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Minnesota officials: EPA’s proposed science rule, ‘will threaten lives of real people’

Plus: Minnesota congressmen want medical technology products off list of Chinese imports subject to tariff; northern Minnesota bog won’t budge; St. Cloud State has a new president; and more.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Stribber Josephine Marcotty writes, “Minnesota’s top health and environmental officials sent a blistering letter Wednesday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charging that its controversial plan to impose broad new restrictions on the types of scientific research it uses to craft regulations will cause confusion, mistrust and ‘threaten the lives of real people.’

Remind me, what was the point of tariffs to begin with? Says Jim Spencer of the Strib, “In a letter that echoes medical device industry talking points, three Minnesota congressmen have joined 37 colleagues in calling for the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to remove medical technology products and components from a list of Chinese imports subject to a 25 percent protective tariff. Republican Representatives Erik Paulsen, Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis signed the letter. Paulsen, whose district includes many medical technology companies, was a lead author along with Democratic Rep. Scott Peters of California.”

Bog troubles. From the Forum News Service’s Jennifer Kraus: “A monstrous floating bog — about the size of three football fields — is refusing to leave without a fight from the spot it floated into on a northern Minnesota lake near Brainerd. The bog has been lodged in North Long Lake in front of the Minnesota American Legion’s Legionville School Safety Patrol Training Center since last fall. Volunteers with the North Long Lake Association, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota American Legion — the owner of the camp — worked all day Wednesday, trying to get the bog to budge.”

More kind words for longtime Twin Cities journalist Nick Coleman. These from Paul Tosto at MPR:  “Nick Coleman is dead. We’re the poorer for it. That includes everyone who loved the legendary Twin Cities newsman, and everyone who couldn’t stand him — two nations that, over the years, remained pretty evenly split, with many people crossing the border. Pioneer Press reporter Mary Divine wrote a lovely obituary Wednesday. I worked with him but didn’t know him. But, man, he could write. In 1998, he wrote a package for the Pioneer Press weaving together a history of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg, the fight over a captured battle flag and the stories of modern day re-enactors. … I’d been at the Pioneer Press for six months when that came out. I was no rookie reporter but I read that and said to myself if that’s the standard here, I’m never gonna see the front page.”

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At Urban Milwaukee, Data Wonk Bruce Thompson looks (again) at the comparison of Minnesota and Wisconsin and says, “If one accepts Scott Walker’s assumption that job growth is by far the most important measure of effective policy, there is no question that Minnesota has been more successful since 2011. … Besides job growth, on almost every measure, including the growth in wages and household income, reducing the wage gap between men and women, reducing poverty, expanding health insurance coverage, and economic growth, Minnesota outperforms Wisconsin.”

We’re #50! Barry Amundson of the Forum News Service writes about the latest dubious list: “Minnesota is the state in the country with the least drug problems, according to a personal finance website that studies a variety of issues.”

Congrats. The St. Cloud Times’ Stephanie Dickrell writes: “St. Cloud State University will finally have a new president. Robbyn Wacker was named as the new president by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ Board of Trustees Wednesday. She will be appointed July 1. Wacker succeeds Ashish Vaidya, who has served as interim president of St. Cloud State University since 2016. He took over following the unexpected death of Earl H. Potter III, who had served as president of the university since 2007. … Wacker has worked as an administrator and tenured professor. She has worked at the University of Northern Colorado in several position since 1990.”