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Federal study says copper-nickel mining poses risks to BWCA

Plus: State releases new draft management report on gray wolves; GOP governor candidate Jensen proposes phasing out state income tax; Minnehaha Academy’s Chet Holmgren picked second overall in the NBA draft; and more.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
MinnPost photo by Greta Kaul

The AP’s Steve Karnowski writes: “The U.S. Forest Service issued a draft environmental assessment Thursday to lay the foundation for a proposed 20-year moratorium on copper-nickel mining upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Formally, the proposal would ‘withdraw’ from new mineral leasing for 20 years about 352 square miles within the Rainy River watershed in the Superior National Forest around the town of Ely. The plan threatens to doom the proposed Twin Metals mine near Birch Lake, which drains into a river that flows into the Boundary Waters. But it would not affect a separate project, the proposed PolyMet mine near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, which lies in a different watershed.”

In the Star Tribune, Faiza Mahamud reports, “Minneapolis officials have requested a District Court issue an injunction halting an order — which blocks them from enforcing the city’s 2040 plan — from taking effect as its appeal is pending. Last week, a Hennepin County district judge ruled in favor of groups who argued that the city’s long-range plan eliminating single-family zoning would be a threat to the environment. Judge Joseph Klein issued an order barring the city from enforcing the plan until it meets certain requirements outlined in the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA) or ‘prevails in establishing an affirmative defense.’”

MPR’s Dan Kraker says, “The state’s population of gray wolves is ‘resilient and robust,’ and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources aims to keep it that way. That’s the thrust of a new 50-page draft wolf management report the agency released Thursday, which lays out a blueprint for the DNR to follow for the next 10 years to both strengthen wolf conservation and minimize conflicts between people and the Northwoods predator.”

In the Star Tribune, Erin Adler and Ryan Faircloth write: “Republican candidate for governor Scott Jensen unveiled a sweeping plan to battle inflation Thursday that includes eliminating Minnesota’s state income tax and cutting government spending. During a news conference at the State Capitol, Jensen said he wants Minnesota to phase out its personal income tax over time, joining neighboring South Dakota and eight other states without a state income tax. Minnesota’s individual income tax is the state’s single-largest revenue generator, bringing in an estimated $30 billion over two years. … The Chaska family physician and former state senator said he would pay for the plan through budget cuts and economic growth but offered few specifics.”

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At Politico, Elena Schneider says, “The DNC’s rules committee listened to presentations from 17 states during a three-day meeting — South Carolina will present on Friday — while its members consider how to reorder the early states to better reflect the party’s racial diversity and eliminate caucuses. The pitches clarified the dynamics at play as the rules committee prepares a final recommendation for the set of early states in August, ahead of a full DNC vote in September. Iowa and New Hampshire were on defense, while Nevada is looking to leapfrog into the number one slot in the calendar. Michigan and Minnesota are duking it out to take over the Midwestern slot.”

Also in the Star Tribune: “Chet Holmgren, who spent one college season at Gonzaga after a standout high school career at Minnehaha Academy, was the second choice in the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn, N.Y. The 7-foot center, whose all-around game includes deadly three-point shooting and point guard level ball handling, was chosen by the Oklahoma City Thunder one pick after the Orlando Magic made Duke freshman forward Paolo Banchero the No. 1 overall choice. Holmgren is the highest drafted Minnesotan in NBA history; Hibbing’s Kevin McHale, a Gophers forward, was No. 3 overall in 1980.”

A WCCO-TV story says, “Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor has been moved to an undisclosed facility ahead of his scheduled release date on Monday, WCCO has learned. Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond in a south Minneapolis alleyway in 2017. Noor was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison in 2019, but the Minnesota Supreme Court tossed out his murder conviction last year. He was re-sentenced on the manslaughter conviction to 57 months.”

At KMSP-TV Courtney Godfrey says, “He was barely 16 years old and stuck at home in the middle of a pandemic when Caden Fritz decided to start his own construction business. Two years later, he’s built a successful company with a growing reputation across the metro. ‘I started off doing pressure washing thinking I’d make a few hundred bucks, and it slowly started growing bigger and bigger,’ said Fritz. The recent Edina High School graduate managed to build his business while also earning his high school diploma and playing on the varsity lacrosse and hockey teams.”

Chris Hine of the Strib says, “The Timberwolves started draft night with one first-round pick. They ended it with two. President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly moved down and then back up in the draft on Thursday, swinging four separate deals as he made his first draft with the Wolves an eventful one. As the Wolves came up on the clock at No. 19 overall, they dealt with the Grizzlies to move back and take Memphis’ 22nd and 29th picks; but they weren’t done. The Wolves kept the first of those picks and selected Auburn center Walker Kessler at No. 22, but before they could pick at No. 29, Connelly completed a deal with Houston for No. 26 and selected Wendell Moore from Duke. The Wolves traded out of No. 19 after selecting Wake Forest forward Jake LaRavia for the Grizzlies and also sent a 2023 second-round pick as part of the deal.”