Northeastern Minnesota Environmental
By Craig Minowa
For more information about local environmental
organizations, issues and events, go to www.
Spirit Mountain Retains Its Soul
What do you do with an old growth forest/Anishinabe
burial ground? Logically, you clear the trees, lay some
turf and build a golf course. At least that’s the threat
Spirit Mountain has faced for the last 6 years. But now
we’re getting down to the wire. Monday night the Duluth
City Council voted 5-4 NOT to approve work permits for
the proposed development of a golf course and hotel on
Spirit Mountain. 65 people spoke at the meeting and around
200 citizens rallied outside City Hall before the meeting
to protest the golf course—downright inspiring.
Unfortunately, Mayor Doty is likely to ignore his
constituents and disrespect the Council by vetoing their
vote. The Council will then have a chance to veto his
veto, or the work permits will be approved by default
Aug. 1 (and another old growth forest/sacred Native American
site/potentially powerful tourist magnet will be lost
needs 6 votes to be able to do override Doty’s veto. Unfortunately,
at this point, there are only 5 councilors who’d vote
to override Doty’s veto (Stewart, Stover, Gilbert, Ness
and Bergson). There’s no way in heck Councilors Stauber
or Stenberg will vote against the golf course, as they
were both Chamber of Commerce backed candidates during
the last election---and the Chamber is in love with the
whole golf course idea. Councilor Atkins won’t vote against
the golf course either, as he was Chamber backed AND received
over $1,000 in donations for his campaign from Spirit
Here’s the simple truth, the future of Spirit
Mountain rests in the hands of Councilor Ken Hogg. Oh,
the pressure! The tricky thing is that Hogg may be
running for Mayor in a year, and he’s smart enough not
to want to create any waves in either direction. So he’s
been trying to stay neutral on this issue. But what every
voter needs to realize, is that if Hogg chooses not to
vote in either direction, it’s the same thing as voting
FOR the golf course. Without that 6th vote,
the permit is approved by default.
In other words,
we have less than 3 weeks to show Councilor Hogg that
we support him in his decision to vote against a project
that, first and foremost, is illegal; a project that will
take money away from Duluth’s municipal golf courses (which
are already suffering); a project that certainly won’t
be able to compete with the new Cloquet golf course (conveniently
situated next to a casino ); a project that will give
Duluth a horrible reputation for not respecting Native
Americans or the natural environment; and a project that
will suffer a worse economic fate than Giants Ridge, while
leaving the side of a sacred mountain permanently scarred,
along with the hearts of Hogg’s constituents.
Now I’m going
to make this one easy for you. I know you feel intimidated
writing a letter to the City Council (and you shouldn’t—Councilor
Hogg is a very nice and understanding fella). So I’ve
set up a quick and easy, fax form online for you. Now
I don’t want to hear you bitching about how our treasured
Spirit Mountain was gutted for a doomed project, unless
you actually do something to prevent it from happening
(then you can bitch all you want).
This is your
opportunity to express your support for a smart decision.
Heck, if you actually want the golf course, change the
online letter to show your feelings. I don’t care! Just
let Hogg know what the people want. After all, his job
is to serve as the voice of the people. Even if you’re
a tourist, you should let your opinion be known—do you
vacation here because you’re sick of the 200 golf courses
in the Twin Cities, or because Duluth holds a natural
beauty unlike anywhere else in the Midwest?
been a referendum during the last election, but, hey,
no sense regretting. It’ll take you 2 minutes to input
your info, change or maintain the letter and click ‘send’.
If you don’t have internet access, call me, and I’ll do
it for you. (I’m only doing this, because I’ve fallen
madly in love with you). I’M SERIOUS, GET OFF YOUR DUFF
AND DO SOMETHING!!!!! My number: 940-7186. The online
fax website: www.EAGLE-EcoSource.org Councilor Hogg’s email is email@example.com, his phone number
is 727-4780, and his mailing address is 1001 Bong Blvd.
55811. Don’t get down on the guy. He’s done nothing wrong----be
supportive of the fact that HE’S ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING
INCREDIBLY RIGHT. And when he does, he’ll be one step
closer to sitting in the Mayor’s chair.
Eco-Quote of the Week
But the tiger you see madly pacing its cage is
nevertheless preoccupied with something that a human would
certainly recognize as a thought. And this thought is
a question: Why? “Why, why, why, why, why, why?”
Facts About the Weather
It’s been wet
as heck across MN and WI, but most of the rest of the
country is experiencing severe drought. Interestingly
enough, this is exactly what global climate change models
have predicted for years. Even Bush has finally acknowledged
the Greenhouse Effect as an undeniable truth. Although
an individual weather disaster can not be pegged strictly
on global climate change, this summer’s statistics are
already scaring the boogoolies out of me. Check it out:
-According to climatologists at the National
Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska, 40% of the U.S.
is currently undergoing drought conditions.
-The worst drought in my lifetime was
in 1988, when only 36% of the nation had drought conditions.
By the end of that summer, the dry weather resulted in
major financial losses, including $40 billion of federal
farm subsidies from weather related crop losses. The U.S.
is already dryer than that, and we still have the two
hottest months to go.
-80% of North Carolina’s streams are
running at less than 10% of their normal flow.
-Nevada’s Lake Mead has dropped 20-30
feet in the last few months. 2001/2002 travel guides advertise
it as having a 550 mile long shoreline. That shoreline
has now been reduced to around 50 miles.
-This spring was the driest in 107 years
of data-gathering in Colorado, and the second-driest in
Arizona and Southern California.
-Nebraska just weathered the hottest
and driest June on record. New England, New York and New
Jersey, are in the midst of their hottest years in recorded
-The 15 hottest years in the earth’s
recorded history have taken place since 1980.
Eco-Fact of the Week
When G.W. Bush was Governor of Texas, some
conservative groups were allowed to force rewrites in
certain school textbooks. In one environmental textbook,
the following was added : "In the past, the earth
has been much warmer than it is now, and fossils of sea
creatures show us that the sea level was much higher than
it is today. So does it really matter if the world gets
warmer?" (source: New York Times 7/4/2002)
Planning an Outdoor Adventure? See
It Before It’s Gone
The Natural Resources Defense Council has an amazing
new tool on its website (www.nrdc.org) that allows travelers to find some
of the best outdoor adventures in the U.S. What’s unique
about this traveler’s guide is that it highlights pristine
wilderness areas that are about to be destroyed by Bush’s
new oil/gas drilling policies.
Wyoming’s pristine wilderness is now averaging 11 new
oil wells EVERY DAY. Colorado’s San Juan National Forest
will soon be home to over 200 new coal-bed methane wells.
And traveler’s photos taken at Utah’s Arches National
Park will soon have a backdrop of oil rigs. If you’re
interested in absorbing the nation’s natural beauty, yee
best do it ‘fore it’s gone.
Modern Civilization Expiration Date:
the World Wildlife Fund released a report using global
scientific data to show we either need to inhabit another
Earth sized planet by 2050, or we’re simply going to run
out of critical natural resources. The report reveals
that over a third of the natural world has been destroyed
in the last three decades. In that short time, freshwater
ecosystems have declined by 55%. Shockingly, the report
shows Americans consume twice as many resources per capita
as citizens of the UK, and 24 times the amount of some
Africans. The full report will be presented at the Earth
Summit in Johannesburg next month, the most important
environmental negotiation in a decade. World leaders fear
this meeting may be a bust, as Bush is unlikely to attend.
Local Toxic Waste Problems: Put In
Your Two Cents
Are you sick of having to deal with the toxic waste
dump along Duluth’s lower St. Louis River? Well you finally
have a chance to do something about it. The Minnesota
Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is looking for citizen
input to assess the environmental damage that has taken
place on and near this 255 acre Superfund site. The land
and water was illegally contaminated by 4 companies from
1904 until 1962, and they’re responsible to help with
the clean-up. The MPCA says this public feedback and damage
assessment will determine the clean-up plan, as well as
any compensation issues that may have arisen.
Speaking of the dire need for citizen input, John Guenther,
Regional Administrator for the Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources, and Lead Authorized Official for the
natural resource damage assessment said, "People
who live and work along the Lower St. Louis River, and
especially those that enjoy fishing, boating, and seeing
the many different kinds of plants and wildlife, know
first-hand the incredible resources the river has to offer.
These individuals and groups, such as the St. Louis River
Citizens Action Committee (SLRCAC), are very important
to help make sure the trustees are working in the right
direction to restore natural resources at the site."
see the current clean-up plan, go to http://www.pca.state.mn.us/news/data/index.cfm?PN=1.
More info? Lynelle
Hanson at the SLRCAC: 733-9520 or MPCA’s Anne Perry Moore
Hazardous Waste Eco-Facts
throw away enough used motor oil each year to fill 120
gallon of used motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons
12 (5-7pm): Meet Sierra Club’s national president
Jennifer Ferenstein! A reception will be held in the Fireside
Room at Bennett's on the Lake ( Fitger Building, 600 E.
Superior Street in Duluth .)
Come and learn of new directions for the Sierra
Club, meet friends from the Arrowhead environmental community,
and enjoy hors d'ouevers and a cash bar. More info? Contact
Glenn Maxham 727-4554. firstname.lastname@example.org
13 (9am): The Skyline Planning and Preservation Alliance
would like to invite you for a free interpretive hike
at Bagley Nature Center. Meet at Bixby's Bagels. More
info? Call Nancy Nelson at 728-1002. email@example.com
16 (10-11:30 am): “Bugs
and Slugs”- Hartley Nature Center invites parents
and preschoolers (age 2-5) to explore the amazing world
of insects at Hartley Park - meet in the main parking
area off Woodland Ave. For info and registration, call
July 16 (7pm): If you don’t already
know, they’re planning to build a Wal-Mart on the North
Shore. Obviously, Wal-Mart isn’t the devil, but planting
one on the awe-inspiring shores of the Gitche Gummee is
a hellish idea. This is the snowball that will start an
avalanche of homogenized suburban development along the
shore. Say ‘good-bye’ to the pristine beauty of the North,
and say ‘hello’ to urban sprawl.
But wait, there’s a new eco-superhero group on
the scene, and they need your help. Our hero is known
as L.I.V.E. (Local Initiative for a Vital Economy), and
they’re ready to stand up to this modern-day Goliath.
LIVE is holding a meeting for local citizens and organizations
to discuss ways of preventing the growth of a “Big-Business
retail tumor” on our eco-utopian North Shore. The gathering
will be at the Labor Temple, 2002 London Road, Hall "B."
More info? Contact: Laurie Johnson at 728-5174.
18 (10-11:30am): “Bugs
and Slugs”- Hartley Nature Center invites parents
and preschoolers (age 2-5) to explore the amazing world
of insects at Kingsbury Creek. - meet at the Zoo parking
lot near the playground. For info and registration, call
24: Today is the registration deadline for the annual
St.Louis River canoe trip and picnic. The actual adventure
will be held August 17 from 10am to 2pm. More info? Contact
Lynelle Hanson at 733-9520. firstname.lastname@example.org
27 (11-2pm): Alden Lind Memorial at the home of Patsy
Munger Lehr, 1121 S. 70th Ave. W., Duluth. Come to honor
Alden Lind, one of the region’s all time greatest environmental
super heroes. More info? Call 624-4050.
Demise of Democracy- Come see mega-stars like Paul Wellstone
and John Stauber talk about the rise of corporate power,
simple living, environmentalism and the future of capitalist-based
democracy. More info? Contact the Institute for a Sustainable
Future at 525-7806 www.isfusa.org