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Environmentally Responsible Mining Will Boost Minnesota’s Economy $3.7 Billion a Year and Create 8,500 Jobs

Environmentally responsible mining will provide a $3.7 billion annual boost to Minnesota’s economy, create 8,500 jobs and generate nearly $200 million a year in tax revenue for state and local governments, according to a new report by Center of the American Experiment. The report, Unearthing Prosperity: How Environmentally Responsible Mining Will Boost Minnesota’s Economy, evaluates the mining potential of the state’s largely untapped world-class mineral resources. “Mining is often framed as an ‘either or’ proposition—jobs or the environment, tourism jobs or mining jobs. But this is an inaccurate portrayal of modern mining,” said Isaac Orr, a policy fellow at Center of the...

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Contractors Pressed to Shop Subcontractor Bids as MnDOT Misses Minority Goal Again

A new MnDOT report shows the agency has again failed to reach its goal for minority and women-owned business participation on transportation projects for at least the tenth year in a row. This despite spending an estimated $10 million of taxpayer funds on training and recruitment to pave the way for the federally mandated Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program since 2007. The DBE program requires states to set goals for companies “owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” for federally-funded MnDOT projects. But the latest numbers indicate DBE-qualified firms landed 8.5 percent of federally funded road construction contracts statewide in fiscal year...

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Suburb Backs Off Restrictions on Homeowners’ Rental Property Rights

Brooklyn Center, Minn.—For the second time this year, a Twin Cities suburb has turned back a controversial proposal to curtail one of its residents’ fundamental property rights—a homeowner’s freedom to rent his house. Brooklyn Center had appeared poised to become the fifth Minnesota city to restrict property owners’ rental rights, joining Mankato, Northfield, West St. Paul and Winona. But the Brooklyn Center City Council on Monday unanimously rejected an ordinance that would have banned most property owners from renting out their homes by limiting rental licenses to 30 percent of houses per block. South St. Paul city councilors dropped a 10 percent...

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Threat to Eagles Shuts Down Three Xcel Energy Wind Turbines for Months

The eagle has landed in rural Mower County, shutting down three turbines at the Pleasant Valley Wind farm for a month so far in hopes of preventing a deadly collision between the federally protected bird and churning blades just 200 feet away. Xcel Energy discovered a pair of adult eagles and at least one eaglet high in a tree in a windbreak between two turbines near State Highway 56 and County Road 1 on March 10, immediately reporting the threat to federal Fish and Wildlife Service authorities. In addition to idling the turbines closest to the nest through the summer, Xcel Energy...

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Residents Criticize Environmental Impact of Solar Project  That Cut Hundreds of Trees

Buffalo Township, Minn.--Residents of Buffalo Township are voicing concerns over the environmental impact of a solar power project they say has leveled hundreds of mature hardwoods and taken fertile cropland out of production 35 miles west of the Twin Cities. While it may be too late for Buffalo Township, the backlash has led to a moratorium on additional solar developments in Wright County. "A lot of people were not aware of what was happening yet. Now, it gets thrown in their back yard and all of a sudden it's like, we're not so sure about this," said Don Schmidt, Buffalo Township Supervisor and Chair. Township...

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U of M Professor Bills $120 an Hour Plus Benefits to Study $15 Minneapolis Minimum Wage

A University of Minnesota economics professor leading a study underway on a possible $15 per hour minimum wage in Minneapolis will be paid $120 per hour plus benefits under a contract approved by the Minneapolis City Council. Samuel Myers, Jr., Director of the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the University of Minnesota, will receive $19,000, plus $6,500 in benefits for an estimated 160 hours on the project, university documents show. Myers earned $183,000 in 2014, according to the Minnesota public salaries database. Two more participants in the study, including AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs, will receive $20,000 for...

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