Brooks is an investigative/enterprise reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.
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DULUTH—Northland mining, paper and energy companies are giving a hard pass to Minnesota Power's proposed natural gas plant. What's more, according to testimony filed on their behalf, these businesses would rather be subject to occasional blackouts and pay less for power through a scheme known as interruptible rates if it helps keep the plant from getting built.
DULUTH — When five people gather next year to determine the destiny of the Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline, their task will be to decide, simply, whether or not the thing is needed. Only it's not that simple. "It's a multifactored test. There's many different aspects the commissioners can stand on, and they're going to need to look at the evidence," said University of Minnesota energy law professor Alexandra Klass. "Right now we don't even have all the information and data in."
ST. PAUL — Another round of statewide public hearings starts Tuesday, Sept. 26, on the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement. This set of hearings could be among the last before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission makes its decision on whether or not to grant the pipeline a certificate of need and route permit. That decision is expected next spring; Enbridge hopes to have the pipeline up and running in 2019.
ST. PAUL — Despite a massive new document having "final" in its name, this pipeline permitting process is far from over. On Thursday, Aug. 17, the state released the final environmental impact statement on the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project, another step toward the approval or denial of a new oil pipeline across Minnesota. The document makes no recommendations but instead provides a framework for continued debate over the pipeline and, ultimately, a decision by the state Public Utilities Commission.
DULUTH — If a FitBit can make us better at working out, maybe it can make us better at working, too. That's the basic premise behind a nationwide study looking at work performance using wearables, smartphones and other technology that can track responses to different tasks.
DULUTH — Enbridge says its Line 3 replacement pipeline is getting more expensive in the wake of regulatory delays and changes to the project. The proposed oil pipeline is now set to cost $6.5 billion, which is 9 percent higher than previous estimates.
TOWER, Minn. — On the edge of Lake Vermilion sits the future of sustainable development, or at least that's what the blueprints call for. Construction may start later this year on 20 town home units at the restored historic harbor west of downtown Tower on the East Two River, the first phase of residential and commercial development there that has been in the works for more than a decade. Far from a typical development from a typical developer, the modest project has ambitious goals.
HERMANTOWN, Minn. — Gander Mountain will keep several Minnesota stores open, though with plenty of changes to come, as CEO Marcus Lemonis recently tweeted out the newest list of surviving stores in a saga playing out like reality television. Surviving Minnesota locations include Hermantown, Forest Lake, Lakeville, Baxter and Bemidji; six other locations will close in the state. Fargo's location will close because, as Lemonis tweeted: "Land not affordable. Landlord not amenable."
DULUTH — A homeowners association is suing the developer, builder and manager of the Superior Vista condominiums, among others, claiming the Mesaba Avenue complex was not properly built and ought to be repaired under warranty. "Many areas of the building were not built to applicable building code, industry standard and/or engineering specifications ... all of which is allowing for excessive water intrusion, deterioration and decay," reads the suit by the Superior Vista Homeowners Association filed in St. Louis County District Court last fall.
DULUTH — Officials from the Minnesota Department of Transportation spared no words apologizing to the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for desecrating a cemetery near Minnesota Highway 23 recently. "No question, disturbing the sacred burial sites was an incredibly horrific event," MnDOT Commissioner Charles A. Zelle told a crowd of neighbors and band members Wednesday night, June 14 at the Fond du Lac Community Church. "We do take responsibility. ... We're just beginning to understand the pain and the anger that comes from a disruption that we could have avoided."