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Local/state briefs

Marshall-Lyon County Library receives grant for Local Energy Project

The Marshall-Lyon County Library has received a $2,500 Seed Grant from the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Monday.

“We’re very excited to learn about the grant award,” said LuAnn Anderson, MLCL office manager. “We can’t wait to get started on our project, ‘Get Wired at Marshall-Lyon County Library.'”

When the Marshall-Lyon County Library opened in 2011, the county hoped that the combination of the geothermal heating/cooling system and updated light fixtures would cut down on utility costs, allowing more public funds to go to acquiring additional materials for the library’s collection and expanding programs offered to residents. However, by 2016, the electric bill for the building was on schedule to exceed $50,000 annually. The Library has made tweaks to the geothermal system and instituted other strategic changes that have cut down on these costs significantly, but replacing fluorescent bulbs remains the last big step to true efficiency.

The award is one of 35 grants given to innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in communities across Minnesota. These awards mark the tenth round of Seed Grants from CERTs, totalling over $1.3 million to 393 projects since 2006. A complete list of funded projects can be accessed at cleanenergyresourceteams.org/2020grants.

“CERTs provides these Seed Grants with two primary objectives in mind,” said Lissa Pawlisch, CERTs director. “First, to encourage implementation of community-based clean energy projects across the state. Second, to provide an educational forum for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and their economic, community, and ecological benefits.”

PolyMet will appeal permit ruling to Minnesota Supreme Court

ST. PAUL (AP) — PolyMet Mining Inc. said Thursday it will ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that canceled three permits needed for its proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

PolyMet President and CEO Jon Cherry said in a statement that Monday’s decision from the Court of Appeals has far-reaching impacts for Minnesota and any future project that depends on state permits.

The appeals court gave environmentalists a big victory by sending the dispute back to the Department of Natural Resources for a trial-like contested case hearing before a neutral administrative law judge on the project’s environmental risks.

PolyMet pointed out that the DNR has already held a 15-year-long environmental review and permitting process that included numerous chances for the public to weigh in.

“No other company in the history of the state has been subjected to anywhere near the time and cost that was associated with this permitting process,” Cherry said. “We did everything the state and the law required, and more. And the process confirmed that our project will be protective of human health and the environment.”

The company said it will file its petition with the Supreme Court within the 30-day deadline.

DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen said the agency has not decided whether to appeal.

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