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
3M settles contentious lawsuit with state for $850 million

3M settles contentious lawsuit with state for $850 million

The money will be used to clean up drinking water and groundwater contamination in east metro communities.
Bloody red shrimp found in Lake Superior raises worry of invasive species

Bloody red shrimp found in Lake Superior raises worry of invasive species

A single bloody red shrimp found in Twin Ports Harbor.
Minnesota's Volkswagen settlement may pay for cleaner vehicles

Minnesota's Volkswagen settlement may pay for cleaner vehicles

MPCA issues a plan for the state's share of a national legal settlement.
Minnesota groundwater pollution case has national meaning for 3M

Minnesota groundwater pollution case has national meaning for 3M

Case over Washington County groundwater is one of dozens that loom for the Maplewood-based firm.
Judge agrees to week's delay in 3M groundwater pollution trial

Judge agrees to week's delay in 3M groundwater pollution trial

A startling Health Department report caused the company to seek a trial delay.
3M asks for delay in trial over pollution in Washington County

3M asks for delay in trial over pollution in Washington County

The company said a new state report casts doubt on health claims in the lawsuit.
State finds no clear health impact from 3M chemicals in east metro suburbs

State finds no clear health impact from 3M chemicals in east metro suburbs

The review contradicts that of an expert hired by the state attorney general's office in advance of a long-awaited trial next week between the state and 3M.
NFL's super challenge: Recycling food wrappers and beer cups from 60,000 fans

NFL's super challenge: Recycling food wrappers and beer cups from 60,000 fans

From blinking cups to orphaned purses, league and stadium officials shoot for zero waste.
Judge throws out Minn. proposal aiming to protect wild rice

Judge throws out Minn. proposal aiming to protect wild rice

Environmentalists and industry had opposed sulfate formula as unworkable, costly.
Mining supporters sue Gov. Dayton over Twin Metals land access

Mining supporters sue Gov. Dayton over Twin Metals land access

Suit challenges governor's decision to halt minerals exploration.
With Minnesota mining permit, PolyMet proposal reaches a turning point

With Minnesota mining permit, PolyMet proposal reaches a turning point

Regulators give their tentative blessing to Minnesota's first copper-nickel mine.
Test our water for nitrates? Brown County says no thanks

Test our water for nitrates? Brown County says no thanks

A free well-testing program for Minnesotans has become the latest target in the state's increasingly fractious battle over water and agricultural pollution.
In unexpected move, feds OK mine leases on edge of BWCA

In unexpected move, feds OK mine leases on edge of BWCA

Department of the Interior reverses Obama-era denial of Twin Metals copper-nickel leases.
3M says state is too late to seek damages for drinking water contamination

3M says state is too late to seek damages for drinking water contamination

In hearing on request to dismiss suit, company argues that the state agreed not to sue years ago.
State predicts PolyMet would need $1B to cover risks from mining

State predicts PolyMet would need $1B to cover risks from mining

Half would go for long-term water treatment after copper-nickel mine closes.
PolyMet offers $544M to cover Hoyt Lakes mine's environmental risks

PolyMet offers $544M to cover Hoyt Lakes mine's environmental risks

"Financial assurance" is a final step in the company's long application to start mining.
Can Minnesota's government go green, and save big like others?

Can Minnesota's government go green, and save big like others?

Gov. Dayton ordered all state agencies to hit aggressive and specific environmental goals in the next decade and a half.
Pesticide's reprieve met with relief from farmers, but fear on health front

Pesticide's reprieve met with relief from farmers, but fear on health front

Minnesota farmers depend on chlorpyrifos, but dozens of studies say it harms kids.
In lawsuit, Minnesota is asking: What did 3M know about PFCs?

In lawsuit, Minnesota is asking: What did 3M know about PFCs?

Court filing cracks open 3M's internal research on PFCs, raises new questions about risks for residents.
American Crystal Sugar fined $135,000 for air pollution violations

American Crystal Sugar fined $135,000 for air pollution violations

MPCA cited repeat violations in Crookston, East Grand Forks locations.
State alleges 3M chemicals caused cancer, infertility and seeks $5B

State alleges 3M chemicals caused cancer, infertility and seeks $5B

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed suit over groundwater contamination in Oakdale, other suburbs, alleging that the company caused $5 billion worth of health and environmental damages.
Plowing Minnesota's prairie is increasing carbon in the atmosphere

Plowing Minnesota's prairie is increasing carbon in the atmosphere

University of Wisconsin analysis refuels the debate over renewables.
Minn. scientist demoted as Scott Pruitt reshuffles EPA advisory boards

Minn. scientist demoted as Scott Pruitt reshuffles EPA advisory boards

Retired U Prof. Deborah Swackhamer says Trump administration is downgrading science.
Clean water vs. farm profits at heart of fertilizer-rule debate

Clean water vs. farm profits at heart of fertilizer-rule debate

New strategy relies on farmers to minimize the impact on water, placing farmers' yields above groundwater protection.
Overwatering lawns — and pavement — is the norm in the Twin Cities

Overwatering lawns — and pavement — is the norm in the Twin Cities

A survey of 1,000 homeowners shows thirsty turf is sucking down the metro's water. On average, residents watered 500 square feet of pavement.
DNR estimates surge in wolf population in Minnesota

DNR estimates surge in wolf population in Minnesota

The number of wolves in northeast Minnesota jumped 25 percent in the past year, most likely because deer, their favorite prey, saw a similar increase in population.
White Bear Lake court ruling could ripple across the state

White Bear Lake court ruling could ripple across the state

Judge Margaret Marrinan said the state has failed to protect the lake from excessive groundwater pumping and ordered the DNR to limit water use in the surrounding communities.
Radio host and producer Tammy Raasch dies at 40

Radio host and producer Tammy Raasch dies at 40

Twin Cities talk show radio host and producer Tammy Raasch had that remarkable combination of effervescence and doggedness that made her one of the best…

Goodhue County feedlot opponents say owner violates air standards

Neighbors opposed to a pending 4,700-hog operation measured air quality at other sites.
Air quality alert issued for Twin Cities, central Minnesota Thursday

Air quality alert issued for Twin Cities, central Minnesota Thursday

Wildfires, hot air and sun to create unhealthy air.
U researchers help food companies track sustainability of corn

U researchers help food companies track sustainability of corn

Breakthrough will help processors, farmers gauge true cost of raising crop.
Judge orders halt to $2.1 billion Red River flood project

Judge orders halt to $2.1 billion Red River flood project

Attorneys described the ruling as a turning point in the long-running battle over the project, one that could force negotiations.
Minnesota lakes holding their own against pollution

Minnesota lakes holding their own against pollution

Billions in spending aiding the fight against threats like runoff, warming climate.
Explosion of larch beetles in warming climate is transforming Minn. forests

Explosion of larch beetles in warming climate is transforming Minn. forests

Climate change means more native burrowing bugs survive to reproduce and harm tamaracks.
Wolf advocates attack Wisconsin tradition: Hunting bears with dogs

Wolf advocates attack Wisconsin tradition: Hunting bears with dogs

A national watchdog group says Wisconsin bear hunters are harassing wolves with their dog packs — then claiming state compensation when their hounds are killed.
Plan to log Ely forest pits hikers, skiers against timber industry

Plan to log Ely forest pits hikers, skiers against timber industry

Conservationists see it as a test of how the state will manage Minnesota's northern forests now that Gov. Mark Dayton has directed the DNR to increase timber harvests from state lands.
August: State says 3M is reneging on 10-year-old cleanup deal for polluted water

August: State says 3M is reneging on 10-year-old cleanup deal for polluted water

Drinking water for several hundred homeowners is at stake in recent standoff.
EPA chief Pruitt backs federal funding for Great Lakes cleanup

EPA chief Pruitt backs federal funding for Great Lakes cleanup

Scott Pruitt, the nation's top environmental officer, said Wednesday that he stands firmly behind continued federal funding for a landmark cleanup of Great Lakes pollution — a sharp contrast to the Trump administration's proposed budget, which would essentially kill the program.
3M pulls the plug on paying for clean water for 200 in east metro

3M pulls the plug on paying for clean water for 200 in east metro

It wants the state to prove latest costs are tied to company's operations.
Sculpture near stadium tells story of birds, climate change

Sculpture near stadium tells story of birds, climate change

The idea for "Orbacles" was in part inspired by the bird controversy at U.S. Bank Stadium, which looms over the sculptures on the east side the park.
U scientists say Trump is overhauling EPA advisory panel

U scientists say Trump is overhauling EPA advisory panel

Members of key science advisory panel told to reapply for posts when their term ends.
St. Anthony Falls, birthplace of city, now a turning point for urban river

St. Anthony Falls, birthplace of city, now a turning point for urban river

St. Anthony Lock and Dam closed two years ago, and now the Army Corps of Engineers is considering what to do with it. Advocacy and government groups are lining up with their ideas.
Dayton signs Minnesota to pact that honors Paris accord

Dayton signs Minnesota to pact that honors Paris accord

A dozen other governors have pledged to uphold their own version of the Paris accord.
Mike Cullen, vocational education advocate, dies at 98

Mike Cullen, vocational education advocate, dies at 98

It was a bus accident that changed the course of Mike Cullen's life. It nearly killed the little boy from northern Minnesota, but it set…
Minnesota will proceed with own climate change strategy

Minnesota will proceed with own climate change strategy

With a plan adopted in 2007, the state has been a national leader in pursuing an aggressive plan to reduce emissions.
On St. Louis River, massive cleanup project now in doubt

On St. Louis River, massive cleanup project now in doubt

Proposed cut to Great Lakes fund comes at delicate time for St. Louis River.
State drastically tightens limits on 3M chemicals in groundwater

State drastically tightens limits on 3M chemicals in groundwater

New limits, half the level set last year by the E.P.A., mainly affect east metro and Bemidji drinking water.
Scientists planting 400 acres of Minnesota pines to survive climate change

Scientists planting 400 acres of Minnesota pines to survive climate change

Scientists are identifying planting spots that will be strongholds against climate change.
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.
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