Staff Directory 89522247

Mike Hughlett

Reporter | Food industry
Phone: 612-673-7003
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Mike Hughlett is a business reporter at the Star Tribune. 


Hughlett has primarily covered economics, business and workplace issues for 32 years at five newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Duluth News-Tribune and the Star Tribune, where he has been since 2010. He grew up in Brooklyn Center.
Recent content from Mike Hughlett
Oil and natural gas production were produced at record levels in North Dakota in September.

North Dakota oil production hits another high, but slowdown predicted

Tight labor market, low oil prices and winter weather could slow growth, officials said.

Study says Minnesota can economically reach renewable energy goals by 2050

Improving economics should make renewable energy less costly, it says.
Oil refinery at night in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Shortage of pipeline capacity is causing Canadian oil producers to discount their crude by

Bargain pricing of Canadian crude oil is not helping you at the pump

Low Canadian prices help 2 local refineries, but drivers aren't seeing much benefit.

Seller of wind turbines charged in $1 million fraud scheme

Entrepreneur misspent $1 million in funds, didn't install turbines, feds say.

Xcel has agreed to pay $650 million for Mankato Energy Center

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is with Southern Power.
Cooling towers at the Sherburne County Generating Station emit plumes of steam. Minnesota Power is close to retiring 700 megawatts of coal generation

Minnesota Power's stake in Superior, Wis., gas-fired plant approved

The vote was 3-2, with critics including ratepayers, clean energy groups and a state administrative law judge questioning whether the $700 million gas-fired power plant is needed.

Xcel earnings fell slightly amid higher costs

The company's shares fell in early trading.
Republican Jeff Johnson, left, and DFLer Tim Walz faced off earlier this month in a “Greater Minnesota Debate” in Willmar, Minn.

Jeff Johnson, Tim Walz both back northern Minn. pipeline project

Both major-party gubernatorial hopefuls say they support Enbridge, but politics could prove dicey.
A load of sand was transported from the pile at the rear to the Jordan Sands processing plant near Mankato.

Oil industry changes move buyers from Midwest frac sand

As oil production has soared, the U.S. frac sand mining industry has boomed over the past 18 months. But cutbacks in operations in Minnesota and Wisconsin may be part of a fundamental shift in U.S. frac sand production away from the Midwest.
In an Aug. 21, 2017 photo, workers build the Wisconsin portion of Enbridge's Line 3 replacement project.

Enbridge outlines $1.4 billion worst-case scenario spill on proposed pipeline

The analysis was required by state regulators for the $2.6 billion project to proceed.
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, Darshan Brahmbhatt, plugs a charger into his electric vehicle at the Sacramento Municipal Utility

Xcel proposal would support 70 new public charging stations for electric vehicles

$25 million effort would support charging stations for public and agency use.

Incentive approved for residential customers who choose solar gardens for energy

State regulators allowed the incentive because of a change in formula for an existing solar credit.

Amazon now hiring for new sorting facility in Brooklyn Park

The center, the company's fourth delivery-related operation in the Twin Cities, will employ 450 part-time workers later this fall.

Charges dismissed against climate change protesters who were on Enbridge property

Clearwater County judge ruled prosecutors did not have enough evidence.
The higher-ethanol fuel blend called E15 has hit the Twin Cities through an unusual marriage between the state corn growers and independent gas statio

Trump orders start of process to allow E-15 fuel sales year-round

Rule change welcomed by farmers would allow E-15 fuel blend to be sold year-round.
The oil refinery fire in Superior, Wis., threw thick, black smoke into the sky after an explosion and fire in April.

OSHA: Explosion, fire at Superior refinery could have been prevented

OSHA fines plant for 13 safety violations after April explosion and fires that led to a citywide evacuation.
Thomas Furst, died Sept. 18 at age 70.

Thomas Furst, who found peace in return trip to Vietnam battlefield, dies at 70

The 2012 trip "softened" Furst's anger about being exposed to Agent Orange, his wife said.

Frontier Communications service complaints aired at Lakeville hearing

The public hearings are part of a state investigation into service at the phone and internet service company.
Enbridge has the supplies ready to go if it gets all the OKs necessary to build a new pipeline across northern Minnesota.

Minn. Commerce Department asks utility regulators to vacate Enbridge's approval for Line 3

The state agency joined a handful of other groups in filing challenges to the June Line 3 decision.
Dorenne Hansen installed a No Windmills sign in her front yard to voice her opposition to the proposed project.

Minn. utility regulators approve Freeborn County wind farm opposed by neighbors

Regulators were swayed by special conditions to meet noise levels proposed by the project's developer.

N.D. oil, natural gas production hit another monthly record

Capacity and workforce constraints could restrain further growth for state.
Concerns about large turbine farms like this one near Alden, Minn., have led to a contested case for the Freeborn Wind project.

Wind industry says Minn. pollution-control stance will stifle its growth

Minn. pollution-control regulators say background noise should be considered.
The Minneapolis Public Utilities commissioners, meeting in June. The PUC on Tuesday postponed a meeting disrupted by protesters as the panel was to co

State regulators postpone Enbridge oil pipeline meetings after protests erupt

PUC was set to vote on whether Enbridge had met conditions imposed in June.
EnVerde’s Chief Executive Dave Goebel, left, and University of Minnesota Prof. Paul Dauenhauer talked about their startup recently at the lab at the

Startup using University of Minnesota research, enVerde wants to make energy from garbage

EnVerde founders hope to land funds necessary to build startup success story that will turn organic matter into synthetic fuel.

Crow Wing Power's $20-million-plus investment in manganese mine raises questions

So far, its investments have not resulted in a working mine.
Enbridge has the supplies ready to go if it gets all the OKs necessary to build a new pipeline across northern Minnesota.

Fond du Lac agrees to let Enbridge's new pipeline cross its reservation

Deal with the Fond du Lac Band extends pipelines' presence on the northern Minn. reservation.
A Nissan Leaf electric car is charged at the City of Palo Alto EV charging station in the public garage in Palo Alto, Calif., on November 5, 2015.

Sign-up for electric vehicle pilot program is this week

Xcel's new program aims at better charging system.
In Mahnomen, Minn., Loren Lauder asked Matt Gordon, right, if he thought he’d have any construction work for his nephew in the near future.

American Indian-owned Gordon Construction could be transformed by Enbridge project

Big contracts would mean jobs for tribal members.

CenterPoint unveils pilot program for 'renewable natural gas'

Customers would pay extra fee to get all or some of their gas from renewable sources.

Co-owner of Lillie Suburban Newspapers files for bankruptcy

Jeffrey Enright lists business expenses as some of his liabilities, including a pension payment.

North Dakota oil production dips in June

Rainy weather, an abundance of natural gas and a tight labor market played a role in the decline, officials said.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce says Enbridge doesn't have adequate insurance in the event of a spill along its updated Line 3.

Enbridge oil spill insurance inadequate, Minnesota regulators say

Commerce officials are raising questions about coverage as part of their review of the company's proposed Line 3 project.

4 tribes appeal Enbridge approval to Minnesota appeals court

A total of six tribes are challenging PUC approval of the controversial pipeline in northern Minnesota.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to distribute all but $2 million of Xcel’s $136 million tax benefit directly to ratepayers.

Xcel tax cut will mean refunds for ratepayers, state regulators decide

Xcel said it expects the refunds, to be one-time credits on customers' bills, will be made by year's end.

New Hope couple charged with running Amazon scheme that took in $15M

Owners of Sellers Playbook, Exposure Marketing are facing nine fraud counts.
A worker attached a new solar panel into a frame while constructing an array in a field in Ramsey. Connexus is building two battery storage units that

Renewable energy in Minnesota receives a battery boost with Connexus project

Connexus project marks a new step in Minnesota for renewable energy.
In this April 26, 2018, file frame from video smoke rises from the Husky Energy oil refinery after an explosion and fire at the plant in Superior, Wis

Worn valve could have caused explosion at Superior, Wis., refinery

The explosion in April caused a raging fire that burned for hours and prompted entire neighborhoods in Superior to evacuate for hours.
Frank Sandberg

Frank Sandberg, railroad enthusiast and design engineer, dies at 76

Sandberg created machines that would in turn make everything from refrigerator systems to automobile steering wheels.

Northern Oil and Gas will buy W Energy Partners

Northern Oil's stock rose 30 cents or nearly 9 percent.
In Clearwater County, Todd Defoe, a field technician and cultural interviewer, is about to head into a dig test site for archaeological evidence of pa

Cultural survey by tribes for Enbridge pipeline could be largest effort of its kind

Cultural survey by tribes along route of Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline could be largest of its kind.
Hot weather helps Xcel's profits

Hot weather helps Xcel's profits

Xcel Energy posted a 16 percent increase in second-quarter profits, beating Wall Street estimates.
Michael Reger, president of Northern Oil and Gas Inc.

Reger now president, instead of CEO, at Northern Oil and Gas

Brandon Elliott, who was named president and COO in May, is now the CEO.

Minnesota man missing for days found dead in rain-swollen ditch

His car was found first and then the body two days later.

Administrative law judge recommends against a new natural gas plant for Minnesota Power

A judge recommended against the Duluth utility's proposed new plant in Superior, Wis.
Winona Laduke and others demonstrate at a rally held at the Wisconsin-Minnesota border on the morning after Line 3 is approved, Friday, June 29, 2018.

Enbridge, Minnesota officials talking about pipeline security before latest approval for Line 3 replacement

Enbridge has already been "actively engaged" with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, county sheriffs and tribal police, an official said.
Dawn Goodwin of White Earth Reservation was comforted by Joe Plumer, attorney for White Earth and the Red Lake Bands, about the proposed Line 3 and it

Regulators approve Enbridge pipeline; activists vow protests

The Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to grant Enbridge a "certificate of need" to build a replacement pipeline, and voted 3-2 for the route across northern Minnesota.
Workers are building the Wisconsin part of the Enbridge pipeline project in August 2017. The Minnesota portion still has not been approved.

Possibility of civil unrest hangs over regulatory hearings on controversial Enbridge pipeline proposal

Commissioners talked about which route for the $2.6 billion project might cause disruption.
In an Aug. 21, 2017 photo, workers make sure that each section of the replacement Line 3 that is joined passes muster. Enbridge already has started bu

PUC making its way through the issues in the controversial Enbridge pipeline case

Chairwoman of the regulatory body said the commissioners are all aware of the "magnitude" of their decision.
File photo of a pipe fitter working on the replacement of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 crude oil pipeline near Superior, Minn.

PUC reconvenes today on the fate of controversial Enbridge pipeline

The parties are working up to the final minute to make their cases.
A federal judge has rejected claims by a New York-based electricity provider that the state improperly favors home-state transmission operators. File

Federal judge upholds Minn. power-line law

N.Y. utility had claimed Minn. energy companies had an unfair advantage.
Fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to an Enbridge pipeline.

State regulators ask critical questions of Enbridge, other players in pipeline case

More details sought on the firm's controversial plan to build a $2.6 billion pipeline.
In this July 25, 2017, photo provided by Wisconsin Public Radio, crews begin work on the Wisconsin segment of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 near Superior,

Enbridge bolsters pitch as regulators begin deliberating new Line 3

The company offers fresh assurances over safety of proposed oil pipeline, offering a corporate guarantee behind its new Line 3.
A pipe fitter lays the finishing touches to the replacement of Enbridge Energy's Line 3 crude oil pipeline stretch in Superior, Minn.

Regulators finally get their say on Enbridge pipeline project

Ecological, tribal concerns loom over $2.6B project.
A rig drilling three new oil wells in North Dakota in 2017.

N.D. oil production close to record set during boom

The state produced 1.22 million barrels per day in April, a 5 percent increase over March, officials said.

Judge's ruling against Minnesota wind farm causes alarm for advocates

They say judge's opposition to proposal could threaten future of the industry.

Staff members recommend state regulators approve controversial Enbridge pipeline project

As ruling nears, a briefing says a new Line 3 would be safer for environment.
Maintenance mechanics work on a broken part of the boiler feeder at Great River's Elk River Energy Recovery Station. (LEILA NAVIDI/Star Tribune file p

Great River Energy to double amount of electricity gained from renewable resources

Wind farms and hydropower propel utility toward 50 percent sustainable resources.
Mexico, like China, is taking aim at American farmers with tariffs on pork products in retaliation for levies put on steel and aluminum by the U.S.

Accelerating trade war to throw Minnesota hog farmers into the red

Mexico is the latest to retaliate against U.S. steel tariffs with new fees on American pork.
Dakota elder Bob Klanderud sang and played the drum and whistle at the start of the rally. Over a hundred people attended a rally in Leif Erickson Par

Minnesota religious leaders oppose new Enbridge oil pipeline

Ministers say it poses a threat to the environment and Minnesota's Ojibwe.
Enbridge Inc. president and CEO Al Monaco, in a 2017 file photo

Enbridge makes new pledges as a decision on its proposed pipeline nears

Company promises to remove some pipe, hire Indian subcontractors.

Xcel wins approval for pilot program for rates varying by time of day

The program would charge more during peak electricity times and the least in the overnight hours.
“It’s just a part of life and it cost more in California,” said Akhmiri Sekhr-ra, about increasing gas prices as she filled her car up with gas

Twin Cities gas prices could top $3 a gallon this summer

Gasoline prices have risen sharply over the past few weeks, hitting a current average of $2.85 per gallon in the Twin Cities, 55 cents higher than a year ago.

More stringent biofuel standard suspended

State issues waiver until June 30 because of shortages of B20 product.

Nuclear cost oversight of Xcel stays in place after Minnesota House kills bill to change it

Measure altering nuclear cost oversight comes up short in Legislature.
Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill that took oversight of the proposed pipeline by Enbridge Energy away from the PUC. File photo of a pipe fitter working

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoes bill that gave Enbridge's new pipeline fast-track approval

Measure would have expedited Enbridge's approval process.
Windmills fill the landscape near Alden, Minn. In a rare move, a state judge has recommended that a proposed southern Minnesota wind farm — Freeborn

Administrative law judge says PUC should reject Freeborn County wind project

Judge recommends against a permit because noise concerns have not been addressed.
North Dakota is the second largest producer of oil in the U.S. and it has 60 drilling rigs up and running.

North Dakota oil production declines in March

The dip in March was attributed mostly to weather as outlook remains upbeat amid rising prices.
Workers installing Enbridge's Line 3 replacement pipeline in Wisconsin. The Legislature is weighing in on the pipeline's route in Minnesota.

Minnesota House, Senate approve bills allowing Enbridge pipeline without regulatory OK

Supporters say review of project has taken too long; Gov. Dayton says legislation "would destroy the integrity of the process."
Millions of gallons of crude oil flow through the Enbridge Energy pipeline transfer station in Clearbrook, Minn., each day.

Enbridge tax ruling could cost Minnesota counties millions

The Minnesota Department of Revenue overvalued Enbridge's pipeline system by billions of dollars, a Minnesota tax judge ruled.
The control room for units one and two at the Xcel Energy-operated Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Station in Welch, Minn., near Red Wing.

Senate votes to change approval process for Xcel nuclear costs

Legislation's foes fear it would shift risk from shareholders to ratepayers

Regulators approve CenterPoint rate hike

CenterPoint Energy's initial request for a $56.5 million gas-rate hike has shrunk to only $3.9 million, partly due to federal corporate tax cuts.
Workers installing Enbridge's Line 3 replacement pipeline in Wisconsin. The route in Minnesota, especially after an administrative law judge's ruling,

Enbridge, Leech Lake Band file objections to ruling on pipeline proposal

They both said an administrative law judge's rejection of Enbridge's preferred route fails to consider key concerns.
Robert McWhite Sr., decorated WWII pilot, dies at 96

Robert McWhite Sr., decorated WWII pilot, dies at 96

Robert McWhite Sr. flew 13 bombing missions over Germany during World War II, piloting a strafed and smoking B-17 to safety in England in April…
The Andeavor refinery in St. Paul Park

Superior refinery fire is reminder of toxic leak risk in Twin Cities

Major accidents involving hydrogen fluoride are rare. But the explosion and fire at the oil refinery in Superior, Wis., was a reminder of the potential danger at another refinery in St. Paul Park.
The Andeavor refinery in St. Paul Park is being sold to Marathon Petroleum (GLEN STUBBE/Star Tribune file photo)

Marathon Petroleum buying St. Paul Park oil refinery

Move is part of $23B deal that would create largest independent U.S. refiner.
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