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Enbridge pipeline proposal approved by Minnesota regulators

A rough depiction of the Line 3 replacement route in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Steve Karnowski at the AP says, “Minnesota regulators on Thursday approved Enbridge Energy’s proposal to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline, angering opponents who say the project threatens pristine areas and have vowed Standing Rock-style protests if needed to block it. All five members of the Public Utilities Commission backed the project, though some cited heavy trepidation and a narrow majority later approved the company’s preferred route despite opposition from American Indian tribes and climate change activists.” How many times has regulatory commissions anywhere blocked a pipeline project?

Easy to win, though.  Tad Vezner of the PiPress says, “The state of Minnesota has released a report on the potential impact of President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs — or rather, foreign reaction to them — on Minnesota’s exports, identifying hundreds of millions of dollars in state-produced products that may suffer from tougher markets across the globe. The data, released Thursday by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development’s economic analysis unit, tallied $641 million in Minnesota-made exports — from pork to soybeans to steel — that would be impacted by counter-tariffs from Canada, China, Mexico and the European Union.” 

Coincidentally, the tariff maker-in-chief was in Wisconsin, the latest stop on his Midwest tour. Cristiano Lima of Politico writes, “While the president gears up to celebrate the Foxconn groundbreaking ceremony, workers around the state are bracing themselves for the impact of Trump’s growing dispute with U.S. trade partners. According to Pro Trade’s Doug Palmer, thousands of Wisconsin farmers are fearing retaliatory tariffs from Mexico that could disrupt sales to their biggest foreign market. Meanwhile, workers at the Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, whose headquarters are roughly 30 miles north of the Foxconn plant, found out this week the company plans to shift some production to the European Union to avoid another round of retaliatory penalties.”

But at least it’s a sloppy, wet heat. Says Andrew Krueger of MPR: “The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Friday for much of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, Rochester, Mankato, Albert Lea, Austin, Winona and Red Wing. ‘High temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s will combine with high humidity to yield dangerous heat indices on Friday’, the Weather Service reported. ‘Peak heat indices in the 100 to 110 range appear possible.’ The warning also includes parts of western Wisconsin, including La Crosse, Hudson and Eau Claire, and portions of northern Iowa.” 

Speaking of heat, water and adult beverages. Katie Galloto of the Strib says, “With the July 4th around the corner, it will be one of the busiest boating weekends of the year. And that’s why state and local law enforcement agencies plan to increase the number of officers on the water Friday through Sunday as part of the 10th annual Operation Dry Water campaign, a national effort to deter boating under the influence. … Last year, law enforcement officers nationally made 518 arrests for boating while intoxicated just during the holiday weekend.”

The church is still in court. MPR’s Martin Moylan says, “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is hoping for a speedy vote and approval of its reorganization plan, which it filed Thursday in federal bankruptcy court. Details of the plan have been known for weeks. It provides $210 million to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse. … But now there’ll likely be a series of court hearings — and votes by abuse victims, Twin Cities parishes and other parties.”

Very much related. Moylan, again, reports: “There’s been some progress in the bankruptcy of the Diocese of Duluth, now halfway through its third year. But a resolution is not near. Insurance companies have agreed to kick in $25 million to a fund that would compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse. But contributions from the diocese and parishes are not yet settled.”

These little piggies are strangely expensive. Stribber Kristen Leigh Painter says, “A proposed class-action lawsuit filed in Minnesota Thursday alleges the nation’s largest pork companies broke antitrust laws by colluding to artificially inflate consumer pork prices. The lawsuit, submitted in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, is brought against Austin-based Hormel Foods Corp. and eight other companies, including Tyson Foods, JBS USA and Smithfield Foods. The scheme, according to the complaint, began in 2009 when Indiana-based Agri Stats, a provider of data services to agricultural industries, approached the pork companies about creating a benchmarking report that would include financial information, slaughter rates and supply levels.” That’s right, “slaughter rates.”

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