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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

MN Nears Next Step in Regulating Underground Carbon Pipelines

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Friday, June 10, 2022   

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced it will soon accept public comments on drafting rules to regulate underground carbon-dioxide pipelines. The emerging technology is touted as a climate change solution, but environmental groups are skeptical.

The PUC recently declared it has regulatory authority over such pipelines, after it was initially believed only county governments in Minnesota had a say.

Maggie Schuppert, campaigns director for Clean Up the River Environment (CURE), said they are happy the state is getting involved, and think the projects are being rushed without enough public engagement.

"We haven't seen anything like these before, these kinds of pipelines and what they'll be carrying through them," Schuppert pointed out. "And so, there's just a huge amount of unknown risks and concerns, and that requires -- in some sense, we think -- an even stronger vetting and oversight process."

Companies like Summit Carbon Solutions want to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and route it through pipelines in multiple states for underground storage.

Summit contends the PUC does not have authority in this case, prompting an unnecessary review. But the Commission said it's acting within its scope. It expects the public comment period to begin later in June or early July.

The Commission suggested there might be stronger demand for such projects in the future, and drafting rules makes sense. Schuppert acknowledged if permits are eventually filed, they might win approval. But CURE feels there should at least be a system in place for anyone to speak up.

"We think it's the bare minimum for them to give the public, give impacted people from communities, a process to which they can have input into," Schuppert contended. "And then also, you know, the really important role that they play in terms of requiring the companies to provide certain information."

The Summit project would cover portions of western Minnesota. Concerns voiced by environmental groups and tribal governments include pipelines rupturing and the potential impact on water sources. Summit said it is committed to working with the state. It said its project is safe and would be an economic boost to the region.


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