Brooks is an investigative reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.
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DULUTH—Northland mining, paper and energy companies are giving a hard pass to Minnesota Power's proposed natural gas plant. What's more, according to testimony filed on their behalf, these businesses would rather be subject to occasional blackouts and pay less for power through a scheme known as interruptible rates if it helps keep the plant from getting built.
DULUTH—"Rabble rouser." "Dedicated public servant." "Thank you." The tributes came pouring in Friday morning, Feb. 9, as U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan announced he would not run for a fourth term representing Minnesota's 8th District in Congress. The DFLer from Crosby weathered increasingly tight races in a geographically massive district that is starting to lose its solid blue hue. After initially campaigning to hold his seat in November, Nolan now intends to serve out his term and "pass the baton to the next generation."
DULUTH — It was day care — in-home, small-group, family day care — that helped make Steven Tanski the thoughtful young man he is today. "Not only did it allow for both of my parents to work full-time jobs without having to worry about me, I also learned so many different things while there," the Hermantown High School senior said. "Cindy and her day care ... left a lasting mark on my life and will continue to for the rest of my life." Future generations might not be able to say the same thing.
Minnesota is on track to have its deadliest winter on the ice in years. And it's only December. Five people have died after falling through the ice on Minnesota lakes so far this season, the most since five died over the entire winter of 2014-15, according to the Department of Natural Resources. "With the fluctuating temperatures we've seen, that hasn't created that nice, solid, clear ice," said DNR spokeswoman Lisa Dugan. "Ice is never 100 percent safe."
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission tapped the brakes on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline permitting process on Thursday, Dec. 8, saying the massive environmental review for the project is still missing a few fine points. With a 4-1 vote after a daylong meeting, the PUC instructed the Department of Commerce and other agencies to refine three technical areas of the final environmental impact statement and to ensure a tribal cultural resource survey is complete before construction begins.
DULUTH — After thousands of noisy exhales and concerted keystrokes, Wednesday, Nov. 22, is the deadline to submit public comments on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement. If everything stays on schedule, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will decide by the end of April whether to approve the pipeline and what, if any, conditions to place on approval.
DULUTH — It says something about the success of your industry — or perhaps the extent of the skills gap — when you're trying to recruit people a full decade before they'll enter the workforce. In the past 10 years, aviation has added more than a thousand jobs to the Twin Ports economy. If that feat is to be repeated or even outdone in the next 10 years, then there will need to be a lot more people capable of filling those jobs.
DULUTH — When five people gather next year to determine the destiny of the Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline, their task will be to decide, simply, whether or not the thing is needed. Only it's not that simple. "It's a multifactored test. There's many different aspects the commissioners can stand on, and they're going to need to look at the evidence," said University of Minnesota energy law professor Alexandra Klass. "Right now we don't even have all the information and data in."
CLOQUET, Minn. — Four people passed microphones across a table, sometimes echoing one another, sometimes striking out on their own. One of them might be elected governor — in about 400 days. Tim Walz, Erin Murphy, Rebecca Otto and Tina Liebling took questions in a moderated forum Wednesday night well ahead of caucuses and an eventual DFL endorsement in next year's governor's race. The four elected officials made their pitches to about 75 people gathered at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
ST. PAUL — Another round of statewide public hearings starts Tuesday, Sept. 26, on the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement. This set of hearings could be among the last before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission makes its decision on whether or not to grant the pipeline a certificate of need and route permit. That decision is expected next spring; Enbridge hopes to have the pipeline up and running in 2019.