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DFL lawmakers call on Walz to suspend PolyMet permits

Plus: state Supreme Court to decide if DNR can change name of Bde Maka Ska to Bde Maka Ska; Ilhan Omar writes New York Times op-ed; Minneapolis police release files relating to rape allegation against Chinese billionaire Richard Liu; and more.

In the Star Tribune, Jennifer Bjorhus says, “Democratic lawmakers are calling for Gov. Tim Walz to suspend all state permits for PolyMet’s proposed copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota, saying the state needs assurances ‘that the permits were not rigged.’ It’s the first move by lawmakers following recent disclosures about how state and federal regulators handled a crucial wastewater permit for PolyMet, which would be the state’s first hard-rock mine. … Sen. John Marty, the Roseville Democrat leading the effort, said lawmakers were also motivated by Glencore’s recent purchase of PolyMet Mining Corp. and the catastrophic failure earlier in the year of an iron ore mine tailings dam in Brazil, a facility with a similar design to the tailings dam PolyMet would use.”

The AP reports, “The Minnesota Supreme Court will decide whether the state Department of Natural Resources has the authority to change the name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis to its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska. The state Court of Appeals ruled in April that the agency overstepped its authority in January 2018 when it changed the name. It said authority to change the name rested with the Legislature under statutes governing lake and other place names. The DNR disagrees with that interpretation of the statutes and says it can change the name. The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will review the case.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar has written an opinion piece for The New York Times. In it, she writes: “The only way to push back is to be unequivocal about our values. It is not enough to condemn Mr. Trump’s racism. We must affirmatively confront racist policies — whether the caging of immigrant children at the border or the banning of Muslim immigrants or the allowing of segregation in public housing. It is not enough to condemn the corruption and self-dealing of this administration. We must support policies that unmistakably improve working people’s lives, including by strengthening collective bargaining, raising the minimum wage and pursuing a universal jobs guarantee.”

Another AP story says, “The Wisconsin Department of Corrections has erased any record of the man who kidnapped Jayme Closs and killing her parents from its inmate locator database. Twenty-two-year-old Jake Patterson was moved to an out-of-state facility on July 15. DOC officials declined to reveal where out of concern for his safety. The agency has declined to elaborate. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports Patterson’s name has been removed from the DOC’s online inmate locator. DOC spokeswoman Molly Vidal told the newspaper that the agency decides on a case-by-case basis whether someone is included in the locator.”

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A BringMeTheNews story says, “Minneapolis police has released a cache of files relating to the rape allegation made against Chinese billionaire Richard Liu while he was in the Twin Cities. A University of Minnesota student accused Liu, the founder of the Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com, of forcing himself upon her in a car, before raping her at her apartment after they’d dined as part of a larger group at Origami in Uptown in August 2018. Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, was released without charges after county prosecutors said they would be unable to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, while Liu has himself denied the claim, saying it was a false allegation.”

Says a Duluth News Tribune story, “‘American Pickers,’ a popular History Channel show documenting unique antique collections throughout the United States, is looking to film in Minnesota and Wisconsin. According to a news release sent by Cineflix USA, the show’s production company, hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are returning to Minnesota ‘on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics’”

Elizabeth Dunbar at MPR reports, “Removing the 1970s-era hazardous waste pit [in Andover] is a giant undertaking. So far, the process to remove the waste has involved countless meetings among state officials, local officials and experts to figure out the best course of action. Once they came up with a plan, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and local leaders had to persuade the Legislature to commit the last $10.3 million needed for the $22.3 million project. That last step happened early in this year’s legislative session. The measure gained support from members of both parties and was one of the first two bills Gov. Tim Walz signed.”

In the Pioneer Press, Andy Greder says: “The U.S. women’s national soccer team is officially coming to St. Paul to celebrate their latest world championship. The FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning team will appear in an exhibition game at Allianz Field on Tuesday, Sept. 3. They will play Portugal at 7 p.m, according to an announcement by Minnesota United on Wednesday. This friendly game has been in the works for a few weeks, with United, which operates the stadium in the Midway neighborhood, submitting its bid for the game last week.”