Brooks is an investigative/enterprise reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.
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DULUTH — For decades, the majority of the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior, Wis., lived under the threat of a concentrated chlorine spill, which could have spread over 10 miles and sickened up to 128,000 people in an unlikely, though technically possible, worst-case scenario. Then in 2006, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District decided to do away with the risk altogether.
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 — 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.
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, Minn.—The Minnesota Department of Commerce has come out against the Enbridge Line 3 replacement, raising the stakes in an already contentious battle over the oil pipeline's fate.
DULUTH — More than a third of the iron ore shipped out of the Twin Ports so far this year has left the country. The Duluth-Superior Port Authority reported that through July about 35 percent of all taconite shipments have been taken to Quebec, and spokeswoman Adele Yorde says that is "primarily for export" elsewhere. Typically about 30 percent of taconite shipped locally is bound for Canada. "Much of that rise is attributable to a surge in U.S. iron ore exports from Minnesota mines to steelmakers in China and Japan," the port wrote in its summer magazine.
DULUTH — Will Schlotec had an unparalleled zest for life and heart full of love that was widely reciprocated. "You'd wish that many kids could emulate his spirit and enthusiasm for life and his gusto," his lacrosse coach, Rick Heimbach, said. "He was one of God's people, and he left early." Will died over the weekend after jumping into Amity Creek on Saturday evening, Aug. 26. The 15-year-old was remembered fondly as hard-working and adventurous and as a force of nature.
ST. PAUL — Despite a massive new document having "final" in its name, this pipeline permitting process is far from over. On Thursday, Aug. 17, the state released the final environmental impact statement on the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project, another step toward the approval or denial of a new oil pipeline across Minnesota. The document makes no recommendations but instead provides a framework for continued debate over the pipeline and, ultimately, a decision by the state Public Utilities Commission.
DULUTH — Enbridge says its Line 3 replacement pipeline is getting more expensive in the wake of regulatory delays and changes to the project. The proposed oil pipeline is now set to cost $6.5 billion, which is 9 percent higher than previous estimates.
A wide swath of Minnesotans interact with a homegrown, billion-dollar business every day — without leaving the house, without turning on a computer, without blinking. Just don't expect all of them to know the name of that company. Allete Inc. is known best, and for some solely, as the parent of Minnesota Power. And while the electric utility is still the corporation's biggest source of income, Allete has been expanding its energy empire and searching for a new balance.