Staff Directory 10645336

Josephine Marcotty

Reporter | Environment
phone: 612-673-7394
Josephine Marcotty writes about the environment and the relationship between people and nature for the Star Tribune, with a focus on agricultural pollution, mining, wolves and other critters, and climate change. Since arriving in Minnesota in 1979 from the Daily News in Dayton, Ohio, she's covered labor and economics, the food industry, airlines, and worked as the health and science editor. Her longest stint, ten years, was as a medical and science reporter. She's won a number of national journalism awards, including the 2009 National Headliner Award on the series "Your Choice: Health Care's New Era," the 2016 national Society of Environmental Journalists award for beat reporting, and the 2015 Online News Association first place award in explanatory reporting for the four-part series "Bees on the Brink."
Recent content from Josephine Marcotty
PolyMet cleanup fund is millions short, state report says

PolyMet cleanup fund is millions short, state report says

Mining firm doesn't have the cash to handle long-term cleanup, report says.
Minnesota beekeepers win a round against EPA on insecticide approval

Minnesota beekeepers win a round against EPA on insecticide approval

Federal judge rules agency should consider impact of new pesticides on endangered species.
Trump overhaul of EPA science panel worries U prof. who leads it

Trump overhaul of EPA science panel worries U prof. who leads it

The sudden overhaul of a key advisory panel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sends a worrisome signal that science will take a back seat to industry under the Trump administration, according to a respected University of Minnesota scientist who chairs the panel.
Irrigation law changes risking prairie wetlands get tucked into Minn. environmental bill

Irrigation law changes risking prairie wetlands get tucked into Minn. environmental bill

State GOP adds tweaks to bill that could hurt wetland.

Corroded underground fuel tank draws $80,000 fine for Minnesota trucking firm

Goodhue trucking firm tried to hide its "blatant" actions, state says.
As hog feedlots grow, neighbors ask: What about our rights?

As hog feedlots grow, neighbors ask: What about our rights?

A struggle over feedlots has spilled over into the state Legislature, where pork producers are trying to limit so-called nuisance suits brought by feedlot neighbors.
Salt levels mean Twin Cities lakes won't support fish by 2050

Salt levels mean Twin Cities lakes won't support fish by 2050

Twin Cities is a hot spot in a national study of lakes and road-salt runoff. It showed that salt concentrations in the Mississippi, mostly from road salt, have increased 81 percent since 1985.
Minnesota state parks, trails face major budget squeeze

Minnesota state parks, trails face major budget squeeze

Budget proposals moving through the Republican-controlled Legislature would continue what park officials say is a decadelong dilemma: Operating funds for the state's 75 parks have declined, after accounting for inflation, while the number of Minnesotans who use them continues to increase every year.
What pollutes urban Mississippi? Lawns, dogs and lots of pavement

What pollutes urban Mississippi? Lawns, dogs and lots of pavement

The U of M study takes a close look at precisely where phosphorus and nitrogen come from and where they go in Twin Cities' neighborhoods. It's the first to track how households contribute to water pollution.

PFCs found in another 200 east metro wells

Tighter standards for chemical once used by 3M prompt more drinking water tests.
Trump rescinds Clean Power Plan; state won't see much change

Trump rescinds Clean Power Plan; state won't see much change

State law and industry forces have already set course toward renewable energy.
Cycling in Minn. creates jobs, cuts health spending, state finds

Cycling in Minn. creates jobs, cuts health spending, state finds

The Minnesota Department of Transportation's first economic impact analysis of the state's cycling industry also found that 13.6 percent of Twin Cities residents commute by bike, at least once in a while.
U researchers invent nano-sponge to soak up pollution

U researchers invent nano-sponge to soak up pollution

Breakthrough done so far only in a lab could solve one of most widespread pollution problems.
General Mills' push to sow wildflowers to help bees reaps criticism

General Mills' push to sow wildflowers to help bees reaps criticism

Its pollinator seed giveaway was a huge hit, but some advocates challenge the flower mix.
Auditor asks: Did $761 million produce cleaner lakes and streams for Minnesota?

Auditor asks: Did $761 million produce cleaner lakes and streams for Minnesota?

Auditor says state is just starting to track water quality improvements.
Passions run high at Duluth meeting about mining's future

Passions run high at Duluth meeting about mining's future

About 1,000 people showed up to hear views on a potential 20-year ban on copper-nickel mining.
Tim Rooney founded Bar La Grassa, Butcher & the Boar and other Minneapolis eateries

Tim Rooney founded Bar La Grassa, Butcher & the Boar and other Minneapolis eateries

The Butcher & the Boar restaurant in downtown Minneapolis had 1,200 Facebook friends even before it opened in 2012. Like its sister property, Bar La…
As grasslands shrink, a rural war rages over mowing ditches

As grasslands shrink, a rural war rages over mowing ditches

But cutting the grass could deplete much-needed wildlife habitat, state says.
Proposed EPA cuts would hit Minnesota hard

Proposed EPA cuts would hit Minnesota hard

Proposed Trump budget would slash Great Lakes cleanup, other programs.
Minnesota seeks ideas on spending $47 million of VW's money

Minnesota seeks ideas on spending $47 million of VW's money

In Minnesota, 11,500 vehicles must be repowered or replaced.
Toxic vapors contaminate hundreds of locations across MN

Toxic vapors contaminate hundreds of locations across MN

Pollution officials this month began rolling out a new set of rules requiring property owners to test for and address vapors before transferring property.

Appeals Court to decide Dodge County hog farm lawsuit pitting pollution vs. water

Minnesota's pork industry roiled by environmental worries over feedlot runoff.
Suit claims swap with PolyMet grossly undervalued public land

Suit claims swap with PolyMet grossly undervalued public land

Environmental group says 6,650 National Forest acres were grossly undervalued.

EPA gives all-clear to pollution grants for Minnesota

Millions in environmental funds had been frozen by Trump administration.
For first time since 1976, Minnesota has vision for Mississippi River corridor

For first time since 1976, Minnesota has vision for Mississippi River corridor

For the first time since 1976, Minnesota has adopted a uniform framework for how the 21 cities and five counties along the river's banks will manage the river to protect the water.
Citing wolves and lynx, environmentalists sue to stop PolyMet land swap

Citing wolves and lynx, environmentalists sue to stop PolyMet land swap

They say U.S. agencies gave away land critical to both endangered predators.
PolyMet clears 2nd major hurdle with federal land exchange

PolyMet clears 2nd major hurdle with federal land exchange

The U.S. Forest Service approved a deal to trade land with PolyMet Mining Corp., a critical step that will allow PolyMet to dig a major open pit mine in northern Minnesota.
Fluke snowmobile crash kills man in Grand Marais

Fluke snowmobile crash kills man in Grand Marais

Two friends were out for a ride on New Year's Eve.
Minn. DNR goes to federal court to try to stop Red River flood control project

Minn. DNR goes to federal court to try to stop Red River flood control project

The dispute centers on the question of whether Minnesota has a say on dam construction.
Obituary: Joan Mainzer Kishkis, harpist with the Minnesota Orchestra

Obituary: Joan Mainzer Kishkis, harpist with the Minnesota Orchestra

Kishkis died Dec. 15, just six days shy of her 89th birthday.
On Isle Royale, Park Service intervenes to save nature

On Isle Royale, Park Service intervenes to save nature

The National Park Service has proposed transplanting up to 30 wolves to Isle Royale, a historic decision that concedes that extraordinary steps are needed to restore a healthy balance of predator and prey on the wilderness island in Lake Superior.
Rare, 2-year review will weigh copper mining's risks to BWCA

Rare, 2-year review will weigh copper mining's risks to BWCA

Regulators could block the industry in huge swath of the BWCA watershed.
Loved and loathed activist has drawn a line in BWCA

Loved and loathed activist has drawn a line in BWCA

With steely resolve, Becky Rom builds a campaign against mining. And once again, she has set many in her hometown of Ely against her.

Winona County is first county in Minnesota to pass frac sand ban

After debate over jobs and land, the ban passed 3-2.
Scathing review blasts states, EPA for failing to protect Mississippi River

Scathing review blasts states, EPA for failing to protect Mississippi River

Cry for help from 13 environmental groups says decades of voluntary measures and light touch by feds don't work.
Minnesota pollution regulators propose for first time deadlines for Minntac tailings basin to meet goals

Minnesota pollution regulators propose for first time deadlines for Minntac tailings basin to meet goals

Proposed permit for the first time sets deadlines to limit pollutants.
Lawsuit alleges lax regulation of major Minnesota taconite mine

Lawsuit alleges lax regulation of major Minnesota taconite mine

Three environmental groups charge that Minnesota has failed to protect northern waters.
PolyMet formally applies for permit to mine copper in NE Minnesota

PolyMet formally applies for permit to mine copper in NE Minnesota

For the first time the company specified how much money it would offer as financial insurance against future pollution and reclamation costs: $253 million in the first three years.
More trees would give Minneapolis a huge health boost, study finds

More trees would give Minneapolis a huge health boost, study finds

Minneapolis tied for second place in a study of cities that would benefit most from boosting urban forests.
Hundreds attend University of Minnesota bee lab's open house

Hundreds attend University of Minnesota bee lab's open house

Research there will delve into decline in population of pollinators.
October: Once-common rusty patched bumblebee likely to join endangered list

October: Once-common rusty patched bumblebee likely to join endangered list

The decline also illustrates the often unexpected consequences for insects from the way people grow their food.
Winona County Board moves closer to a frac sand mining ban

Winona County Board moves closer to a frac sand mining ban

Commissioners voted 3-2 for language that would make it first county in the state to prohibit the industry.
Minnesota, North Dakota at a standoff over $2 billion Red River project

Minnesota, North Dakota at a standoff over $2 billion Red River project

Minnesota's opposition limits North Dakota's options.
Minnesota denies flood diversion permit for Red River at Fargo

Minnesota denies flood diversion permit for Red River at Fargo

After years of work, state won't issue permit for massive plan to divert Red River.
Special report: Mighty Mississippi faces mounting environmental threats

Special report: Mighty Mississippi faces mounting environmental threats

The Star Tribune examines the health of Minnesota's rivers and whether we can save one of our greatest natural resources, the Mississippi, before it's too late.
Obituary: Janice Johnson pursued social justice. green gardening to the very end

Obituary: Janice Johnson pursued social justice. green gardening to the very end

At the end, when she decided it was time to forgo more cancer treatments, Janice Johnson stayed true to the upbeat, generous and inclusive values…

Hopkins outbreak is part of a rising tide of Legionnaires' cases in U.S.

Three more cases have been reported in the mysterious outbreak, which has sickened 17 since Sept. 9.
Tiny bits of plastics, fiber are building up in the Mississippi River

Tiny bits of plastics, fiber are building up in the Mississippi River

Levels of ag pollutants have fallen, but "microplastics,'' an environmental threat worldwide, are rising.
Twin Metals sues federal government over right to mine near BWCA

Twin Metals sues federal government over right to mine near BWCA

Twin Metals says new concerns don't give regulators the right to revoke long-standing leases.
80 homes in Washington County getting bottled water amid pollution review

80 homes in Washington County getting bottled water amid pollution review

State is reviewing new contamination standard for old 3M chemicals.
EPA presses Minnesota over laws exempting taconite firms from wild rice rules

EPA presses Minnesota over laws exempting taconite firms from wild rice rules

Taconite pollution rules under federal scrutiny.
U.S. Forest Service balks at copper-nickel mining plan near BWCA

U.S. Forest Service balks at copper-nickel mining plan near BWCA

Forest Service asks for public comment on Twin Metals plan.

Terrorism convictions will serve as a warning across the country

Verdict is likely to serve as a stark warning to others.
Review: 'If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems,' edited by James Lenfestey

Review: 'If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems,' edited by James Lenfestey

POETRY: A collection of poems old and new about the honeybee.
DNR pursues better plan, better numbers on deer

DNR pursues better plan, better numbers on deer

The agency will take input from a wide range of people.
Land O'Lakes gives boost to Minnesota water quality effort

Land O'Lakes gives boost to Minnesota water quality effort

The company said it will help the state fight against pollution from agriculture.

Planned burn escapes limits near BWCA, spreads to 1,000 acres

Crews gained control of fire that spread to 1,000 acres.
Zebra mussel enforcement gets new weapon — mandatory education for rule breakers

Zebra mussel enforcement gets new weapon — mandatory education for rule breakers

On top of a fine, owners will get taken to school.
Government culling of Minn. wolves could put them in greater danger

Government culling of Minn. wolves could put them in greater danger

A novel study says government killing does not reduce private poaching.
Gardeners' revolt against pesticide hurting bees is surprisingly successful

Gardeners' revolt against pesticide hurting bees is surprisingly successful

The consumer revolt against neonicotinoids, widely blamed for the decline in pollinators, has been swift and surprisingly successful.
Obituary: Barbara Kaerwer was an influential lecturer and art collector

Obituary: Barbara Kaerwer was an influential lecturer and art collector

A trip to Europe in 1953 transformed Barbara Kaerwer’s life. And then she went on to transform the lives of many others. Kaerwer, an art…
Wolves on Isle Royale down to a last, aging pair

Wolves on Isle Royale down to a last, aging pair

The last two wolves on Isle Royale are so old and closely inbred that they are unlikely to successfully reproduce.
Warming temps will squeeze North Shore ski season, but bring surge in May

Warming temps will squeeze North Shore ski season, but bring surge in May

While most climate change research takes the stark global view, scientists at the University of Minnesota are thinking smaller. Like: What’s going to happen on…
Thirsty cities begin to eye water from the Great Lakes

Thirsty cities begin to eye water from the Great Lakes

Nearly a decade ago, eight governors shook hands on an extraordinary agreement to erect a legal wall around the largest source of fresh water on…
Sen. Bakk warns Cook County that mining stand could be costly

Sen. Bakk warns Cook County that mining stand could be costly

The state Senate majority leader advised commissioners they would risk losing state money if they passed a resolution to ban copper mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
DNR seeks $33M to fix state park buildings, trails

DNR seeks $33M to fix state park buildings, trails

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the first time took a hard look at the all the state parks, trails, buildings, boat launches and monitoring wells it manages — and found that they need $342 million worth of work to get them all back into shape.
In win for beekeepers, Minnesota links insecticide to damaged hives

In win for beekeepers, Minnesota links insecticide to damaged hives

Investigators confirmed link to toxic insecticide dust in the first test of a landmark environmental law.

Public hearing will start next phase of PolyMet mine review

At April 19 hearing, execs will respond to concerns.
DNR says disease has killed hundreds of bats at Soudan mine entrance

DNR says disease has killed hundreds of bats at Soudan mine entrance

Tours will not be interrupted at Soudan Underground Mine, and the DNR said it will continue to follow decontamination procedures to prevent human transfer of fungal spores from the bats.

Twin Metals gets second rebuff over concerns about mining near the BWCA

Federal agency has concerns about leases near the BWCA.
Dayton rebuffs Twin Metals mine proposal, citing risks to BWCA

Dayton rebuffs Twin Metals mine proposal, citing risks to BWCA

Twin Metals eyes land near Boundary Waters.
PolyMet mine has green light, bad timing

PolyMet mine has green light, bad timing

With the copper industry on its knees, analysts and economists say it's highly unlikely the $650 million open pit mine will be built any time soon.
State approves final 3,500-page environmental review for PolyMet mine

State approves final 3,500-page environmental review for PolyMet mine

The DNR commissioner certified that the environmental impact statement for the proposed mine in northeastern Minnesota meets all legal requirements.
Dayton struggles to balance clean water campaign with strong farm economy

Dayton struggles to balance clean water campaign with strong farm economy

The governor has been preparing for a summit Saturday in St. Paul to discuss how to tackle the state's water problems.
Humane Society offers $5,000 reward in Minnesota wolf-poaching case

Humane Society offers $5,000 reward in Minnesota wolf-poaching case

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information on who illegally killed three wolves in northern Minnesota, upping the…
Read our comment standards

StarTribune.com welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in substantive, mutually respectful exchanges over news topics. Commenters must follow our Terms of Use.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic.
  2. No profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs or personal attacks.
  3. Comments with web links are not permitted.
  4. Comments that violate the above will be removed. Repeat violators may lose their commenting privileges on StarTribune.com.

Comments will be reviewed before being published.

More from Star Tribune