- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Gov. Dayton creates new environmental citizen board

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton created a new citizen advisory panel Tuesday to consult with his administration on environmental matters, effectively going around lawmakers who abolished a similar panel two months ago.

Dayton announced the panel during a speech to the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, one of the organizations dismayed that the Democratic governor agreed to dismantle the old board this year as part of a deal on a new state budget.

“We will continue it in spirit as well as in practice until we get a chance to correct it in statute, which I look forward to doing with you in the very near future,” Dayton said.

Dayton denied making the move out of political provocation even as he accused Republicans of eliminating the 47-year-old board as a “trophy” in their pursuit of smaller government.

“I don’t expect regulators to be popular,” Dayton told reporters about the agency, which would advise the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “I just know they’re essential to protect the citizens from some of these excesses.”


Dayton plans mining plants tour before PolyMet decision

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton says he intends to visit up to four mining operations after Labor Day as he weighs how his administration will proceed with the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

Dayton said Tuesday he potentially travel to two sites around the country suggested by project supporters and two by opponents. The PolyMet Mining Corp. project has been under environmental review for years but is nearing a critical point.

The Democratic governor says he is studying a 3,000-page preliminary environmental impact statement and reviewing financial information for the company involved. He says whether to let the first-of-its-kind Iron Range project advance “will be the most momentous, difficult and consequential decision I’ll make as governor.”

A state determination on the adequacy of environmental studies is due by February.


Lawmakers search for answers in Mille Lacs walleye decline

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers on Tuesday started examining the fallout from a staggering drop in walleye at Mille Lacs Lake that prompted an unprecedented early closure of walleye fishing there this week.

There’s no shortage of problems to tackle as Mille Lacs Lake resorts and businesses brace for a financial hit - from weighing Gov. Mark Dayton’s call for a special session to provide emergency aid to those businesses, to reversing the population decline.

Mille Lacs, one of Minnesota’s “Big Six” sport-fishing lakes, is known for its walleye, the official state fish. Resort owners are preparing for cancelations - even though the lake is still a prime place for small-mouth bass, northern pike and muskie.

The newly assembled working group of lawmakers made no final call on the need for a special session in its first meeting Tuesday, though several legislators said they hoped to avoid it and extend existing aid to businesses around the lake. The group plans to continue meeting Wednesday morning.

“Hopefully we can come together and work out some solutions without calling a special session,” said Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar.


Former archdiocese employee files claim in bankruptcy court

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A former employee of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who went public with concerns that clergy sex abuse cases were being mishandled has filed a claim in bankruptcy court.

Jennifer Haselberger’s claim is dated Monday, the court-imposed deadline for filing claims as the archdiocese reorganizes its finances. More than 400 claims have been filed.

Haselberger’s claim says she’s seeking not less than $50,000 for defamation occurring after June 6, 2014. Haselberger says in an email to The Associated Press that the claim relates to multiple incidences from June of 2014 to the present. She didn’t provide specifics.

Haselberger says she may or may not take legal action. If she does pursue damages, she says she’ll use any award to ensure the archdiocese becomes a safe place for everyone.

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