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Updated: a day ago

The main topic at our November meeting was a presentation titled "Journalism in the 21st Century: How to be a Wise Consumer of News.” Our speaker was U of M Professor Jane Kirtley. Prof. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, and directs The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. She is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School, and was awarded a Fulbright to teach media law and ethics at the University of Latvia in 2016. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Prof. Kirtley served as Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for 14 years. She previously practiced law in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and was a reporter for newspapers in Indiana and Tennessee.

View the slides from the meeting here. Video of the meeting is available below.

Updated: 4 days ago

In 2019, local government bodies submitted over 200 proposals seeking state funding for capital projects. The overwhelming majority of capital budget requests are funded via state general obligation bonds if approved by the state legislature. These requests are reviewed by Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) staff as well as the Governor’s office and many are likely to be included within the Governor’s overall capital budget proposal to the legislature. Public comments regarding the proposals may be submitted through November 30, 2019, using this form.

We have compiled a document describing the requests submitted by Dakota County and its municipalities (excluding Northfield) along with a hyperlinked table of contents to make it easier to view only those requests that would impact Dakota County. If you want to view a document compiling all requests throughout the state, that is available here. MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher, state legislators, Dakota County commissioners, city council members, staff of municipalities, and other officials met on November 8, 2019, at a Capital Investment Forum hosted by Dakota County to discuss their proposals. The presentation given at that meeting discussed some of the requests, as well as some that were not included on the list compiled by MMB.

On October 2, 2019, the DNR received a request for a preliminary well construction assessment. That assessment is one precursor to the issuance of a water appropriation permit, which would allow the extraction of groundwater. The request indicates that Empire Builder Investments, a company based in Lakeville, seeks to extract up to 500 million gallons of water per year from two proposed wells on the northern edge of Randolph, MN. The intent would be to ship the extracted groundwater by rail and then sell it in western states, similar to this proposal.

In a letter regarding a preliminary assessment of the proposal dated November 1, DNR staff stated that it is unlikely the project could be authorized under state law. The letter recommends that the requestor not spend additional time working on the project. In a press release also dated November 1, DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen stated that "[b]ased on our initial review of the Empire Builder request, we are notifying the company today that we see virtually no scenario where the DNR would grant a water appropriation permit for the project, as it does not appear it could meet applicable statutory requirements, including significant restrictions on use of the Mt. Simon aquifer."

Additional information is available via coverage provided by the Star Tribune, MPR News, and Sun ThisWeek. At its meeting on Tuesday, November 12, Dakota County Commissioners will vote on a resolution authorizing Board Chair Workman to issue a letter to the DNR "opposing any bulk exportation of Dakota County groundwater."