With all the white stuff that has been flying lately, December has been a slow month for green news in Minnesota. There are still a few stories worth noting.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has filed suit against the 3M Co., demanding that it pay the cleanup costs for decades of pollution caused by chemicals that have seeped into the Mississippi River and the drinking water of communities across the eastern Twin Cities metro area. The suit was filed in Hennepin County District Court after months of fruitless out-of-court settlement talks between the state and Maplewood-based 3M.
Forty-six new solar-powered parking meters went online in downtown Minneapolis recently. And quite literally. The meters are solar-powered and use Minneapolis’ Wi-Fi to allow credit card payments, but also accept quarters and dollar coins. In the future, even more older meters, which have been in use since 1992, will be coming down.
About $1 million has been awarded to projects that will light buildings, parking lots and trails, power a drinking water well, and heat water for campground showers via solar energy at parks and nature centers around the Twin Cities and the state. The money is funded by the clean water, land and legacy amendment approved by voters in 2008. A majority of the park and trails fund goes to acquire and improve recreation areas.
The Xcel Energy Foundation has announced nearly $465,000 in grants in Minnesota. The money went largely to local theaters and arts groups, but some went to environmental groups. It was part of $4.25 million the utility's foundation has doled out this year in the eight states it serves. In Minnesota, about $141,000 in environmental grants went to support nonprofit projects that focus on the connection between the environment and energy.
That's the green news around Minnesota. Have a happy and prosperous New Year and celebrate the arrival of 2011 safely!