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U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson says he has the votes on the House floor to pass a bill removing federal protection for gray wolves across the Great Lakes region. He just can't get the bill to the floor. His bill — with co-sponsors from both parties across the wolf range in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — has cleared a committee but remains in congressional limbo.
Duluth officially topped 50 degrees Thursday for the first time since Oct. 23, nearly six months, and, not to jinx it, it appears spring has finally sprung. The National Weather Service reported 54 degrees at 5:55 p.m. at the Duluth International Airport and it couldn't have come soon enough for many folks. Even better news, high temperatures are expected to reach ito the 50s and even 60s for the next week.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted down the Coast Guard reauthorization bill that contained a provision exempting ships' ballast water from Clean Water Act regulations. The Senate vote on cloture — whether to stop debate and vote on the bill — needed 60 votes but failed by a 56 to 42 margin. The bill contained the controversial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act that would have exempted ships from Environmental Protection Agency regulation and instead given ballast water regulation authority solely to the U.S. Coast Guard.
It's not known whether the University of Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team might get invited to the White House to celebrate their 2018 NCAA Division I championship, or whether they'd want to go, but on Wednesday in St. Paul the Bulldogs were honored at the statehouse. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Wednesday as "UMD Men's Hockey National Champions Day" in Minnesota.
The battle between Cleveland-Cliffs and Tom Clarke, owner of ERP Iron Ore and Mesabi Metallics, continues to be waged in courts and in the media. Cliffs and Clarke remain embroiled in a battle for a rich deposit of taconite iron ore near Nashwauk, battling in court and among Iron Range and state officials as well as union workers. But the two parties also are fighting over coal mine issues after Clarke purchased faltering coal mine operations from Cliffs a few years ago.
Earl Gustafson, a longtime Duluth attorney and state lawmaker who went on to become chief judge of the Minnesota Tax Court, has died. He was 90. Ben Gustafson, Earl's son, said his dad died Monday at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis. Gustafson served on the Minnesota tax court from 1977 through his retirement in 1995, the last three years as chief judge of the court.
Minnesota's chief administrative law judge has backed an earlier ruling and decided against the Pollution Control Agency on the proposed new rule for sulfate pollution limits for lakes and rivers that hold wild rice. The PCA in late March appealed the January decision by Judge LauraSue Schlatter, who said the PCA's proposed new sulfate rule failed to meet the definition of a state rule and failed to meet the federal Clean Water Act. Schlatter also said the PCA didn't properly consider concerns raised by tribal groups.
The U.S. Senate this week is expected to take action on legislation aimed at the U.S. Coast Guard that contains a provision exempting ships' ballast water from the federal Clean Water Act. The provision, if it remains in the so-called Coast Guard Authorization Act, could thwart years of efforts to get ship owners to treat their ballast water to prevent releasing invasive species.
It has been the April of our cold discontent and the impacts of our frigid weather so far are going to last well into May, with near record late ice-outs expected across the Northland. That means if you have plans to fish open-water lakes in far northern Minnesota on May 12 — that's less than four weeks away now — you may want to remain flexible on where and how you fish. Maybe try a river. Or bring an auger.
A massive spring storm that is bringing blizzard conditions to parts of the Upper Midwest is expected to graze the Northland this weekend as far as snowfall — but will bring strong east winds that could cause flooding along Lake Superior's shore. The National Weather Service in Duluth has issued a lakeshore flood warning for coastal areas of western Lake Superior because of winds gusting to 45 mph that will whip the big lake into a frenzy.