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Great Lakes Article:

When ‘Green’ Visionaries Lead Duluth(and other local enviro-news tidbits)

by Craig Minowa

Article courtesy of the Northland Reader
June 28, 2001

Nancy Nelson Announces City Council Candidacy!

            Last week Nancy Nelson, the lead heroine of the Spirit Mountain issue, announced her decision to run for an at-large seat on the City Council. Nelson, an environmental technical writer and devoted community activist has been at the forefront of a variety of local environmental issues for many years.  Most notably, she has lead the fight against the proposed destruction of over 400 acres of Old Growth forest on Spirit Mountain in a manner that suggests she’s got more than enough strength, passion and intelligence to help lead this City.  Here’s my two-cents: The City of Duluth is currently balancing on a wire that separates two worlds—the industry of old Duluth and the potential promising Green future of a new Duluth. This upcoming City Council election is a HUGE! With people like Nancy Nelson on the Council, Duluth could begin making the transition towards being the Boulder, CO or Eugene OR of the Midwest. While announcing her candidacy, Nelson said "It is our strong sense of community, the creativity and work ethic of our people, and our natural surroundings that distinguish us. We need to recognize these strengths and build on them.''


Spirit Mountain Gets Delay On Death Sentence

            With a packed chamber, citizens of Duluth banded together, once again, to oppose what has evolved into nothing short of scandal. On Monday night, City Councilors Gilbert, Stover and Stewart presented two new resolutions with the hopes that the City of Duluth can bail itself out of this one before its too late. With 20 concerned citizens speaking out against the development (and none speaking against), important new resolutions were passed.

The new resolutions will make it impossible for Kent Oliver, developer of the proposed golf course, to get work permits until issues have been resolved between the State of Minnesota and the City of Duluth.

In the 1970s the City of Duluth received $1 million dollars grant funding (now worth around $5 million) through the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Spirit Mountain.  The grant agreement stipulated that this land be preserved by the City of Duluth for public recreation.  Recently, the MN DNR  stepped forward to say the proposed private golf course may infringe on this agreement, thus forcing the City to lose a buttload of land and future grant funding. 

Even though this issue has not yet been resolved, work permits were illegally approved for the developer 2 weeks ago by the City Parks and Recreation Department without an open public hearing. As Councilor Hogg stated on Monday night, it’s time for the Doty Administration to stop sneakily pushing its agenda behind closed doors (this sent the crowd into an uproar of applause)

.  With the new resolutions passed on Monday night, it’s now just a short waiting game to find out whether or not the State of Minnesota will request changes to the proposed development.  In the meantime, it gives local citizens and environmentalists one last chance to figure out how to stop this ecological atrocity.



Protestors Rally at Duluth Starbucks Coffee Shop

            Demonstrating against Starbucks’ corporate crimes, thousands of concerned consumers rallied outside of Starbucks coffee shops in over 200 cities around the world on Monday and Tuesday. The international rally was organized by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) of Little Marais, MN.  According to recent news reports, Starbucks’ coffee farmers are literally dying from record low income for their crops.  At the same time, Starbucks has been reporting record profits.  Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s Director, also says that Starbucks buys 32 million gallons of dairy products each year that contain the controversial rBGH, a hormone that’s illegal in every industrialized nation, except for the US. Although Starbucks has tentatively claimed to moderately alter their practices, Cummins stated in a recent press release, “Vague promises and half-measures are not enough. Starbucks must either give in to the demands of consumers and public interest groups around the world for a non-genetically engineered product line, Fair Trade coffee, and social justice, or else they run the risk of further damage to their reputation and bottom line.”


Black Out Sweeps Duluth and the Nation

Last Thursday night hundreds of thousands of US citizens turned off all of their household power to make a statement to the Bush Administration about its nasty-butt energy policies. The idea was originated by an artist in California back in April and has spread almost virus-like on email listserves around the nation. Citizens for a Legitimate Environment, one of literally hundreds of organizations taking part in this protest said in a recent press release,” The purpose of this protest is to let the administration know that its energy and environmental policies are not acceptable," the release continues. "Further, this action is meant to alert the administration, the media and the world at large to the fact that Americans want to participate in conservation efforts, and demand the allocation of the funds needed to develop alternative energy sources."


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