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Starting sometime soon, anyone selling a home or business property in the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District service area will need to certify that their sump pumps and foundation drains aren't contributing to sewage overflows into Lake Superior. Local governments also will need to make sure the property's lateral line — the sewer pipe that leads from the house to the street — isn't letting clean water leak into the sewer system.
The senior adviser to U.S. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke was in Duluth on Saturday to speak to the annual conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Dave Mihalic, a longtime National Park Service official who retired in 2003 as superintendent of Yosemite National Park, spoke to a packed room of outdoor writers, media producers and editors and outdoor recreation industry reps at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
It's considered a plum whenever Duluth lands a major convention in warm months, with the hope that some of those folks filling hotel rooms and restaurants while here on business will come back with their families and friends and spend money as tourists. But if the convention includes writers, radio and television producers, photographers, book authors and publishers, imagine how many people they might reach.
Loons are Olympic-caliber swimmers, designed for speed and agility underwater that enables them to outswim the fish they catch and eat. They also can be powerful flyers, migrating from the Northland to the Gulf of Mexico to spend winter. But put them on land and loons are hopeless. Their legs are too far back on their body for them to walk, let alone take off. That's what crews ran into last week at Minnesota Power's Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset, on the Mississippi River just west of Grand Rapids.
Conservation, hunting and angling groups are battling back against U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan's effort to undo a moratorium on mining on federal land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Groups such as the Izaak Walton League of America and Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters kickstarted a campaign this week for supporters to call Nolan's offices and tell the Democrat from Crosby to leave the two-year mining ban and a proposed environmental review in place.
Bashed in recent weeks by the state attorney general, the state Department of Commerce and the mining industry, Minnesota Power's proposed electric rate increase this week was opened to bashing by the general public as well. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is holding hearings on the Duluth-based utility's plans to raise electric rates — by 15 percent for residential customers — to cover the cost of large projects completed in recent years and to bolster its rate of return for investors.
MOUNTAIN IRON — U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan on Monday guided top Republican lawmakers on a tour of Northeastern Minnesota mining sites, both operating and proposed, and received strong support to overturn a mining moratorium on federal land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
It took more than 11 months, thousands of court documents and dozens of attorneys, but the massive Essar Steel Minnesota bankruptcy case has been resolved. Federal Judge Brendan Shannon in Delaware on Tuesday approved a complicated settlement plan for Chippewa Capital Partners to take control of project, partially pay off Essar's more than $1 billion in debt and restart construction on the Nashwauk taconite iron ore mine and processing center that's sat half-built but idle since late 2015.
Mining companies are expanding their search for copper, gold and other minerals across northern Minnesota, with a Department of Natural Resources auction last week attracting bidders for mining exploration in Beltrami, Lake of the Woods, Koochiching and Itasca counties. Some of the sites are distant from the state's traditional mining region, although bids were submitted for St. Louis County, too. Five companies bid for the exploration rights for 284 parcels under 112,585 of the 195,324 acres offered by the DNR.
Continuing a trend underway for several years now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office says the Great Lakes will remain above normal levels throughout summer and into fall. The Corps says summer water levels on lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie will be at their highest levels since 1996-98, while Lake Ontario already has set a new record high monthly mean water level in May — the highest level for any month since accurate records began in 1918.