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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
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.
After buiding much of Line 3 in Wisconsin, Enbridge is making its way through the regulatory process in Minnesota.

Minnesota judge finds need, faults in Line 3 pipeline

Administrative Law Judge Ann O'Reilly leaves a lot on the table for the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to consider.
Enbridge Inc. President and CEO Al Monaco, right, shown in 2017.

Enbridge CEO says company will continue pursuing its preferred route for new pipeline

CEO Al Monaco said administrative law judge's ruling suggesting alternative site ignored much input from citizens, including Indian tribes.

Xcel profits rise on cold weather

Boosted by favorable weather, Xcel Energy’s profits rose 21 percent during its first quarter, handily beating stock analysts’ estimates. The Minneapolis-based power company Thursday posted…
“It’s kind of an ironic twist that you have an administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency pushing back a product that helps the environm

Minn. farmers, ethanol producers see EPA waivers as attack

Farmers and ethanol producers in Minnesota say the waiver controversy is the latest battle in a long-running war for sales and market share.
Workers instaled Enbridge's Line 3 replacement pipeline in Wisconsin.

Leech Lake Band criticizes judge's recommendations on Enbridge's proposed pipeline

Judge recommends that Enbridge's new Line 3 should follow the current line's route.
Workers already have laid the part of a new pipeline in Wisconsin.

Judge: Enbridge Line 3 pipeline should follow existing route

In a report that could carry significant weight with state regulators, an administrative law judge said Enbridge has demonstrated a need for its proposed new oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.
Xcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear power plant at Red Wing.

House panel passes nuclear costs bill backed by Xcel

The bill would allow Xcel to get upfront approval for major upgrades to nuclear plants.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, shown last year in Washingon.

Corn Belt senators ask EPA to stop issuing refineries waivers to biofuel laws

The agency this year has issued more of the waivers to federal rules that require refineries to blend corn ethanol with fuel.
Workers installing Enbridge's Line 3 replacement pipeline in Wisconsin.

Senate committee reverses itself on bill allowing Enbridge to bypass regulators on pipeline project

In a case of "nevermind," a Senate committee Tuesday reversed itself and passed a bill that would allow Enbridge to build its controversial Line 3…

Justice Department argues that Minnesota power line construction law is unconstitutional

Justice Department made remark in brief supporting suit filed by N.Y. provider.

North Dakota oil production down slightly in February, but natural gas sets record

However, natural gas production rose to a record high in February.

Xcel rolling out pilot program for charging of electric vehicles at home

State utility regulators OK Xcel's simpler, less-costly plan for electric vehicles.
Minn. Senate committee rejects bill allowing Enbridge to bypass regulators on pipeline proposal

Minn. Senate committee rejects bill allowing Enbridge to bypass regulators on pipeline proposal

Enbridge said it did not ask for the measure and does not support it.
In the past couple of years, there have been mass protests against new pipelines in several states, the most notable in North Dakota over the Dakota A

Proposed Minn. law targets those who train protesters who damage 'critical infrastructure'

The bill, like those in other states, comes amid a protest movement against oil pipelines, particularly the construction of new ones.

State says Frontier Communications short of Minnesota customer service standards

Utility regulators on Thursday ordered an investigation and public hearings on the issue.
Workers installing Enbridge's Line 3 replacement pipeline in Wisconsin. Regulators are still reviewing whether to allow the construction in Minnesota.

House committee bill would allow Enbridge to build pipeline without regulators' OK

Gov. Mark Dayton said he would veto any legislation that cuts PUC out of process.
Xcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear power plant near Red Wing.

Bill passed in Senate committee would alter process to OK Xcel's nuclear energy costs

Controversial plan would change approval process for plant investments.
Enbridge supervisor Tom Peterson showed where oil from Canada and North Dakota is stored at the company's terminal in Superior, Wis. Enbridge's Minnes

Central to Enbridge's new Minnesota pipeline request is how much oil is needed

There's a shortage of capacity on Enbridge's oil pipelines now, but will that last if electric vehicles take off in the next two decades?

2 fatally stabbed in Salvation Army apt. building in Rochester; 1 arrested

They were taken to St. Marys Hospital and pronounced dead around 8 p.m.

One dead in northeast Minneapolis house fire

It was the city's first fatal blaze of 2018.
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.
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