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Ciresi’s White Bear Lake roots led firm to take water level case pro bono

Mike Ciresi, who worked at his family’s liquor store in White Bear, says the shrinking lake level case is a good cause.

Mike Ciresi, whose law firm is leading a lawsuit against the state DNR over the shrinking water level in White Bear Lake, told city residents more about why they’re doing it pro bono.

“We tend to do causes in our firm and this is a great cause,” Ciresi said last week in a speech to the local Chamber of Commerce that was covered by the White Bear Press. “Water will be a major issue in this century.”

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi is representing the White Bear Lake Restoration Association without charge in the lawsuit, which seeks to force the DNR to take action on the lake’s historic low water levels.

Ciresi had talked about his roots in White Bear before; his mother was born there in 1916, and he worked as a youngster at his father’s liquor store. The store is now run by his sister and brother-in-law.

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He said the lawsuit, which seeks to restore the lake levels, will be handled by attorney Jan Conlin, who also spoke to the group.

She said the suit is based on the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, which keeps the state from destroying a natural resource.

She said the lake group wants the trial to start in November, while the state has proposed a start in May 2014.

“There is a need for speed in this case,” Conlin said. “If we wait five years for more research, we’ll have reached a tipping point in the lake long before that.”