural Resources on Monday backed away from its CEO’s threat to close one of its Minnesota Iron Range operations as soon as a competitor’s plant opened. … On Monday, however, Cliffs posted a statement saying it ‘does not have any current plans to permanently idle or close any of its Minnesota mines.’”

Might they perhaps also be interested in some of our delicious, double-secret, homegrown personal seat licenses? Evan Ramstad of the Strib tells us, “[Shinn Tae-yong, chairman of the Korea Importers Association] flew to Minnesota at the behest of the director of the state’s Korea trade office, Imm Han-kyong. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development last year hired Imm, who goes by Hank, to promote goods produced by the state’s companies and farmers in South Korea. The country, home to 50 million people, last year was the seventh-largest buyer of Minnesota products, spending $714 million chiefly on beef, pork, grains, machinery and plastics. That was up from $624 million in 2013 and $707 million in 2012.”

The state GOP has settled its delegate-selection procedure. In the Strib, Michael Brodkorb says, “All delegates from Minnesota to the Republican National Convention in 2016 will be elected proportionately and bound to the winners of the presidential preference ballot at Republican precinct caucuses on March 1, 2016 for the first round of balloting.  Minnesota Republicans will send 38 delegates next year to the Republican National Convention. Three delegates will be elected at conventions held in each of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts (24 total delegates) and 11 delegates will be elected at the Republican Party of Minnesota’s State Convention.” How much do you want to be on hand for that scene?

Just think if Denny Hecker was locked up here. Beatrice Dupuy of the Strib says, “Video technology is giving Minnesota inmates a glimpse of the outside world — and often a window into their former homes — from behind bars. All 11 state Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities now allow inmates to video chat with loved ones via tablet or computer in a program similar to FaceTime or Skype. The department signed on with Florida video visitation company JPay Inc. this spring. That company was recently acquired by prison technology giant Securus Technologies.”

But maybe we can have a chat with Whitey’s friend. Reuters says, “Former Boston mob boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, is due in court on Monday to face contempt charges for allegedly refusing to testify about whether anyone helped the couple during their 16 years on the lam. Greig, 64, is already serving an eight-year sentence in federal prison in Waseca, Minn., after pleading guilty in 2012 to charges of identity fraud and harboring a fugitive stemming from her years hiding with Bulger.”

Here’s wishes for a full recovery, Senator. David Montgomery’s story in the PiPress says, “Former senator and St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman has throat cancer, the Republican politician revealed on his Facebook profile Monday. ‘It is clear that my cancer, while serious, is very treatable and the prognosis is extremely positive,’ wrote Coleman, 66, in a post for his friends on the social network. … He is working with doctors in both the Twin Cities and at Rochester’s Mayo Clinic. Coleman said he will undergo aggressive procedures in the coming weeks to treat the cancer, but will ‘continue to live my life, enjoy my family, go to my cabin, do my work, stay involved in politics and public policy and be a husband and a dad.’”

The hell with arts, let’s go green. Steve Brandt in the Strib says, “The downtown Minneapolis street that once was to become an Avenue of the Arts is targeted to be a green link for walkers and bikers between the Convention Center and the Mississippi River under a $3 million proposal by Mayor Betsy Hodges. The proposal would remake about a mile of 3rd Avenue and would remove three of its five signature landscaped medians. Some of their greenery would be shifted alongside sidewalks. Some road space would be converted to bike lanes — the first ones in the city to be protected by planters that would sit between biker and motorists.

Adrian Peterson’s legal saga is still grinding on. The AP story says, “The NFL has completed perhaps its final argument for Adrian Peterson’s six-game suspension last season, the latest attempt by the league at an off-the-field victory amid a series of legal losses related to player discipline. NFL attorney Dan Nash made the pitch Monday to a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the culmination of the league’s contest against U.S. District Judge David Doty.”

And in another long running drama, Ricardo Lopez of the Strib says, “State Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, will face renewed scrutiny in late November from a Senate ethics committee over his ties to a nonprofit agency that served low income residents. … Over the course of two hearings, senators last year failed to settle questions over the ethics charges. They postponed deliberations until state agencies finished their investigations. The Commerce Department completed its review of Community Action last summer.”

Meanwhile, at, Roger Marsh brings folks up to speed on the “shape shifting” UFO over Olmsted County. “The sighting occurred beginning at 2:15 p.m. on October 11, 2015, a ‘beautiful, warm, cloudless day.’ ‘I went for a bike ride with my brother,’ the witness stated. ‘We went to the Douglas Trail which starts in Rochester, MN, and ends in Pine Island, MN, 13 miles each way. At about 10 mile in we were being followed by a large brown hawk.’ … After about 30 seconds the hawk flew off. ‘We kept our eye on him until he was a distance away. We were just about to start our ride again when I looked up above the hawk in the distance and saw a white orb. The orb was way up high. It was a total cloudless day so it was the only thing in the entire sky.’ But then the orb began to change. ‘I looked at it for about 10 seconds and then it started to grow in size. It changed its shape and became a large triangle craft.” If this was coming out of Wisconsin I could tell you in heartbeat what was going on.

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