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Minnesota Supreme Court to hear latest plea to cancel PolyMet water permit

Plus: Homebuilding in the Twin Cities falls; the northern long-eared bat is declared endangered; Woodbury students ask Gov. Walz if he’s friends with Scott Jensen; and more.

The Minnesota Supreme Court dais in the State Capitol building.
The Minnesota Supreme Court dais in the State Capitol building.
MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

An AP story by Steve Karnowski says, “The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on an attempt by environmental groups to cancel a key permit for a long-stalled copper-nickel mine. Opponents of PolyMet Mining Corp.′s project say state regulators should have included ‘end-of-pipe’ limits on discharges of mercury, sulfates and other pollutants in the water quality permit. They also say the state improperly tried to suppress the concerns of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and PolyMet counter that the permit meets the legal requirements and that the project won’t violate clean water standards.”

This from Stribber Jim Buchta, “Homebuilding in the Twin Cities during November fell by half as higher mortgage rates and rising prices erode affordability, Housing First Minnesota reported Tuesday. During the month builders were issued 399 permits, down 54% from a year ago, to build 692 units. Of those permits, 389 were to build single-family houses, 37% fewer than last year at the same time. Builders were also issued enough permits to build 303 multi-family units, mostly market-rate rentals. That was 65% lower than last year.”

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At KSTP-TV Mia Laube and Rebecca Omastiak say, “National Weather Service Twin Cities reported that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area got 8.4 inches of snow.”

For Forum News Service, John Myers writes, “The northern long-eared bat, once common across Northland forests but which has been dying off rapidly due to an invasive fungus, was officially declared an endangered species Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Biden administration made the move in a last-ditch effort to save the bats, which winter in caves and abandoned mines, where they spread deadly white-nose syndrome among each other, such as in the Soudan Underground Mine near Tower, Minnesota. The disease causes the bats to overheat, become active when they should be hibernating, and eventually starve and die.”

At KARE-TV John Croman says, “… departing House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler predicts 2023 will be the year Minnesota joins 21 other states in legalizing recreational marijuana. In an opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Golden Valley Democrat said the Legislature has a big head start on crafting legislation to legalize and regulate the drug. He points out Minnesotans elected pro-cannabis DFL majorities in the House and Senate and re-elected a Democratic governor who has supported legalization. Rep. Winkler told KARE his op-ed piece was meant to highlight the efforts Democrats had already undertaken across several years to lay the groundwork for legalization. … ‘This is not just something the new legislature’s going to throw together quickly. This is the result of a lot of work.’

At MPR News, Elizabeth Shockman reports, “Minnesota students had a chance to ask the governor their own questions on Tuesday when Gov. Tim Walz visited Lake Middle School in Woodbury on Tuesday. ‘What’s it like to be governor?’ one asked. ‘Can I take a selfie with you?’ another said. ‘Are you and Scott Jensen friends?’ one student wanted to know.”

In The Minnesota Reformer Joshua Haiar writes, “Secretary of State-Elect Monae Johnson campaigned as the candidate who would secure South Dakota’s elections. That message helped her defeat Democratic challenger Tom Cool – who campaigned on concerns about Johnson being an ‘election denier’ – with 65% of the vote. She’s one of very few election deniers to win statewide office during the midterm election, and she did it with the help of a prominent Minnesota election conspiracy theorist, Rick Weible. The former small-town Minnesota mayor has been a key figure in spreading election conspiracies around Minnesota since 2020.”

A story by Paul Shea at WJON-AM radio says, “Sometimes you come across something that just makes you scratch your head and wonder. One of those things, for me at least, is why does Wisconsin use wood for a majority of its signposts while in Minnesota we use metal poles? Apparently, there is an answer to this question, and it comes from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. … According to a 2013 Wisconsin Department of Transportation newsletter, wood is used in Wisconsin for signposts “because wood is relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and has the necessary strength properties to tolerate typical Wisconsin wind loads.’”

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