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Activists acquitted in Enbridge pipeline case

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

At MPR, Dan Kraker reports, “An unusual and high-profile trial in northwestern Minnesota came to a surprisingly quick end Tuesday when a state judge acquitted three climate activists of damaging an oil pipeline. Both the prosecution and defense cases fizzled, leaving disappointment on both sides. The case dates back to October 11, 2016, when Annette Klapstein and Emily Johnston used bolt cutters to cut through chains and padlocks at a valve site for two oil pipelines in Clearwater County. Then Ben Joldersma called Enbridge, the pipelines’ owner, and warned the company to shut them down, or they would. And he live-streamed it on Facebook.”

In the Star Tribune, Stephen Montemayor says, “A Hennepin County family court referee said he wants to rule by Friday whether to unseal U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s divorce file in response to a legal effort by the Star Tribune and Alpha News. Referee Jason T. Hutchinson explained after an hourlong court hearing on Tuesday that if he did decide to unseal the file on Friday, it would still not be available for immediate public view. Instead, he would set a later date for opening it that would allow time for Ellison’s attorney to appeal the decision.”

The West Central Tribune’s Linda Vanderwerf writes: “The views of Minnesota’s future provided by its major candidates for governor could hardly be more different. During a 90-minute forum Tuesday in Willmar, they stuck to some main themes. Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Tim Walz returned frequently to his plan to build coalitions and find solutions to problems that work for the state as a whole. Republican candidate Jeff Johnson spoke of changing the culture in state government to make government employees more accountable to the taxpayers who pay their salaries. … While much of the discussion was polite and low-key, neither man hesitated to throw out a comment while his opponent was speaking.”

Chris Serres of the Strib reports, “Hundreds of parents whose children were removed from them by county authorities are demanding changes to Minnesota’s child welfare laws, arguing that they are unconstitutionally broad and tear families apart. On the opening day of a federal lawsuit against the state, about 200 parents and their children gathered in front of the federal courthouse in St. Paul to protest what they claim are systemic racism and unnecessary investigations by child protection agencies.”

Says MPR’s Mark Steil, “The rainy weather has slowed the pace of the Minnesota harvest. The soybean harvest has been hardest hit, falling behind schedule. The wet weather could also damage crops still in the field. Minnesota farmers like to harvest their soybeans first, because that crop is most susceptible to damage if it’s not picked quickly enough. … But for many farmers including Michael Wojahn in southwest Minnesota, the wet conditions have prevented any work on the delicate crop.”

Also at MPR, Gabriel Kwan says, “The National Park Service is improving its sedation and holding procedures after the death of a wolf being transferred to Isle Royale National Park. The female wolf died on Sept. 28 while in a Fish and Wildlife Service holding facility in Grand Portage, Minnesota. She was part of a relocation project spearheaded by the National Park Service to repopulate Isle Royale National Park. The native wolf population at Isle Royale had been struggling to keep its numbers up. The island is surrounded by Lake Superior, and the wolves there are suffering from inbreeding. Liz Valencia, a manager of the project, said an investigation into the wolf’s death is underway.”

Christopher Magan of the PiPress says, “Minnesota is getting nearly $18 million over the next two years to address the state’s growing opioid crisis. The two-year federal grant, announced Tuesday by the state Department of Human Services, will be used to support treatment, emergency overdose antidotes like naloxone and the training and recruitment of more medical and mental health staff.”


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