Staff Directory 89522247

Mike Hughlett

Reporter | Food industry
phone: 612-673-7003
Mike Hughlett covers the food industry for the Star Tribune,.including General Mills and Supervalu. Previously, he was a food reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Recent content from Mike Hughlett
The different Enbridge pipelines from Canada and North Dakota converge at a terminal in Superior, Wis. Ones traversing northern Minnesota might need t

Red Lake Tribal Council votes to oust Enbridge from its land

Rerouting pipelines would cost Enbridge and estimated $10 million.
Enbridge's Line 3 project reached another milestone with approval of its environmental review in Minnesota. Pictured here is construction of the Wisco

State regulators approve environmental review for Enbridge oil pipeline

The PUC vote is a significant milestone for the project, which would replace the oil company's current Line 3.
Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant in Welch, Minn.

Xcel seeking new way to charge for nuclear energy costs

Utility seeks legislation easing process to recoup costs from customers.
Most of the oil produced in North Dakota is through fracking.

North Dakota oil production down less than expected January

The nation's second-largest oil-producing state gets a solid boost from fracked wells.
Xcel installed a real wind turbine blade outside its headquarters on Nicollet Mall.

Xcel Energy says savings from a $140M cut in taxes could go to customers

"We intend to ensure our customers receive the full value of the tax reform benefits," Xcel said in the PUC filing.
Enbridge's Line 3 project under construction in Wisconsin.

Enbridge negotiations with Red Lake Band show shift on tribal land issues

Tribes seek more money for pipeline rights of way — and some are opposing the deals altogether.
Bent Tree wind farm near Albert Lea is under scrutiny from state regulators for possible noise violations. (ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Star Tribune file photo)

State regulators put Bent Tree wind farm near Albert Lea on notice

Wisconsin utility's turbines have failed two noise-monitoring reports.
The cost of wind energy in Minnesota, even without tax subsidies, now appears lower than that of electricity produced from both natural gas and coal.

As price drops, renewable energy surges to second place in Minnesota

Report says it now is cheaper than coal and natural gas.
The PUC took up concerns of Minnesota tribes Thursday in considering Enbridge's Line 3 project. Shown is construction of the part of the pipeline in W

Minnesota regulators turn down tribal request that could delay Enbridge pipeline project

Tribes asked the PUC to hold off a decision on the new Line 3 project until a tribal cultural study is completed.

Frontier Communications under investigation after quality and billing complaints

Quality, billing complaints at the heart of the matter.

Company answering to wind farm noise complaints in Faribault County

Utility intervenes after neighbors object to noise.
Roger French

Roger French, assistant football coach with Gophers, BYU and more, dies at 87

A longtime Maple Grove resident, French had a career that spanned six decades, capped by his key role on Brigham Young University's only national championship team.
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2014, file photo, oil pump jacks work in unison in Williston, N.D.

N.D. oil supply down a bit but forecast is strong

December marked first month-to-month decline since July, state said.
Xcel's profit fell in the fourth quarter but was strong in Minnesota after a rate hike.

Xcel's profit fell 7 percent in fourth quarter, slightly missing expectations

An otherwise "Super Bowl year" saw fourth-quarter profit down 7 percent from 2016.

State taking another look at utility rates because of federal tax cut

The old, higher rates were factored in when deciding how much companies could charge.

Charges dropped against Dakota Plains defendant

Shermeta set to cooperate with prosecutors in Dakota Plains case.
Puris president Tyler Lorenzen with food made from some of his company's pea products.

Minn. company betting on pea protein as next thing in trendy eating

Local maker of pea-based protein powder draws backing from Cargill.
Bahram Akradi, CEO of Life Time athletic clubs, is now chairman of Northern Oil and Gas' board.

Life Time's Bahram Akradi named chairman of Northern Oil and Gas board

The company also announced a financial restructuring and a new interim president.

State regulators approve $13 million rate hike for Minnesota Power

Residential customers will see a 3.5 percent rate increase.
Photovoltaic power plant

Tariff on foreign-made solar products could cost Minnesota jobs

Solar-industry firms in Minnesota see Trump's decision costing jobs.
Xcel's Sherco plant in Becker, Minn. (AARON LAVINSKY/Star Tribune file photo)

OSHA cites Xcel for electrical explosion at Sherco

Minnesota OSHA fined the utility $21,000; Xcel said it will appeal.
Solar panels installed at the city of Mountain Iron by Silicon Energy, the solar plant's previous owner. New operator Heliene Inc. expects employment

Loan approved for operator of Iron Range solar plant

Mountain Iron facility will use funds for expansion.
Xcel has proposed wind and solar projects for Colorado.

Xcel Energy has hopes for wind and solar projects with battery storage

The Colorado projects signal a wider use.
North Dakota, the nation’s second-largest oil-producing state, pumped out 1.19 million barrels per day in November, the highest monthly output since

North Dakota expects to hit oil production record in 2018

Oil prices are near a three-year high, and the state's November production levels were the highest since July 2015.
Threats from hackers are intensifying and, with them, the specter of blackouts. Xcel Energy now employs more than 100 highly trained security analysts

Can hackers turn out the lights? Xcel is guarding against it

Xcel Energy and other utility companies are beefing up their security operations to guard against cyberattacks.

Former Allina VP suspected of embezzling at least $269,000

David Matthew Johnson has been charged with seven counts of theft in connection with submitting false mileage and personal reimbursement reports.

Excavation equipment strikes Eagan pipeline, sends 21,000 gallons of gasoline into lot

Nearby businesses were evacuated, but no one was injured.
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 b

PUC moves Enbridge Line 3 decision to June

The June target is about three months earlier than recommended by an administrative law judge.
Workers at Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant in Welch, Minn., passed through a containment airlock while Unit 2 recently underwent a planned shutdown

Minnesota looks to rely on nuclear power to meet electricity needs for a while

For Xcel Energy, nuclear energy is critical to meeting its carbon reduction goals, particularly as it slowly jettisons its greenhouse-gas belching coal generators.
In an Aug. 21, 2017 photo, workers make sure that each section of the replacement Line 3 that is joined passes muster.

Tribes ask PUC to reconsider review of new Enbridge pipeline route, saying cultural study wasn't done

Minnesota's Ojibwe leaders say the state botched its pipeline environmental study.
An oil palm fruit the size of a plum at a Cargill plantation in Papua New Guinea. Cargill, one of the world's largest traders of palm oil, has suspend

Cargill takes rare step of cutting business with palm oil supplier

Guatemalan firm has been accused of environmental and human rights abuses.
Denver-based SunShare switched on projects in Montrose and Waverly, Minn., pictured, in the past two weeks. Both serve residential customers.

Minnesota's solar garden program takes off in 2017

The number of plants has grown from 10 to 58, producing enough electricity to power 32,000 homes.
In an Aug. 21, 2017 photo, workers make sure that each section of the replacement Line 3 that is joined passes muster. Enbridge already had started bu

Reality on the ground essentially rules out alternatives to Enbridge's proposed Line 3 replacement route

Enbridge's Line 3 replacement proposal looks like an exercise in futility.
Work on Enbridge's Line 3 replacement project was being done in Wisconsin in August. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has deemed “inadequat

PUC rejects state's environmental review for Enbridge's Line 3 project

Regulators ask state for more environmental impact details on Enbridge's Line 3 project.

PUC backs Xcel's plan that would result in closing Iron Range, Benson plants

Communities protest job losses at wood-burning and manure plants.
Gerda Martel

Gerda Martel, who witnessed rise of Nazis, dies at 101

Gerda Martel escaped from Nazi Germany as it intensified its persecution of the Jewish people, settling in the United States and later living for two…
A staging area for pipes owned by Enbridge is behind a fence in Cloquet. The company has started building a stretch of Line 3 to Superior, Wis.

Pipeline opponents claim Enbridge skirted permit rules for storage yard

Enbridge in a statement said the "permits were issued in compliance with applicable regulations at the time."
Windmills dot the landscape as a farmer harvested corn near Alden, Minn. Scenes like this have caused residents south of the area such as Dorenne Hans

Wind project in southern Minnesota gets pushback

Wind farms often generate local antipathy as they grow both in number and economic importance to the energy industry, but the Freeborn project has sparked a higher level of opposition.

PUC rules that co-ops must change way they calculate solar fees

Solar advocates had pushed for the change, saying fees were too high and discouraged residents from installing solar.
A state administrative judge has OK'd the environmental assessment of Enbridge's Line 3 replacement project. Pictured is work being done in Wisconsin,

Judge OKs environmental assessment of proposed Enbridge pipeline

The environmental impact statement, done by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, was deemed "adequate" in a ruling released Wednesday.
Enbridge, which has started building the 14-mile stretch of Line 3 from the Minnesota line to Superior, Wis., said the project would employ more than

Line 3 replacement pipeline would be one of state's largest construction projects in recent history

Pipeline work is the kind of long-term job that doesn't come around often – but the opposition is fierce.
Enbridge has several pipelines that cross Minnesota then converge at a terminal in Superior, Wis. (RICHARD TSONG-TAATARII/Star Tribune)

Enbridge ordered to publicly disclose the probability of spills along proposed new pipeline

The modeling data was shared with people on all sides of the debate but not in the public document.
Xcel's third-quarter profit rose 7 percent, helped by rate increases and lower expenses.

Rate increases, lower expenses lift profits at Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy’s third-quarter profit rose 7 percent as the company beat stock analysts’ expectations. The Minneapolis-based utility on Thursday posted earnings of $492 million, or…
Wind technician Will Osborn perched outside a wind turbine’s nacelle, a small room housing the gear box. He and Chris Berg, lower right, were 24 sto

Sky's the limit for clean-energy jobs in Minnesota, across U.S.

Renewable energy jobs, most of which are in wind and solar, grew by 16 percent to around 6,200 in Minnesota from 2015 to 2016, according to a recent study by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota.
Enbridge has started building a 14-mile stretch of Line 3 from the Minnesota line to its terminal in Superior, Wis.

Minn. Chippewa plan own environmental survey of Enbridge's Line 3 proposal

A state report found the pipeline renovation would negatively affect American Indians, but the bands plan their own look.
Enbridge already has been building the portion of the Line 3 replacement in Wisconsin. In August, sections of the replacement line were being welded t

Enbridge hits back against state report against pipeline project

Oil company calls its $2B line across N. Minn. crucial.
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2014, file photo, oil pump jacks work in unison in Williston, N.D. In the heart of North Dakota’s oil patch, there are hundr

North Dakota oil production continues to rise

Rising oil prices have spurred new well drilling.
LSP Transmission Holdings is suing Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman as well as the five members of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commissi

Minnesota agencies sued over power law favoring home-state companies

LSP, based in New York, says is anti-competitive and violates federal commerce law.
Xcel announced plans for another wind farm in South Dakota. This plant is in Courtenay, N.D.

Xcel will reach milestone with new South Dakota wind farm

It is on track to be the first U.S. utility to surpass 10K megawatts of wind-energy generation.
Harvey Goodsky Jr. and his wife, Morningstar, harvested wild rice on a perfectly calm day on Rice Lake in Aitkin County.

For Minnesota Ojibwe, pipeline project puts too much at risk

The Ojibwe say wild rice waters would be increasingly at risk if a pipeline planned by Calgary-based Enbridge comes to fruition.
Pipeline opponents rallied Thursday on the steps of the State Capitol to oppose the proposed Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline expansion.

Enbridge pipeline hearings attract hundreds in St. Paul

The comments ran from climate damage to the economic boost the $2 billion-plus project would cause.
Michael Reger, former CEO of Northern Oil and Gas Inc.

Ousted Northern Oil & Gas CEO Michael Reger will get $3.75 million package in settlement

Reger had filed a wrongful termination suit against the company.
At the groundbreaking for the Vikings' complex in 2016, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's shovel was parachuted in.

Xcel Energy gets PUC nod for gas contract at new Vikings HQ

Minnesota Energy Resources had claimed new sports facility is in its "natural" service area.
A pipe fitter lays the finish finishing touches to the replacement of Line 3 stretch before it is covered up.]Enbridge already has started building th

State says Enbridge pipeline across northern Minn. not needed

Enbridge disagrees with Minnesota report saying Line 3 is no longer needed.
The new Line 3 pipe is considerably thicker than the old one that it is replacing.

Enbridge has improved its Minnesota safety record in recent years

Since 2002, Enbridge's pipelines in Minnesota have sprung 60 leaks, although spills in recent years have involved considerably less oil, a review shows.

CenterPoint Energy granted 5.4 percent interim rate increase

The utility had asked state regulators for $51.2 million, or 5.8 percent.

Minnesota jobs related to clean energy have grown more than 5 percent

The growth rate was higher than the state's overall jobs numbers.
Tove Dierssen of White Bear Lake

Tove Dierssen, who fostered Danish culture in Twin Cities, dies at 81

She came to the United States from Copenhagen in 1959, but she never left Denmark behind.

Xcel wants to close two coal-fired plants in Colorado

The Minneapolis-based utility would invest $2.5 billion there to add renewable and natural gas energy sources.
A crew installs a section of a crude oil pipeline for Enbridge Energy. The environmental impact statement is out for another of the Calgary-based pipe

Enbridge Line 3 options all would hurt American Indians, report says

The final environmental impact statement for Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project says it is not possible to determine whether the Canadian company's proposed…
North Dakota oil production dropped a tad in June as oil prices fell, but it remained above the 1 million barrel-per-day level.

North Dakota oil production remains above 1 million barrels per day

With Dakota Access fully online, more oil is traveling by pipeline.

Wisconsin dairy farm wins $4.5 million judgment against Xcel over stray voltage

The Trempealeau County farmers said their cows were producing less milk because of issues caused by the stray voltage.
The state is being given more time to respond to public comments on the project, which would run through wild rice lakes.

Dayton delays release of environmental review of Enbridge pipeline

The state wants another week to respond to the many public comments on the 'Line 3' project.
Cargill is the International Bank of Azerbaijan’s largest creditor, owed $715 million.

Cargill owed $715M by bankrupt Azerbaijani bank

Minnetonka ag giant's loans to Azerbaijan are latest headache for its finance arm.
Silicon Energy solar panels in Mountain Iron. The Iron Range town had a Silicon Energy plant there, which Canadian firm Heliene took over after it fol

Minn. lawmakers go to bat for Canadians making solar panels on Iron Range

A simmering trade battle could endanger a solar-panel plant in Mountain Iron, Minn., in a region eager for jobs other than the boom-or-bust work in the taconite mines.
Utility bills are shown in this Jan. 11, 2012 file photo. CenterPoint Energy is seeking at 6.4 percent rate hike in Minnesota.

CenterPoint seeks 6.4 percent rate hike for natural gas in Minnesota

If the full number is approved, the average bill would increase by about $4.50 per month.

'Social cost' of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants increased

Since the 1990s, Minnesota has been one of just a handful of states to try to quantify the economic impact of the greenhouse gases behind climate change.
Xcel Energy officials and others examine a 38-foot-deep pool which holds spent fuel rods taken out of the reactor at its Monticello Nuclear Generating

Xcel Energy profit easily tops estimates as rate hikes help margins

The utility benefited from rate increases that took hold in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas and New Mexico.
Hormel is packaging meat, cheese and nuts together in snack packs.

Hormel launches snack packs with meat, cheeses and nuts

The Natural Choice snacks join a growing number of protein-based snack items.
Bahram Akradi, CEO of Life Time athletic clubs, is now on the board of Northern Oil and Gas. (GLEN STUBBE/Star Tribune file photo)

Life Time's Bahram Akradi is now on Northern Oil and Gas board

Akradi, the company's second largest investor, originally was rejected for a seat in June.

Employees hurt at Xcel plant in Becker

Xcel investigating cause of accident.
The social cost of carbon kicks in on power generation projects like the one Xcel Energy has planned for Becker, Minn. Sherco's coal plants will be ph

Regulators deciding whether to raise 'social cost of carbon' in Minnesota

PUC will hold hearings and vote next week on policy that could affect what type of power plants are built and where.

Green Line is back in service after light-rail train, car crash in St. Paul, injuring 3

The two people in the car and one train passenger were taken to the hospital; buses were replacing trains on part of the Green Line.

Two people arrested after body is found in garage of St. Paul home

A body found Friday in the garage at the 600 block of Lawson Avenue E. may have been there for weeks, said police, calling the case "extremely disturbing."
Panels for the Aurora solar project were installed near North Branch, Minn., last year. The project is beset with legal problems.

Lawsuits, unpaid bills cast shadow over large Minn. solar project

Scores of subcontractors have filed a blizzard of claims, saying they were not paid for their work on the $290 million project that was completed last month. One attorney estimated that at least $85 million is owed.
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