Thursday, February 26, 2009

Klobuchar Secures Nearly $50 Million in Funding for Minnesota Energy and Water Projects

Klobuchar secures funds for homegrown energy and additional job-creating measures

Washington, D.C. – Continuing her efforts to secure funding for important initiatives across the state, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that over $49 million will be included in the Energy and Water section of the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2009. The measure includes funding for many projects that will provide jobs for Minnesotans, including flood control and mitigation in Breckenridge and Crookston, waste-to-energy facilities in Pope and Douglas counties and the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System in southwest Minnesota.

Klobuchar secured $4 million for the continuation of work on the Red River of the North Flood Control project in Breckenridge. After the massive Red River basin floods of 1997, government officials decided to implement permanent flood damage reduction projects for the communities along the river, including Breckenridge. Funding announced today will go towards creating a high-flow diversion channel and two separate permanent levee reaches that will protect all of Breckenridge.

“Early federal support was vital to Minnesotans’ efforts to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the ’97 floods,” said Klobuchar. “Last summer’s flooding in the Midwest demonstrated how important these projects are to helping communities avoid catastrophe. Flood projects like this can mean the difference between minor damage and total destruction.”

Along with five senators from South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, Klobuchar announced further federal funding allocations for the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System. Klobuchar announced today that $27 million would be sent to the project for the construction of a water pipeline that will provide clean water from the Missouri River to over 300,000 people in Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa through its 20 member cities and rural water systems.

“This important initiative will provide fresh, clean drinking water to people across southern Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “In the land of 10,000 lakes, we value clean water and this project will help deliver that to families and businesses.”

In addition, Klobuchar secured nearly $1 million towards a new Plasma Gasification Waste To Energy facility in Koochiching County that converts municipal solid wastes into energy and other marketable by-products in an environmentally sound manner. The Renewable Energy Clean Air Project (RECAP) would use the funds to conduct a feasibility study to assess technical, economic and environmental matters.

“This is the type of innovation and leadership that we need to achieve energy security,” said Klobuchar. “At a time of unstable energy costs it is important that we invest in new technologies and the homegrown energy that will create the new jobs and businesses that will fuel our future.”

Senator Klobuchar secured nearly $1 million for the expansion of the Waste to Energy facility shared by Pope and Douglas Counties. The expansion is needed in order to meet the growing needs of the two counties. The Waste to Energy facility provides steam energy to neighboring businesses, such as the 3M Manufacturing plant and the Douglas County Hospital, and produces 500 kilowatts per hour of electricity for the Waste to Energy facility itself.

“The Pope/Douglas Waste to Energy facility is an example of Minnesotans leading the push for homegrown energy,” said Klobuchar. “Projects like this can create good jobs in Minnesota while capturing new energy sources, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and protecting the environment.”

Klobuchar also announced funding for the Minnesota Center for Renewable Energy. The center’s purpose is to move the Midwest toward greater environmentally friendly, sustainable energy use and energy independence. The Center, funded at $713,625 will operate as an applied research consortium of faculty, business and industry partners, and entrepreneurial leaders.

Klobuchar also secured over $8.6 million for a program to improve navigation efficiency and environmental restoration efforts on the Upper Mississippi River. The Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program works to ensure economic and environmental sustainability of the Upper Mississippi River System. It aims to reduce commercial traffic delays and protect and restore the environment.

Klobuchar was also successful in securing funding for a public-use harbor and dock in Duluth. The McQuade Road Safe Harbor Project includes a three-acre harbor where small craft can be protected during storms, ramps for boat and kayak launching, and adjustable docks. The facility also includes fishing spots and sidewalks above the shore and an underpass beneath Scenic Highway 61.

In addition, Klobuchar obtained funding to guard against floods in Granite Falls, Grand Forks, Ada and Montevideo. Funding for the Drayton Dam is also included in the bill.

Klobuchar secured funding for the restoration of Minnehaha’s Painter Creek, a water system which was straightened for agricultural uses in the early 1900s.

Other major Minnesota environment and water initiatives included in the bill include:

* $287,000 for repairing two levees damaged by ice in April 2005 in Crookston, MN.
* $217,000 for funding towards the Marsh Lake Aquation Ecosystem Feasibility study which would identify measures to restore more than 5,000 acres of wetland habitat within the existing reservoir and to reconnect Lac qui Parle to more than 750 miles of streams in the Pomme de Terre River basin. This restoration would allow more Minnesota hunters, anglers, birders, canoeists and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy thousands of migratory waterfowl and other birds and fish.
* $382,000 for use by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for flood mitigation between Lake Itasca and Lock and Dam #2, near Hastings, MN.
* $478,000 for the restoration of the Red River of the North Basin.
* $598,000 for the restoration and protection of the St. Croix River Basin.
* $259,000 for the restoration of the Wild Rice River of the North Basin.
* $500,000 for flood mitigation efforts in Roseau.

“It's our responsibility to provide communities with clean drinking water, protect our homes and businesses from flooding and restore our beloved rivers and lakes” said Klobuchar. “Today we took a significant step in making sure that we invest in infrastructure to allow communities to grow and our ecosystems to prosper.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ecumenical Workshops Offered on Creation Care in Duluth

An ecumenical creation care educational workshop will be held at Gloria Dei Lutheran in Duluth, Minnesota on February 21st, 2009 from 9-noon. Cost of $10 includes the workshop, a resource disk, and a mini-concert by the Northfield Youth Choir. Patricia Benson, Creation Care Coordinator for the Lutheran Coalition of Public Policy in Minnesota (LCPPM), will facilitate the event. Later in the afternoon the Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) will host presentations and discussion about "greening our church buildings" beginning at 3:00 p.m. at St. Andrew’s by-the-Lake Episcopal. Speakers will touch on concerns in all buildings, and discuss examples of new construction as well as remodeled churches in the Duluth area where environmentally friendly design was incorporated.
Faith communities have been deeply engaged in action and advocacy relative to refugee, hunger, and poverty issues. This workshop is designed to develop further understanding of how climate change is an underlying contributor to each of these social justice issues and how global warming will impact core church ministries. A menu of responses provides a variety of personal and group actions designed to contribute to lasting solutions.
A segment from the DVD Sisters on the Planet (Oxfam) will be shown, demonstrating how people around the world are experiencing the consequences of climate change today. Information provided will assist you in becoming an advocate on current Minnesota legislative issues to protect our rivers, lakes and streams, to reduce pollution and increase energy efficiency, and to make our stewardship of the earth a legacy to our children.
There will also be breakout sessions to attend within a smaller group setting. Topics to be covered include Climate Change Impact on Hunger and Poverty Issues, Personal Action Plan, and Congregational Action Plan.
The purpose of the workshop is to inform people of the scriptural basis for environmental stewardship, to provide a network of connections and resources to people and communities, and to provide the opportunity to engage with others to make a difference in the world.
A contribution for the local food shelf is the admission request to a short concert at 11:30, following the morning workshop. Since 1986, the Northfield Youth Choirs have helped more than a thousand young singers "find their voice." The group's mission is to provide the finest choral education possible in an environment that challenges and affirms children and young adults in grades one through twelve. The Chorale, a mixed ensemble for grades 10 – 12, is directed by Karen Lutgen and accompanied by Mary Davis.
The Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota, a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in response to God’s love, seeks to engage all people of faith in the promotion of public policy that supports peace, justice, and care for all of God’s creation. The Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission is a dynamic pace setter for understanding, reflection, and action in the Diocese of Minnesota and the Episcopal Church in America. As public awareness of concerns about the environment has grown, both organizations have taken on a new energy to mentor churches, set process and policy and develop liturgical and educational materials in our faith communities.

Creation Care Workshop at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
219 North 6th Avenue East, Duluth, Minnesota 218.722.3381
February 21st, 9-11:30 Cost: $10 & a food shelf item
“Green Building” Experience in Local Churches at St Andrew's by-the-Lake Episcopal Church
2802 Minnesota Avenue, Duluth, Minnesota
February 21st, 3:00 p.m. Supper at 5:00 – main dish and beverage provided; bring a side dish, bread, or dessert to share. All are welcome.

Barbara H. Holt, Marketing Communications Specialist

Woman Throws No Trash Away for an Entire Year

Television story about a woman who doesn't throw any trash away for one year.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blue Sky Soda

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 can (354 mL)
Servings Per Container 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 160Fat Cal.0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g0%
Total Carb42g14%
Sugars 42g
Protein 0g0%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet

Blue Sky Soda

Today I gave a UMW Green Team presentation to the "Coppertoppers" at my church. The "Coppertoppers" are retired group of people.

I talked about UMW stand on chlorine-free paper, the use of Stryofoam, UMW stance against bottled water and other issues.

I started off by asking trivia questions. The first person to get a trivia question correct got a fair trade organic piece of chocolate. 

I also passed around a can of Blue Sky Soda and said that it is still junk food, but it has less bad stuff in it than more mainstream sodas