Anybody Paying Attention?
Local Environmental Tidbits
By Craig Minowa
For more information about local
environmental organizations, issues and events, go to
Gutting the Clean Water Act
the Bush Administration weakened clean water laws in
a manner unseen since before the Clean Water Act was
originally passed in 1972. Very few people noticed.
comes down to simply redefining a single word—“fill”.
Prior to Bush’s changes to this environmental legislation,
“fill”, which refers to matter that can be legally dumped
into lakes and rivers, included only such benign substances
as gravel, dirt and the like. The new definition of
“fill” includes just about any kind of industrial solid
waste. For example, with permits, mining waste laden
with arsenic and lead can now be dumped into our waterways.
For those of us living in mining country, this is obviously
a serious issue.
A few white-knuckled
congressmen and a federal court judge are looking to
take legal action against the Bush Administration.
Gutting the Clean Air Act
A full 80% of our energy in Northern MN and WI
comes from coal fired power plants. These coal plants
are the largest mercury polluters in the nation. The
Bush Administration is in the process of modifying the
Clean Air Act so that the oldest/dirtiest power plants
won’t have to adhere to the same environmental regulations
as the newer/cleaner plants. The change would allow
over 17,000 of the nation’s power plants, refineries
and industrial facilities to actually INCREASE their
pollutants. Take action http://www.nrdcaction.org/index.asp?step=2&item=1029
Killing the Environment to Build
The US Department
of Defense (DOD) says they should be allowed to break
any environmental laws they want to. The DOD is pressuring Congress to exclude them
from regulation under such major environmental legislation
as the Clean Air and Water Acts, Superfund, and the
Endangered Species Act. The DOD is so friggin’ huge,
this proposal has major ramifications for our nation’s
environment. The unregulated disposal of radioactive
waste products from the generation and maintenance of
nuclear weapons alone should be enough to scare each
and every one of us into taking action. Take action-
call the capitol switchboard 202-224-3121.
*According to the Environmental Protection
Agency, an average of 70% of environmental law violations
committed by our own government are the fault of the
Department of Defense.
*The Pentagon is the single largest
consumer of oil domestically. It uses enough energy
annually to run the entire US urban mass transit system
for almost 14 years.
Urban Sprawl Continues
A major development
project is quietly underway near Beaver Bay. The Lake
County Board recently approved the purchase of 20 acres
of shoreline property for the construction of a massive
157 room hotel. Although permits have already been issued
to the Australian based “American Towers” company for
construction, extensive environmental mitigations will
need to be completed before the development can officially
begin. Learn more by contacting Glenn Maxham of the
Save Lake Superior Association 218-727-4554
Eco-Quote of the Week
"You should know that bicycling
improvement construction costs run about $70,000 a mile;
for 12-foot shared paths about $128,000 a mile; 5-foot
bicycle lanes about $189,000 a mile; 5-foot paved shoulders
on rural roads about $102,000 a mile. You should also
know that one mile of urban freeway costs on average
$46 million a mile. Don't let anyone tell you we can't
afford bicycle lanes! You know better".
Congressman James Oberstar, (D-MN)
coalition of electrical utilities is planning on laying
powerlines under Lake Superior. Northwest Energy Works,
a partnership of six utilities hope to lay the massive
transmission lines all the way from Thunder Bay, Ontario
to the Keweenaw Peninsula. Environmentalists claim little
research has been done in regards to the possible negative
impacts of such a major subterranean project on the
aquatic ecosystems of Lake Superior.
of the Week
it yourself mechanics dump an Exxon Valdez worth of
used motor oil every 2-1/2 weeks.
Upcoming Local Eco-events:
SKYLINE PARKWAY CORRIDOR MANAGEMENT
PLAN OPEN HOUSE
Thursday May 23, 6-9 p.m. at the
For the past
year, the consulting firm of URS – in cooperation with
city staff and a Citizens Advisory Task Force - has
been working on the Corridor Management Plan for Skyline
Parkway. URS consultants have mapped, photographed,
and studied Skyline Parkway. Now they are ready for
house is the prime opportunity for everyone to voice
their thoughts about Skyline Parkway.
At 6 p.m.
participants can watch either Mark Ryan’s video history
(“Snively’s Road”) or the WDSE video history (“On the
Boulevard”). There will also be exhibits, including
maps and photographs gathered by the consultant team,
city staff, and Task Force members.
At 7 p.m.
the URS consultants will present the findings of their
study. Beginning at 8 p.m., roundtable discussions will
give the public an opportunity to provide input on topics
such as historic status, vegetation management, recreation,
and wayfinding/interpretation. For more info, contact
Nancy Nelson 728-1002.
SUGARLOAF NATURE CENTER FIX-UP DAY
Saturday, May 18th.
No skill is required. Staff will provide direction and
equipment. Sugarloaf needs help with sanding, putting
on polyurethane on the tables, benches, and walls, and
various other projects. If you are interested in helping
for any amount of time, please contact Terri Port at
SUSTAINABLE FARMING ASSOCIATION SPRING
Sunday, May 19, from 1:00 to 3:30
p.m. Lynn and Mike Olund's farm in Brimson
"Low-input greenhouse construction
and production for the North". The Olunds are established
certified organic producers, operating Olunds' Organic
Greenhouse and Superior Forest Flowers. They are regularly in demand as agricultural
speakers around the Midwest. The workshop is open to
the public and costs $5 for SFA members and $15 for
non-members.For more information, contact the SFA at
727-1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.