Staff Directory 6370514

Jennifer Bjorhus

Reporter | Environment
Phone: 612-673-4683

Jennifer Bjorhus  is a reporter covering the environment for the Star Tribune. 

Bjorhus previously covered a range of topics for major metro newspapers, including the Seattle Times and San Jose Mercury News. She lives in St. Paul with her husband, Ranjit, and has two sons and a cat.
Recent content from Jennifer Bjorhus
Mendota Heights nixes homeowner's bluff-top landscaping without permit

Mendota Heights nixes homeowner's bluff-top landscaping without permit

The property lies in the protected Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area.
This shot shows Birch Lake near the site of the planned Twin Metals copper mine. A federal study released Thursday found hardrock mining in the Superi

Long-awaited federal study finds threat to Boundary Waters from hardrock mining

The study was hailed by environmentalists seeking a ban on mining in the Superior National Forest.
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan, left, spoke during a briefing at the White House in Washington on May 16.

EPA tightens the health standard for 'forever chemicals' in drinking water

Even as they widen testing for PFAS in water supplies, Minnesota officials criticized the change as impossible to measure.
Gov. Tim Walz announced the final adoption of Minnesota’s new clean cars rule in July 21 at a manufaturer of electric vehicle battery heating techno

Minnesota car dealers file new legal action in fight against 'clean car' rules

The rules will require auto makers to send Minnesota more electric vehicles.
The native vegetation in Brazil’s species-rich Cerrado, a vast wooded savanna, is being destroyed as large-scale agriculture expands. It has become

Human rights, conservation groups oppose Cargill's bid to open new port in Brazil

Locals dispute land deal as forests and native vegetation continued to be razed for soy and cattle.
3M’s Cottage Grove manufacturing facility.

3M will pay $2.8 million fine for hazardous waste violations in Cottage Grove

The penalty stemmed from the handling of toxic waste at the company's incinerator.
A cover crop of oats, peas and daikon radishes grew in a field last year after the vegetables were harvested at a farm in Shafer, Minn.

Farmers in Minnesota get more cover crop funding to keep soil from washing away

"There just aren't the federal resources to meet the need," said Todd Hogrefe with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Thomas Howes, natural resources program manager for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, discussed the band’s reintroduction of sturgeon

Fond du Lac Band says it will be downstream victim of PolyMet mine pollution

Tribe finds ally in EPA, but the mining company disputes the threat.
PolyMet Mine in Hoyt Lakes, Minn., has been mired in a permitting battle for years.

What you need to know about the PolyMet and Twin Metals mines

Here are answers to common questions about the two planned mining projects in northeastern Minnesota and the controversies surrounding them.
Man charged with murder after fatally stabbing father making 911 call

Man charged with murder after fatally stabbing father making 911 call

A 24-year-old Blue Earth County man has been charged with two counts of second degree murder after fatally stabbing his father following a dispute over…
The Siemering family sold 116 acres of undeveloped forest on Wabedo Lake, a cold-water lake in Cass County, to the nonprofit Northern Waters Land Trus

Minnesota falling short on new national land and water conservation goal

Minnesota continues to buy land for safeguards from development, but isn't speaking out on the "30x30" conservation movement, a voluntary goal to conserve at least 30% of the country's land and water by 2030.
Conservation Corps volunteer Sarah Curran planted trees near the Mississippi River in 2019 to counter more frequent, severe flooding due to climate ch

Minnesota's climate action plan calls for sweeping changes in energy, farming, transport

The state is taking public comments through April 29.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found that an aquifer breach during Line 3 construction threatens this calcareous fen near Clearbrook, M

In court and in skies, tribe carries on challenge to Line 3 pipeline

The White Earth Band of Ojibwe says it has detected a half-dozen other sites where aquifers may be damaged.
Joyce Abel, right, and her sister Cora.

Joyce Veda Abel, health advocate, dies at 79

Abel taught nursing at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
While working near Clearbrook, Minn., Enbridge dug too deeply into the ground and pierced an artesian aquifer. This image is from the site on Sept. 28

DNR: Enbridge crews punctured 3 aquifers during pipeline work

The punctures led to nearly 300 million gallons of groundwater flowing out to the surface, with the most serious breach occurring near the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation in St. Louis County.
Deep Lake, shown here, is a part of the now-defunct Val Chatel ski area north of Park Rapids in Hubbard County. That land is set to become a new count

Anonymous donor buys northern Minnesota ski resort for parkland

A county park and campground are scheduled to open near Park Rapids in 2024.
Xcel Energy’s Sherco coal-fired power plant is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in Minnesota.

These are Minnesota's top greenhouse gas polluters

About 100 facilities in Minnesota generate about 25% of the state's total greenhouse gases.
Nearly all of Minnesota’s 18 ethanol plants are on the list of Minnesota’s Dirty 100 facilities emitting the most greenhouse gases. Shown here is

Ethanol's clean air benefits clouded by greenhouse gas emissions

Corn ethanol's per-gallon carbon output shrinks, but greenhouse gas from plants remains high.
About 20 trees, many containing great blue heron nests, were cut recently in a rookery in Rochester Township that conservationists are fighting to sav

Trees felled in heron rookery near Rochester

Trees were cut amid litigation by conservationists to stop a housing development planned for the site.
Visitors waded into White Bear Lake, where the lake has receded from the shore at White Bear Lake County Park.

Drastic water-use changes proposed to steady White Bear Lake levels

State regulators say court order would require them to limit people to 55 gallons of water per day, and cut off other water users such as schools and businesses altogether.
The Twin Metals copper-nickel mine would have sat along Birch Lake, which drains into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Minnesota DNR stops work on copper mine project near Boundary Waters

Company says it's mulling legal options.
Shown here is a 200-acre plot of peaty cropland in Stearns County as the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources began restoring it to native wetl

A climate conundrum beneath our feet: Minnesota's farmed peat soil releases greenhouse gases

The state is unsure how to address emissions from the soil.
The old extractive economy and the new tourism economy at odds for over 50 years meet on E. Sheridan Street in Ely, Minn.

Mining, love of BWCA struggle to coexist in North Woods gateway

After Twin Metals mining lease cancellation, Ely residents weigh the future.
The copper-nickel mine Twin Metals wants to build would sit about 15 miles southeast of Ely, Minn., near the South Kawishiwi River, shown flowing into

Biden administration cancels leases for controversial copper-nickel mine near Boundary Waters

The move likely kills the copper-nickel project, but Twin Metals said the decision was politically motivated and vowed to fight it.
A new federal lawsuit contends that PolyMet Mining’s proposed open-pit copper and nickel mine in northern Minnesota threatens essential habitat for

New federal lawsuit says PolyMet process violated Endangered Species Act

Plaintiffs say the proposed copper-nickel mine would threaten animal habitat.
This tailings dam near Hoyt Lakes, Minn., would be repurposed by PolyMet Mining Corp. to hold wastewater from the $1 billion copper-nickel mine it wan

Appeals court strikes down another permit for state's first planned copper mine

The court sends PolyMet's water discharge permit back to state regulators for more work.
The Cora McCorvey Health and Wellness Center

Shooting following funeral in Minneapolis leaves two in critical condition

About 100 people were at the post-funeral gathering
Scott Quiner, 55, of Buffalo, died Saturday in Texas after a months-long battle with COVID-19.

Minnesota COVID patient at center of lawsuit over his ventilator dies in Texas hospital

Buffalo man's family sued Mercy Hospital to keep him on a ventilator
Enbridge says it has fixed the aquifer it ruptured near Clearbrook, Minn., during construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline. This photo from September 2

Enbridge says it has fixed aquifer ruptured while building Line 3 oil pipeline in Minnesota

State regulators continue investigating two additional aquifer breaches along Line 3.
Starry stonewort, pictured here, is Minnesota’s newest aquatic invasive species. The destructive algae has spread now to 17 lakes and the Mississipp

More gear coming to help boaters contain invasive starry stonewort algae on Minnesota lakes

Crews are installing 28 new boat cleaning stations on Minnesota lakes infested with starry stonewort.
Anushka Kollengode

Minnesota teen wins Ann Bancroft grant for app to reduce litter

16-year-old Anushka Kollengode of Rochester plans to use award to market her mobile app.
The last stop before entering Fall Lake (top) and the BWCA, the Kiwishiwi River flows over the Kiwishiwi Falls (bottom) near Winton, Minn.

Meetings set to gather public input on proposal to halt new mineral leases near Boundary Waters

There will be three Zoom meetings in January
PolyMet’s proposed copper-nickel mine between Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt would have two main parts: an open-pit mine in wetlands south of Babbitt and a

PolyMet did not deceive state on mine's planned size, Minnesota regulators decide

MPCA approves air permit for what would be state's first hard-rock mine, but the project faces other obstacles.
Electrician Adam Wortman of St. Paul-based Ray of Light Electric installs a 240-volt, Level 2 charger in the Alex Shaver’s and Megan Mekoli’s sout

Electric vehicle revolution brings changes to Minn. garages

With more vehicles on the way, the focus on at-home charging intensifies.
Among other changes, the University of Minnesota transformed the former Old Main Heating Plant, seen in 2016, into a much more efficient facility that

U campus cuts climate-changing emissions by half since 2008

The number puts the Twin Cities campus at No. 2 in the Big Ten 10 for carbon cuts. Its 51% drop in greenhouse gases was largely attributed to increased energy efficiency and greener power.
Dairy cows wait outside of the milking parlor at Daley Farms of Lewiston in February 2020.

Winona County rejects dairy farm expansion

Tie vote means the request to add thousands of animals failed.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports arsenic has been detected in about 40 percent of new wells in Minnesota since 2008.

High levels of arsenic found in well water in northeast Minn. township

Residents are scrambling for a treatment solution after a test found arsenic levels at 10 times the acceptable limit.
A closeup showed standing water in the wetlands being held back from the Mississippi River in Clearwater County, where the Line 3 oil pipeline tunnele

Line 3 opponents plan flyover with thermal imaging of pipeline

Opponents say thermal imaging will show potential damage.
Jamez Staples, pictured in this file photo from 2019, is among the Minnesotans attending the U.N. climate summitt in Glasgow, Scotland.  GLEN STUBBE �

Minnesotans join push for change at U.N. climate summit

Panels broadcast from Glasgow highlight Minnesota climate efforts.
Environment, center stage: How Hastings students got an outdoor learning lab

Environment, center stage: How Hastings students got an outdoor learning lab

The Hastings School District acquired 56 acres of restored grasslands on the Vermillion River in an usual land deal — one with a cast of…
Dakota County farmer Greg Stoffel watched for wildlife on his restored grasslands on his Hastings farm.

Conversion of grasslands to crops threatens state's wildlife, water, climate

Minnesota lost nearly 2 million acres of grassland to crops from 2012 to 2019, according to the World Wildlife Fund's Northern Great Plains program. That's more than the state of Delaware.
This is the site, on the shore of Birch Lake, the Twin Metals Coper Nickel Mine Tailings Management site is part of the proposed plan. ] In theory, th

Feds hit brakes again on copper mining near Boundary Waters

The future of the Twin Metals copper-mine project is in question.
This file photo from October 2020 shows Limbo Creek as if flows south under County Rd 10, southwest of Sacred Heart.

Court decision affirming Limbo Creek is not a ditch could affect waterways across Minnesota

The case out of Renville County could lead to more environmental review.
Enbridge has until Oct. 15 to repair an aquifer at its Clearwater Terminal that was pierced during Line 3 construction, wasting at least 24 million ga

Oil flows through Line 3, but cleanup work remains

Enbridge has launched a major cleanup effort in Clearwater County to repair an aquifer crews punctured during construction in January. Artesian groundwater has been welling up for more than eight months, wasting at least 24 million gallons and threatening to dry out two rare and protected wetland areas nearby.
Forest Carbon Works of Minneapolis offers landowners the opportunity to earn money through forest carbon offset systems in California and Quebec.

In conservation fight, forests are a weapon — and a potential paycheck

Minnesota company helps landowners get cash for carbon credits.
Ken Nodo has fished Little Rock Creek since he was a boy. To him, the fish in the creek are “the canary in the coal mine.”

A trout stream struggles in Minnesota farm country

Irrigation pumps up crops but threatens state's rivers and streams.
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board Chair Margaret Anderson Kelliher.     ] GLEN STUBBE •

Minnesota expands environmental reviews to include greenhouse gas inventories

Changes phased in; local governments can use existing worksheet until 2023.
Star Tribue file 3M caption

3M under fire in Belgium over company's handling of contamination

Zwijndrecht residents cautioned to limit consumption of eggs and garden vegetables grown near 3M's plant.
The Greenwood fire has burned more than 34 square miles of northern Minnesota forest, but weather could help the fight.

Fire raises questions about distant landowner, management

In the wake of the Greenwood fire, local landowners question forest management practices to keep the woodland from becoming a tinderbox.
3M headquarters in Maplewood, Minn. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) ORG XMIT: 1580353 ORG XMIT: MIN2002202020270351

State finalizes payouts from $850M 'forever chemicals' settlement with 3M

Communities divvy up millions.
An aerial view of Line 3 pipeline construction near Park Rapids, Minn., in early June. ] Tim Gruber/The New York Times

MPCA reports more drilling mud spills along Line 3 route

Severe drought has Enbridge buying water from two northern Minnesota cities.
A group of friends swimming in the Minnesota River in Bloomington in 2020.

Is it safe to swim in Twin Cities rivers, or are they all too polluted?

Swimmers should take precautions when taking a dip in rivers and creeks that are considered impaired for recreation.
Minnesota is heading deeper into drought. Lawns are brown and water levels in rivers, lakes and creeks are dropping. Here, the creek between Lake Harr

Minnesota in 'warning' phase despite the worsening drought

Mississippi River drops below critical threshold for drought measures.
Workers laid down pipeline in February as part of Enbridge’s Line 3 project on the Fond Du Lac Native American Reservation in Cloquet.   ] ALEX KORM

New front in Line 3 legal fight: Wild rice is plaintiff in lawsuit against DNR

White Earth Band of Ojibwe exerts sovereignty, advances novel "rights of nature" theory.
An Enbridge Energy pipeline drilling pad is shown in this June 2018 file photo along a rail line that traces the Minnesota-Wisconsin border near Cloqu

Scorching drought exacerbates Line 3 water concerns in northern Minnesota

MPCA is investigating nine drilling mud releases along the pipeline construction route.
Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, reassured his rural constituents that they will be OK even with these new rules on Monday during a tour of Phill

State adopts 'clean car' rules requiring more electric vehicles

It was a costly fight. The state's auto dealers threw themselves into a campaign against the regulation, and Senate Republicans dug in their heels and threatened to withhold state environmental funding until the 11th hour in their unsuccessful effort to force the state to ditch the rules.
Monday’s decision is one in a series of setbacks for the bitterly disputed PolyMet project in Hoyt Lakes, which if built, would become Minnesota’s

Court sends PolyMet air permit back to state for review

The Appeals Court ordered the air pollution permit that PolyMet received from MPCA back to the regulator to further consider whether the company deceptively sought a less stringent permit for a mine operation smaller than the one it actually planned.
Mississippi River water levels are low, causing boaters to hit objects and damage their propellors and engines.

Drought deepens in Minnesota, watering bans more likely

With about half of Minnesota now in the grip of severe drought — and 4% in extreme drought — the state has officially shifted into the "drought warning phase," the DNR announced Friday.
Firefighters are working to contain the Delta Lakes Fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Photo credit    Eastern Area IMT/Delta Lake Fir

Drought fuels unusually high wildfire activity in Minnesota

Downed trees hamper firefighting efforts in Boundary Waters.
Annie Knight, conservation specialist and grants manager at Northern Waters Land Trust, walked through the parcel of land near Wabedo Lake that the tr

Minnesota landowners hold keys to protect forests, cold water lakes

Family turned to trust to protect cold-water lake property.
Grazing sheep help manage the pollinator-friendly vegetation at an Enel solar farm in Shafer.

Pollinator-friendly landscape takes root beneath solar panels

Grazing sheep help manage the vegetation at the solar sites.
McDonald’s is banning all PFAS from its packaging materials globally by 2025. (Louisa Chu/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

No PFAS in food packaging in Minnesota by 2024

The food packaging industry is seeking alternatives.
The compromise environment budget bill would ensure that state parks, like Jay Cooke State Park in Duluth, stay open.

Minnesota measure bans 'forever chemicals' in food packaging

The enormous reach of the proposed environment deal stretches from the Northwoods to farm fields to microplastic bits in the water — and it adds a 60th state forest.
Senate Republicans have dropped demands that the Walz administration stop the new clean cars emissions standards. RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER •  STAR TRIB

'Clean cars' rule, environmental funding move ahead at Capitol

After a prolonged standoff that threatened to shut down Minnesota's parks before a holiday weekend, Senate Republicans have dropped demands that the Walz administration stop the new clean cars emissions standards.
An innovative effort to lure the rare red-headed woodpecker to nest in the Crow-Hassan Park Reserve is underway.

Minnesota park tries calling the rare red-headed woodpecker to new habitat

The woodpecker was once common throughout Minnesota, but its numbers have plunged.
Bayer’s coated seeds. ] RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER

Land O'Lakes agrees to help clean up contaminated site in Nebraska

A Land O'Lakes unit had shipped discarded seed that was coated with pesticides and fungicides to a Nebraska ethanol plant.
Patricia E. Good

Patricia Good, violinist and Minneapolis school psychologist, dies at 87

Good co-authored a guide to the widely used assessment tool, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
In this 2015 file photo, a lone pine tree survived the plowing of this field south of Park Rapids, Minn. The mixed pine forests of central Minnesota a

Minnesota appeals court: OK to skip full environmental review of Pineland Sands irrigation project

Intensified potato farming and row cropping threatens drinking water and the Mississippi River, opponents say.
A driver plugged in the charger to his Tesla at the ChargePoint charging station near Canal Park Lodge in Duluth in 2019. ALEX KORMANN • alex.korman

Impasse over 'clean cars' rule continues to hold up Minnesota environmental funding

Millions of dollars for environmental efforts around the state remains in limbo.
A great blue heron sat among the colony of nests hidden in the forest in April.

Rochester Township orders study of construction impact on unique heron rookery

A retired DNR official calls the hidden rookery "a natural history treasure."
3M Cottage Grove manufacturing facility (Provided by 3M)

3M pays $80,000 over handling of hazardous waste in Cottage Grove

Leaking of 'extremely toxic' hydrofluoric acid cited among problems.
In this file photo, David Oliver, manager of special projects, held a sample that had metal speckles from the boxes of core samples at Twin Metals in

Minnesota DNR must revisit hard rock mining rules, judge says

Copper mine opponents win first-ever lawsuit under Section 10 of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.
In this file photo, a Tesla owner charges his car at the ChargePoint charging station near Canal Park Lodge in Duluth in November 2019. ALEX KORMANN �

Senate Republicans threaten to cut state parks funding over 'clean cars' rule

Senate Republicans say the emissions rules should have come before the Legislature.
Pipe fitter Brian DeGidio, who works for Wenzel Heating and Air Conditioning in Eagan, hooked up refrigerant lines to air source heat pumps on the roo

In Minnesota, fighting climate change means changing how to heat buildings

Heat pumps help large commercial, residential sites cut costs, emissions.
Federal regulators have identified 30 wild rice waters across Minnesota for the official list of polluted waters that require fixing. Richard Tsong-Ta

Federal regulator steps in to protect Minnesota's wild rice stands

The MPCA says it is caught between state and federal law.