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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering using sand dredged from the Duluth-Superior Harbor to resupply rapidly eroding Lake Superior beaches along Minnesota Point. The erosion problem, spurred by near-record-high lake levels and made worse during the big lake's epic storms, has eaten away hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand — reaching so far onto shore that mature trees in the Minnesota Point forest are falling into the lake.
Ten years ago Lake Superior set monthly low-water records in August and September, and in April 2007 came within a few inches of the all-time record low set in 1925. Flash forward a decade and the lake is headed in the opposite direction, so much so that a snowy winter and wet spring or summer could lead to all-time high levels by autumn 2018. "Levels could exceed records next year," said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief Great Lakes hydrologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Minnesota state regulators on Wednesday reported finding three children's jewelry products containing toxic levels of cadmium. The jewelry — a butterfly necklace, ladybug charm necklace and penguin charm necklace — were among 89 toys purchased online and in stores by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as part of a joint effort to enforce the state's Toxic Toys Act.
A 50-year-old Duluth man has been charged in the July death of a Burnsville woman in a boating crash on Dinham Lake near Cotton. Brian Keith Deroche was charged in State District Court in Duluth last week and has been ordered to appear in court on Dec. 22 to face two felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide. According to the criminal complaint, Deroche was operating the boat with three other people on board on the night of July 22 when the boat struck a dock.
New Gold Inc. has been fined about $147,000 (U.S.) for pollution violations at its new Rainy River gold mine and processing center north of Emo, Ontario, about 40 miles north of the Minnesota border. Tests by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in July found high levels of un-ionized ammonia in a sump before production had started at the new mine. Another sample was taken two days earlier with the same result.
The Teck copper mine near Babbitt, once among the largest copper projects proposed in Minnesota but out of the limelight for most of a decade, may be stirring again. Teck officials met with Babbitt city representatives earlier this month to say they were still working in the area where significant deposits of copper and nickel were confirmed about 10 miles southeast of Babbitt in the 1950s. "They were just reminding us that they are still here, that they still have their leases. ... They never really left," said Babbitt Mayor Andrea Zupancich.
The Bloom Lake iron ore mine in northern Quebec, shut down and abandoned by Cleveland-Cliffs in 2014, will be back up and running by March, the mine's new owner says. Quebec Iron Ore Inc., a subsidiary of Champion Iron Ltd., said Wednesday that it already has 250 employees on site and will have 450 workers by Christmas at the facility near Fermont, Quebec, near the border with Labrador.
Even as zebra mussels, starry stonewort weed and giant Asian carp invade more of Minnesota's waterways, the state Department of Natural Resources is eliminating aquatic invasive-species grants to local groups due to a budget shortfall. In a recent email sent to local government agencies and nonprofit groups like lake associations that conduct invasive-species education and control efforts, the DNR announced it will not offer the grants for the summer 2018 or 2019 seasons.
U.S. Customs agents on Friday confiscated nearly $1 million of counterfeit home theater sound systems that were being imported into the country in a rail car at Rainier, just outside International Falls. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers inspected the railcar — arriving on the CN Rail line, likely on its way into the U.S. from a port in western Canada — and found 355 of the illegal home theater speaker systems.
St. Louis County commissioners on Tuesday approved a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical companies that make synthetic opioids in an effort to recover some of the social and public costs from the drug addiction crisis that is rocking the Northland and the nation. The county board will consider a resolution authorizing County Attorney Mark Rubin to start litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors for being complicit and complacent in the opioid addiction epidemic.