PolyMet is a (very conditional) go. At the Star Tribune, Josephine Marcotty and J. Patrick Coolican report, “Minnesota officials approved a decade-long environmental review of the first copper-nickel mine proposed for the Iron Range …. Next comes what is likely to be an equally heated battle over how — or if — taxpayers can be protected from the environmental risks to the St. Louis River watershed as regulators tackle a pivotal phase of the $650 million open-pit mining project.”
Up north, John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune says, “The decision doesn’t mean the startup company can start mining anytime soon, and it doesn’t affect the federal review of the project that continues on a separate timeline. But the DNR decision does signal a transition away from environmental review and toward developing details of how the state’s first copper mine might be built and operate.”
At MPR, Dan Kraker says, “Union and business supporters of the project say PolyMet would provide a much needed jolt to the regional economy. The ongoing downturn in the iron mining industry has led to the loss of around two thousand of the best paying jobs on the Iron Range. PolyMet is projected to create 500 construction jobs and 360 full-time positions. But today’s decision does not guarantee the mine will be built. PolyMet must first secure an estimated $600 million in financing to build the mine at a time when metals prices have plummeted.”
Meanwhile … . The AP says, “House Republicans continued their push Thursday to pair a business tax cut with any extension of unemployment benefits for laid-off Iron Range steelworkers, a potential blow to efforts to quickly extend the benefits when legislators return next week.”
That’s 79 percent to go. An MPR story says, “The use of wind, solar, hydro and biomass power has jumped in Minnesota the past 10 years, and the state is poised to beat its goal for electricity generated by renewables, officials said Thursday. Minnesota generated 21 percent of its electricity from renewable energy in 2015, up from 6 percent a decade ago, the Minnesota Commerce Department said in a new report. Seventeen percent of the state’s electricity was generated by wind energy compared to 3 percent in 2005, while coal-fired electricity dropped from 62 percent in 2005 to 44 percent in 2015 … .”
There’s a top choice for the new Airport Commission CEO. Says Tim Nelson at MPR, “A panel of the Metropolitan Airports Commission has recommended the CEO of the Grand Rapids, Michigan airport to run Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Brian Ryks, a Lakeville, Minnesota native, was the top choice among several finalists to succeed Jeff Hamiel, who is retiring in May.”
Lying to a grand jury: Nelson (again) and Matt Sepic at MPR report, “The St. Paul Police Department has put an investigator on paid leave after federal judges rebuked her for lying to a grand jury on key parts of a sex trafficking case. … the court admonished St. Paul Officer Heather Weyker, citing the lower court’s belief that Weyker ‘likely exaggerated or fabricated important aspects of this story … the District Court caught Weyker lying to the grand jury, and later, lying during a detention hearing.’”
Come on! Chop, chop. The Boomers are geezers and are going to need help. Says Don Davis of the Forum News Service, “Minnesota’s elderly population is beginning to boom, and some Minnesota lawmakers say the state is late in making sure there is funding to take care of them. Sen. Kent Eken, D-Twin Valley, again this year is leading an effort to increase funding for senior citizens and the disabled. He announced Thursday that instead of trying to pass a law this year, he wants to amend the state constitution to require funding for ‘the state’s most vulnerable’. As baby boomers age, the state’s nursing home and home health care industries will be pressed, Eken and other lawmakers said. More than 1.3 million Minnesotans will be at least 65 years old, and Eken said 70 percent of them will need some form of long-term care.”
Not Walter White. But he was giving it a shot. Another Forum story, this one by Rick Abbott, says, “A routine traffic stop netted 17 pounds of methamphetamine near here last Friday, the largest meth seizure in North Dakota Highway Patrol history. Francisco Torrez, 34, of Palmdale, Calif., was driving a Mercedes SUV on Interstate 94 near the Mapleton exit at 9:38 a.m. when he was stopped by a patrol officer for speeding, Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind said in a media release.” Pal, ever heard of cruise control?
Another analysis of Minnesota caucus voting. This from Jeff Hargarten in the Strib. “The Twin Cities carried Sanders to victory as he took 62 percent of the metro area DFL vote. On the GOP side, Minnesota was the first – and so far the only – state Rubio has won this primary season, and did well in Minneapolis, St. Paul and other major cities throughout the state. The GOP results may have been predicted by the Star Tribune’s Minnesota Poll from January, where surveyed Republicans expressed preferences for Rubio … Trump’s third place Minnesota finish, meanwhile, could be reflected in the 61 percent of polled Republicans with an unfavorable view of their party’s front-runner.”
It’s your fault. Says Tim Harlow in the Strib, “Come prepared, don’t tote as much carry-on baggage and consider spending the time and money to enroll in the fast-lane program. That’s the advice of Transportation Security Administration officials, who after revamping security checkpoints at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are now confronting wait times twice as long as before. With no budget to hire additional personnel, even as airport traffic continues to rise, the TSA is calling on fliers to help ease the crunch.” Fliers!?