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Tagged : minnesota

Playing chicken with high speed trains in Wisconsin

November 8th, 2010

Last week, Ohio and Wisconsin both elected new governors who campaigned to clamp down on federal spending, including ending high speed rail projects being queued up with stimulus money in their states.

Almost immediately the pro- and anti-train forces chugged into action. In Wisconsin sitting Gov. Jim Doyle, a big supporter of high speed rail, called a temporary halt to the project, throwing into question 400 construction jobs and the promise of perhaps ten times as many later on.

Across the Great Lakes, in New York, Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo reacted by quickly raising his hand for the $823 million in federal train funds that could become available if Wisconsin spurns the project.

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Midwest slammed by climate change

September 27th, 2010

The Big Sioux River flooding west of Sioux Falls.

During periodic visits to see relatives and friends in the Upper Midwest, I’m always watching for signs of climate change, and movement toward greener living. It’s not idle curiosity. Effective responses to climate change will be critical here where so much of the world’s corn, beans and wheat is grown. I’m also interested because I know that the climate changes predicted for this region may not appear to be connected to global warming. In the Southwest, the U.S. is heating up and drying out, exactly what most people expect to see from global warming.

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EPA announces plan to clean up Great Lakes and fight those ginormous invading fish

February 22nd, 2010

From Green Right Now Reports

Even after monumental clean-ups that rescued the Great Lakes from acid rain and industrial dumping in the 20th Century, these national water resources continue to suffer environmental assaults.

Sewage overflows into the lakes — some 25 billion gallons of untreated sewage from 20 cities in 2008 — have resulted in waters that periodically test positive for dangerous levels of E coli in 2008, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Asian Carp  (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service.)

Asian Carp (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service.)

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When green is bad

October 1st, 2009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

This summer as I flew over Minneapolis, I looked down fondly at the chain of lakes that beautifies this tidy, progressive city. My second hometown.

I noticed the surrounding land was lush and green. And so were many of the lakes. Wait a minute: The lakes themselves were more green than blue, ringed in pea-soup of algae that was closing in fast on the open water at the middle. This algae-green, sickly green mess set off alarm bells.

I suspected that all those lake-dwellers residing on their hard-fought real estate were sullying the waters by collectively dumping tons of fertilizer on their neat green lawns, which created a super-rich, even toxic runoff. This was hugely ironic, because these striving homeowners had moved there so they could boat, swim and engage in the state sport, fishing fer walleye. Yet their pursuit of the picture-perfect lake house retreat was poisoning the natural environment.

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Governors agree to keep Midwestern High Speed Rail plan on track

July 28th, 2009

From Green Right Now Reports:

Eight Midwestern states have agreed to work toward the common goal of developing high speed rail in the Midwest, and hope to access $8 billion in earmarked federal dollars to fund the new services.

Governors from those states — Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin — signed an agreement on Monday, saying they support each other in seeking federal dollars to build a high speed rail network. The hub of the network would be in the Windy City, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley along with five of the governors attended the Midwest High Speed Rail Summit to solidify the agreement.

Chicago already serves as a hub for Amtrak and many freight lines. The new plan would bring high speed rail into the mix, which advocates say could transform and green transportation in the the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions.

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Minnesota bans BPA; other states set to follow

May 11th, 2009

From Green Right Now Reports

Minnesota has become the first state to ban the toxic plastics chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) signed the legislation last week and the ban will take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

California and Connecticut are among the other states that also may ban the toxic chemical. The plastic additive has been found to leach from hard plastic water and baby bottles when they are heated, as well as when certain disposable containers labeled as “microwave safe” are heated. Children’s developing bodies are considered more susceptible to chemical insult.

Canada has already taken steps to ban BPA. In the U.S., Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-New York) and nine other senators introduced legislation in 2008 to treat BPA as a hazardous substance under federal law for any product targeting kids, ages 7 and younger.

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Wind power growing at gale force in the U.S.

April 13th, 2009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The American Wind Energy Association released its annual rankings of industry leaders today, among manufacturers, producers and states with the greatest wind production capacity.

First the states: Texas leads the nation with the ability to produce 7,118 Megawatts of power, or enough to keep 1.75 million homes in electricity.

It is followed by: Iowa (2,791 Megawatts of wind capacity); California (2,517 Megawatts); Minnesota (1,754 Megawatts); Washington (1,447 Megawatts) and Oregon and Colorado (each with just over 1,000 Megawatts).

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Minnesota making progress on environmental goals

February 27th, 2009

From Green Right Now reports

Minnesota is having success in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the state’s Department of Commerce and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The report shows that greenhouse gas emissions were declining between 2005 and 2006, prior to adoption of the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007. Emissions from Minnesota sources peaked in 2005 at 154 million CO2-equivalent tons. Of this, about 80 percent is associated with fossil fuel combustion or the production and transportation of finished fuels such as refined petroleum products.

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Computer recycling becomes law in Texas

September 19th, 2008

By Harriet Blake

Old computers do not have to end up in the landfill and in Texas, they won’t. Thanks to new legislation (House Bill 2714) that took effect Sept. 1, all computer makers are now responsible for recycling their products.

Texas is the fourth state to have such a law, says Jeff Jacoby, staff director with the nonprofit Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE), which was one of the bill’s main advocates. The other states are Minnesota, Maine and Washington.

Companies such as Dell, Hewlett Packard and Apple, as well as mom-and-pop operations, are required to provide free and convenient recycling to their customers, or they will not be able to sell computers to anyone in Texas, under the law.

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