Minnesota Update

Minnesota Update

Grant Given to Help Fight Spirit Mountain Development

In the ongoing battle against the proposed Spirit Mountain Golf Course and Hotel development, the Western Skyline Planning and Preservation Alliance (WSPPA), has recently received a grant from the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund (GLAHNF) to help finance attorney fees.

This case is intensely complicated, and though it is clear the City of Duluth wrongfully disregarded basic environmental policy for the sake of approving this tourist development, it’s always difficult to tell which way the final judgment will land when there’s so much potential money to be made. In other words, the battle promises to be long and expensive. For more information contact Terry Brown at WSPPA (218) 720-4345 or wsppa.tsx.org

Great Lakes United Annual Meeting Held in Minnesota

Hundreds of environmentalists and concerned citizens from all over the U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes Region met in Two Harbors for an international conference on the environmental condition of the Great Lakes. The conference was open to the general public and included a reception, workshops, field trips and discussion circles.

The environmental conference was organized by Great Lakes United (GLU), a not-for-profit international coalition of community based and regional organizations and individuals, from the United States, Canada, First Nations and tribes.

Margaret Wooster, Great Lakes United Executive Director, said they chose the Minnesota location for a number of reasons. “There are a number of pollution problems unique to Lake Superior, making it necessary to include concerned citizens and organizations on the North Shore of Lake Superior”, said Wooster. “We want the people in this region to tell us about their concerns, so that we can more effectively be of assistance in supporting our common goals.” Wooster went on to say that many political, socio-economic and environmental concerns of this region are not recognized in Washington or in Ottawa.

By holding this conference in Two Harbors, a large contingent of concerned individuals and representatives of major environmental organizations throughout the Great Lakes Basin came to hear the people from Minnesota share their stories and concerns about protecting Lake Superior. Wooster said “After the conference, we will talk to communities in all the other regions of the Great Lakes Basin about what we have seen and learned here.”

New Laws Give Approval to Shoot Wolves

With the wolf population in Minnesota now twice the Endangered Species Act recovery goals, the state population will now be managed under a wolf management bill recently passed by the Minnesota state legislature

The new legislation has won favor with the state’s farming and hunting community. It provides that people who own livestock, guard animals or domestic pets may shoot a wolf if it is on or within one mile of their property. In addition, the bill requires the State to establish “wolf control zones,” if a landowner requests it, as much as a mile around property where a verified attack on a domestic animal has occurred. Within this zone, certified wolf hunters would be paid $150 for every wolf they kill.

This portion of the legislation is in direct contradiction to recommendations made by the “Citizens Roundtable” plan, which the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a broad coalition of citizen stakeholders developed after months of intense negotiations. The roundtable plan would allow a person to kill a wolf only if they see it pursuing, attacking or killing their animals.

Other specifics in the bill are also being harshly criticized. The Sierra Club stated, “There is nothing in this bill to stop someone from killing wolves in their dens. There is nothing in this bill to prevent someone from killing wolf pups. Wolves will be trapped and hunted, not because they are causing any problems, not for legitimate wildlife management purposes but simply because they are wolves and a small but politically powerful minority doesn’t want them in our state”.

Comment to Gov. Ventura by calling (651) 296-3391 or (800) 657- 3717, by fax (651) 296 2089 or over the Internet at: www.mainserver.state.mn.us/governor/email_form.html

Deep Ecology Case Dismissed

Minnesota’s Superior Wilderness Action Network, Forest Guardians, and the U.S. Forest Service were recently taken to court by the Associated Contract Loggers (ACL). ACL accused the two environmental organizations and U.S. Forest Service of allowing the “religion” of deep ecology to influence the agency’s timber sale program.

Federal District Judge James Rosenbaum dismissed the claims as frivolous and even threatened sanctions against the ACL attorney, Steve Young, for wasting the court’s time. The ACL board of directors voted unanimously to appeal Judge Rosenbaum’s decision to the Eighth District Court of Appeals.

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