- Associated Press - Monday, June 2, 2014
Obama orders Minnesota to cut emissions 41 percent

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota, which already successfully lowered carbon emissions and capitalized on renewable energy sources, must cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 41 percent over the next 15 years as part of a sweeping plan President Barack Obama announced Monday to reduce pollution from power plants.

Obama’s plan calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions nationwide by 2030, when compared with 2005 levels. It sets different goals for each state, and some that rely heavily on coal won’t have to make as many reductions. Minnesota is one of nine states told to reduce their 2012 levels by more than 40 percent, to help meet the nation’s overall reduction goal.

Officials with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, utilities and environmental groups were still reviewing the proposed rules Monday and didn’t have specifics on the impact for Minnesota. But they agreed the rules will help the environment and the economy - and that Minnesota is well-positioned going forward.

“We’re pretty confident that Minnesota is in pretty good shape,” said David Thornton, assistant commissioner for air policy at the MPCA. “We’ve already been doing this stuff for several years now. We’ve got renewable energy. We’ve got many efforts underway to reduce the amount of energy people use.”

“… We know how to do it,” he said.


Wanted: Minnesota medical marijuana administrator

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Wanted: Someone to run Minnesota’s new medical marijuana program.

The Minnesota Department of Health is looking to hire a chief administrator of a new division, the Office of Medical Cannabis.

The department posted the job ad at the end of last week, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1m6knU5) reported. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the medical marijuana program into law last week.

According to the posting on the state of Minnesota’s employment website, the administrator will be responsible for developing the program’s vision and staffing plan, managing its budget and overseeing private contractors that will grow and distribute cannabis to patients. Other job duties will include communicating with the governor’s office and state lawmakers, law enforcement and the media.

The administrator will report not directly to the commissioner of health, but rather an assistant commissioner for strategic initiatives. Pay will be between $73,811 and $105,862 annually, according to the job ad. The state is taking applications through June 20.


Hazmat team responds to Minnesota governor’s home

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A hazardous materials team responded after white powder was found in an envelope opened at the Minnesota governor’s residence.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says staff at Gov. Mark Dayton’s residence opened the letter Monday morning at a building next to the living quarters. While the content of the letter was not threatening, staff detected a small amount of white powder.

Staff contacted the Minnesota State Patrol, which contacted the St. Paul Fire Department.

The Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/SoK8qUhttps://strib.mn/SoK8qU ) reports members of the fire department were still at the property that afternoon, some dressed in protective boots and yellow jumpsuits.

The public safety department says Dayton was at the main residence at the time but was “not in close proximity to the letter.”


10-week scramble opens for GOP governor nomination

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A scramble began Monday among four Republicans angling to be Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s fall opponent as the GOP headed for its first competitive gubernatorial primary in two decades.

Party leaders are hopeful the 10-week race doesn’t turn nasty and hobble the eventual nominee. What the voter pool looks like come August is anyone’s guess. How to connect with those likely to turn out is a tricky proposition.

Potential voters shouldn’t necessarily expect a flood of television ads during re-runs of their favorite programs. Lower summer viewership means campaigns must pinpoint their audiences, putting a premium placing ads on programs that attract conservative eyeballs and sporting events that people tend to watch live. Radio will be key to reaching people in their cars headed to the lake cabin, as will messages that pop up when people surf the Internet. Handshakes with cafe diners and rallies will be a staple.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson embarked on a party-sponsored fly-around after nabbing the Republican endorsement at last weekend’s state convention. But three candidates want to overtake him in the Aug. 12 election: businessman Scott Honour, former Rep. Marty Seifert and former House Speaker Kurt Zellers.

As the endorsed candidate, Johnson has the party apparatus and voter lists at his disposal. The endorsement should help him replenish his campaign fund after sinking a considerable amount into winning the nod. He said he figures a successful primary campaign could consume $1 million, but he won’t use those resources to run negative ads against the other Republicans.

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