Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota Appeals Court sends PolyMet air permits back to MPCA

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minnesota Court of Appeals

Fuzzy math. The Duluth News Tribune’s Jimmy Lovrien reports: “The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday sent air permits for PolyMet back to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for review and said the agency was wrong not to consider a report that says the company, which is trying to open Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine, is eyeing a much larger operation. … Environmental groups argued a report released by PolyMet in March 2018 outlines the company’s plans to recover 118,000 tons of ore per day instead of 32,000 tons per day, the amount listed by the company in permit applications. The air permits, issued in December 2018, allow the company to release 250 tons of regulated pollutants per year, but opponents say the company would exceed that limit if it were to recover more ore.

Water rising. The Fargo Forum reports: “The pedestrian bridges from Gooseberry to Lindenwood parks and from Memorial to Oak Grove parks will be raised on Wednesday, March 25, in preparation for rising levels of the Red River.”

On the ICU shortage in rural hospitals. KARE reports: “The largest coronavirus outbreaks have been in cities. But new cases are popping up in rural Minnesota every day – adding to the strain on rural hospitals. … At Sleepy Eye Medical Center, in Brown County, Dr. John Pelzel is one of just 3 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners bracing for an influx of COVID-19 patients. There are no ICU beds in the hospital, no isolation rooms and a shortage of nurses, Pelzel said.

Let’s not make a bad situation worse. MPR’s Kirsti Marohn reports: “One of the responses to the COVID-19 outbreak has been a run on toilet paper at stores in Minnesota and across the country, leaving bare shelves at many retailers. … That’s leading wastewater treatment operators to worry that people will use — and flush — other products instead that could cause havoc on sewer systems if they run out of toilet paper. … So now, some Minnesota cities are putting out public announcements asking people not to flush paper towels, napkins, tissues or rags in lieu of toilet paper. They’re also asking people to avoid flushing disposable wipes used for cleaning or personal hygiene, which have been causing problems in sewer pipes for years.”

Bringing organics recycling to multifamily dwellings. The Southwest Journal’s Nate Gotlieb reports: “A grassroots push to start an organics-recycling drop-off site in Lowry Hill East has inspired a Southwest Minneapolis state representative to seek funding for similar efforts statewide. … A bill from Rep. Frank Hornstein (District 61A) would provide $5 million for organics-recycling projects targeted at people who live in multifamily buildings. … Hornstein, who wrote the bill with leaders of the Lowry Hill East effort, said the funding would make it easier for multifamily-building residents to recycle organics, something many can’t currently do.”

In other news…

Trying everything:‘This thing has taken off like wildfire’: Mayo races with high-powered alliance to produce plasma treatment for coronavirus” [Rochester Post Bulletin]

More PPE:Coronavirus In Minnesota: 3M Partnering With Ford To Boost Respirator Production” [WCCO]

Also in PPE:Blackduck’s Anderson Fabrics gearing up to join coronavirus battle” [Bemidji Pioneer]

Important message:Walz, Carter, Yang to Hmong leaders: Postpone large Hmong funerals” [Pioneer Press]

Update:Amy Klobuchar gives update to ‘GMA’ on condition of husband hospitalized with coronavirus” [Pioneer Press]

Work is progressing:Three counties prepare to convert former Appleton prison into hospital for 559 COVID-19 patients” [West Central Tribune]

That’s an idea:Coronavirus In Minnesota: Company Lends Fish House To Hospital To Use As COVID-19 Testing Center” [WCCO]

Safety measures vary:Walking the Markets: Seven Minneapolis Grocery Stores in a Time of Pandemic” [The Heavy Table]

Under investigation:Moorhead soldier found dead in Army barracks in South Korea” [Fargo Forum]

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Scott Walters on 03/24/2020 - 04:41 pm.

    The ICU shortage in rural Minnesota is even more striking than the map in the article would lead you to believe.
    For example, the map shows 18 ICU beds in the one hospital in Albert Lea. That unit has been closed for over a year, with all critical care in Albert Lea moved to Austin. Physically, those beds may still exist, but the nursing expertise, likely most of the supplies and equipment, and the physician and other clinical staff required to operate that unit have disbanded. It would require 10 nurses, 24/7, plus other staff to fully operate that unit with critically ill COVID 19 patients. That’s just not going to happen. That’s just one extreme example. I could hazard a pretty well educated guess that most of these other rural hospitals haven’t fully staffed their ICUs for a decade or more, further, just because you call it an ICU doesn’t mean it can handle patients of the same acuity as larger hospitals. The smallest of these hospitals don’t provide more than stabilization and transfer of patients who require mechanical ventilation or other complex treatments. That’s not a criticism, that’s good medicine. If you don’t have the volume to do something often enough to maintain full competence, it’s good practice not to try to do it at all.

    As bad as this article makes the situation in rural Minnesota look, it’s actually worse.

Leave a Reply