Category Archives: Pollution

Ely Explorers Paddle A Message of Wilderness Stewardship into Nation’s Capital

Ely Explorers Paddle A Message of Wilderness Stewardship into Nation’s Capital

Dave and Amy Freeman completed their cross-country journey from the Kawishiwi River to the Potomac. Two thousand miles and a hundred days after paddling away from the Voyageur Outward Bound School on the South Kawishiwi River, adventurers Dave and Amy Freeman have made it to Washington, D.C. The pair paddled their canoe – covered in signatures – up to the dock at the Washington Canoe Club this morning in cold, wet conditions.

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Protecting Our Wild Rice  Heritage

Protecting Our Wild Rice Heritage

Evaluating Minnesota’s water sulfate standard for wild rice. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is reviewing its standards for protecting wild rice in Minnesota. With funding from the Minnesota State Legislature, the agency conducted a two-year study to determine how sulfate—the presence of which in water has been linked to an absence of wild rice—and other chemicals affect the health of wild rice.

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Mining Truth Coalition Launches Summer Campaign

The environmental coalition Mining Truth, comprised of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Conservation Minnesota, and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, has announced a new campaign. The “4 Simple Questions” effort is intended to educate the public about the risks of sulfide mining, and call on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to adhere to…

Re-engineering Campcraft

With the ice off the border lakes and the summer paddling season underway, it is a great time to refine some camping strategies. One of the rules commonly broken in the Boundary Waters Wilderness is the prohibition of burning paper, plastic or foil in campfires.  The USFS has done research  on the burning of plastic…

New Version of PolyMet Environmental Review Released to Cooperating Agencies

A revised draft of the environmental review for the first-ever copper mining project proposed in Minnesota has been completed. PolyMet Mining Corp.’s new document has been distributed to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tribal governments, and other state and federal agencies which are involved in the process. The release comes almost…

Anti-mining Activists to Open Office in Ely

New mine proposals in northeastern Minnesota have prompted a group of local citizens and businesses to plan an anti-mining “action center” on Ely’s Sheridan Street. The office will provide information to visitors and residents, and is expected to open by Memorial Day weekend. The effort is being spearheaded by Steve Piragis, proprietor of wilderness outfitter…

2013 Poll Indicates Public Opposition to Sulfide Mining Exceeds Support

48% of Minnesotans polled oppose sulfide mining in northeast Minnesota while 39% favor it. Results of the January, 2013 poll, sponsored by Minnesota Environmental Partnership, were the first to demonstrate that opposition exceeded support for the proposed mining. Annual polls on this subject have been held every year starting in 2008. Since 2009, there has…

EPA Issued Rule to Cut Haze over BWCAW

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park will both get added protection from haze under a new ruling from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to the EPA, the regulations should reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by about 22,000 tons per year and sulfur dioxide emissions by about 2,000 tons. An article…

Get the Lead Out

Despite a howling northwest wind and sub-zero temperatures across the Quetico Superior wilderness, many people are dreaming of warmer days and are making their summertime recreational plans. Fishing in the clear lakes of northeast Minnesota and adjacent Ontario, is for many, near the top of their dream list. Sorting through tackle boxes is one way…

Pollution Control Agency Ramping up Water Monitoring

State and local organizations, and even citizens, will begin monitoring lakes, rivers and streams in Minnesota’s Lake Superior North Watershed. It’s part of a new monitoring approach by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The initiative is known as “Intensive Watershed Monitoring,” in which water experts from local soil and water conservation districts, the Minnesota Department…

Court Upholds State’s Sulfate Rules

A Ramsey County Court judge upheld Minnesota’s restrictions on sulfate pollution in waters that host wild rice plants, denying a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce challenge that the rules were vague and arbitrarily applied.

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Northshore Mining Fined $240,175

Northshore Mining was fined $240,175 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency after its taconite processing plant in Silver Bay was cited for 30 air quality violations in 2010 and 2011.

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Wild Rice Rally to Greet Governor

Environmental advocates will greet Minnesota governor Mark Dayton with a rally in support of wild rice protection when he visits northern Minnesota for the walleye fishing opening this weekend.

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Sulfates Standard Change Proposed in House

Legislation to markedly roll back the allowable amount of sulfate in wild rice waters in Minnesota is being proposed in the Minnesota House where proponents say current standards are too strict and not based on solid science.

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Old Mine Drainage Worries Advocates

The drainage of pollutants from an abandoned mine near Ely coupled with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency allegedly lax oversight of the situation has environmental advocates concerned about the state’s ability to oversee the large copper-nickel mines proposed for the area.

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Coalition to Sue Over Park Air Quality

A coalition of environmental organizations intends to sue the Environmental Protection Agency and two other federal agencies over haze pollution in national parks and wilderness areas, including Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

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Petition Filed Over Taconite Plant Emissions

Five environmental advocacy groups including the Voyageurs National Park Association and the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness have filed a petition with the federal Environmental Protection Agency objecting to an air pollution permit granted to the United Taconite processing plant in Forbes, Minnesota.

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Minnesota DNR Awarded Mercury Grant

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been awarded a $1.6 million federal Environmental Protection Agency grant to study atmospheric mercury emissions from the state’s taconite processing plants.

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Group Finds Mine Pollution near BWCAW

The advocacy group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness claims that sulfide mine pollution is occurring at a 36-year-old mine site off of Spruce Road near the South Kawishiwi River just miles from the limits of the BWCAW.

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Do Voyageurs and a Garbage Vaporizer Mix?

Plans by Koochiching County to build a gasification facility which would use a plasma arc torch to vaporize garbage and other waste in order to produce energy is being scrutinized by environmental advocates since the facility would be a neighbor to Voyageurs National Park.

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Legislature Mulls PolyMet Assurances

Minnesota state legislators will soon consider bills which could raise the level of financial assurances required by PolyMet Mining Company in order to operate its proposed NorthMet copper-nickel mining operation near Babbitt.

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Suit Planned Over Tailings Basin

Three environmental advocacy a groups are planning a lawsuit over pollution violations from the tailings basins of the former LTV Steel plant near Hoyt Lakes which PolyMet Mining intends to use for its planned copper-nickel mining operation.

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Northern Minnesota Haze Rules Passed

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency passed new regulations aimed at reducing haze over northern Minnesota, including Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The MPCA board voted 7-1 in favor of the new rules, despite calls for tighter restrictions.

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