The ice cave is the best...
The ice cave is the best...
Special note should go to that of Gary Wilson, a Great Lakes advocate from the Chicago area.
The executive branch, with the help of a complicit Congress, has been
spinning minimal funding for toxic cleanup as a great accomplishment.
Unfortunately, they've been winning the spin game of recycling past and
minimal actions as new and improved accomplishments.
Governor’s Budget Treading Water on
Critical Conservation Investments
Despite overall budget surplus proposed conservation budget remains near 30-year low
Minneapolis (Feb. 27, 2007) – Today, Conservation Minnesota released its annual analysis of the Governor’s conservation budget: Minnesota By the Numbers. The analysis concludes that despite a $2.2 billion projected surplus, Governor Tim Pawlenty’s proposed budget includes only small gains for conservation in Minnesota – and does little to pull conservation out of a 30-year low as a percentage of state general fund spending. The greatest needs are fully funding the Clean Water Legacy Act and long-term dedicated funding for fish and wildlife habitat.
The report emphasizes that the Governor’s proposal for Clean Water Legacy falls far short of the identified need. For 2008-2009, the Governor proposes a total of $20 million per year from the general fund for Clean Water Legacy, $80 million less than the $100 million needed to fully fund the program. Overall, the annual funding proposal is approximately $5 million less than the 2007 funding.
The Governor’s budget fails to address the need for long-term funding to protect Minnesota’s fish and wildlife habitat and other natural areas, the report noted. His bonding request includes no capital investments for conservation. The need for long-term dedicated funding is heightened by the development pressures of an additional 1.2 million people living in Minnesota over the next 20 years.
“If protecting our Great Outdoors legacy for future generations is a priority for the Governor and the legislature then, in a time of surplus, leadership demands that adequate investments be made to ensure clean water for our children and abundant natural areas, fish and wildlife for generations to come,” urged Paul Austin, Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota.
In coming weeks, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin will introduce a bill with
tough new standards on ballast discharge that he hopes will encourage
vessels to install technology that kills a large percentage of
biomatter. But even Levin's office worries about the proposal's fate.
Because the legislation wouldn't supersede state laws, the shipping
industry is likely to fight. That could mean more gridlock. "The
integrity of the Great Lakes," laments Nalbone, "is being erased by our
inability to act." The last best hope may be to find some integrity in
"Warm" is a relative term when you're talking about the coldest of the Great Lakes, but any upward temperature trend bears watching, as does Superior's near-record low levels.
Great column on the proposed nickel mine in the western Upper Peninsula by Eric Baerren.
Here, the graves of old Upper Peninsula boom towns that went bust with the lumber and copper industries gave out provide us with reminders of the short life expectancy of something as purely extractive as mining.
It's expected that Eagle Mine project would be the first of several (the company hasn't said so, but it owns mineral rights to at least 460,000 acres in the area; and there are other mining companies looking to start operations in the U.P.), but if they're like the Eagle Mine project, each would last for about 7-10 years. That's less than half the time it would take an average worker to pay down an average mortgage. A boom-and-bust economy of this nature thus provides no incentive for long-term community building, which is why you can still find ghost towns on long-abandoned rail lines.
What impact this would have on local tourism is really anyone's guess. The area that would be developed for mine operations would require a great deal of infrastructure - rebuilding railroads, hard asphalt roads, etc... - that would remain after the mine itself was closed.
That raises the question of whether it's wise to sacrifice long-term sustainability for short-term boom. The time when we can conveniently overlook this question ended a long time ago, and it's time for us to think seriously and strategically about the future. The answer calls to us from the hidden graves of deserted lumber and mining towns.
Far more of Minnesota's washers, toasters and televisions will be powered by the wind, the sun and animal manure by 2025 now that a new law has put the state at the forefront of a national push to use more renewable energy.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the bill Thursday demanding that 25 percent of the state's electricity come from next-generation power sources by 2025, a goal some advocates think will be achieved even sooner.
"We have to break our addiction to fossil fuels," Pawlenty said in signing the legislation.
From 2005 artist in residence Bob DeJonge.