Staff Directory 6370514

Jennifer Bjorhus

Reporter | Environment
Phone: 612-673-4683

Jennifer Bjorhus is a reporter covering the environment for the Star Tribune. She was a business reporter for much of her career but in recent years focused on criminal justice issues, including police use of force and responses to sexual assault. 

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
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.
A tailings basin would be put back into use at PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minn.

State Supreme Court hits pause on PolyMet permit to mine

The DNR must hold a contested case hearing on the permit to mine. Environmental groups said the ruling was a major victory.
This file photo shows a tailings basin would be put back into use at PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. GLEN STUBBE •

Minnesota Supreme Court hits pause on PolyMet permit to mine

DNR must hold trial-like hearing on copper mine's tailings dam proposal.
This file photo shows a tailings basin would be put back into use at PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. GLEN STUBBE •

Minnesota Supreme Court hits pause on PolyMet permit to mine

Mining company and environmentalists both say the ruling was a victory.
This file photo shows a tailings basin would be put back into use at PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. GLEN STUBBE •

Minnesota Supreme Court hits pause on PolyMet permit to mine

Mining company and environmentalists both say the ruling was a victory.
Tony Jones, his dog Crosby, and Bob Timmons paddled from Mountain Lake toward their portages to Moose Lake in 2019. Aaron Lavinsky • aaron.lavinsky@

Boundary Waters visits soared amid the pandemic

And the current pace of Boundary Waters reservations indicates that this year could surpass 2020, outfitters say.
When work begins at PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minn., the tailings basin pictured in this file photo will be put back into use. GLEN STUBBE • gle

EPA botched oversight of permits for PolyMet mine, internal investigation finds

A whistleblower called the agency's phoned-in permit comments "crazy."
A pair of great blue herons sat among their colony of nests hidden in the forest Thursday, April 15, in Rochester Township.

Great blue heron rookery halts development near Rochester

Bird enthusiasts say Rochester construction endangers heron nests
Minnesotans will soon have access to new public lands along the Cannon River, including a section that’s a designated trout stream, thanks to land a

Conservationists mend fragmented habitat in Cannon River area of Minnesota

Two new public spaces permanently protect habitat.
In this file photo from Nov. 2019, Water Gremlin employees returned after the facility was shut down for more than a week.  ELIZABETH FLORES • liz.f

Water Gremlin pays new $325,000 pollution penalty

The company's main hazardous waste is lead from die-casting and coating operations.
Allison Rian checked acorns soaking in her sink with Grace, 8.

New project aims to grow a supply chain for reforestation in Minnesota

The five-year goal is to grow 1 million trees such as white pine, red oak and yellow birch.
Judge approves MPCA changes to water quality standards

Judge approves MPCA changes to water quality standards

The revisions target nearly a dozen pollutants — chloride, salts, sulfate, nitrate and more — in surface water used for industry and agriculture, and for wildlife.
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

Greenhouse gases from Line 3 pipeline raise questions about meeting Minnesota's goals for cutting emissions

One ruling says project will add 193B tons of carbon; PUC says pipeline isn't the cause.
The view looking north towards downtown Minneapolis from the 35th St. bridge in June 2020. JEFF WHEELER •

Fight against climate change could include goal to reduce driving in Minn.

Lawmakers consider putting a concrete driving reduction goal into statute; MnDOT says it's adopting one too.
Irene Gomez-Bethke

Irene Gomez-Bethke, Chicana activist and former Minnesota Human Rights commissioner, dies at 86

A photo in the 2010 book "Latino Minnesota" shows a smiling dark-haired woman gazing upward at something off camera. Something in the distance, perhaps. A…
This file photo shows a tailings basin that will be put back into use once work begins at PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. GLEN STUBBE • glen.stu

U.S. Army Corps suspends wetlands permit for PolyMet copper mine

Asserting Indigenous water quality standards, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa breaks new ground.
Groundwater at the old Gofer Landfill in Martin County near the Iowa border contains PFAS levels more than 1,000 times the state drinking water safety

Landfills are leaking PFAS 'forever chemicals' in 41 Minnesota counties

The full magnitude of the landfill problem is unknown, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said.
This undated file photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows an adult emerald ash borer.

University of Minnesota works on 'attack fungi' that could fight emerald ash borer

One researcher likened it to a 'horror movie' under the bark.
FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016, file photo, the closed LTV Steel taconite plant is abandoned near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. The Army Corps of Engineers has awar

Minn. Supreme Court sends PolyMet air permit for copper mine back to the Court of Appeals

High court tells Appeals Court to address whether PolyMet was deceptive.
In this file photo, George Host plugged charged his Tesla at the ChargePoint charging station near Canal Park Lodge in Duluth in 2019. ALEX KORMANN �

Federal judge dismisses auto dealers lawsuit over proposed Minnesota zero-emission vehicle rule

Fight continues over jump-starting Minnesota's electric vehicle market to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
A few degrees’ change can alter the state’s prized lakes.

North-central Minnesota lakes are getting murkier faster

Lake water temps are rising fastest in the northern forests, promoting algae blooms.
In this file photo from 2019, Water Gremlin employees made their way into the lot as its doors reopened for production after being shut down for more

Auditor slams Minnesota Pollution Control Agency over Water Gremlin pollution

Weak oversight of Water Gremlin's air emissions ran decades.
In this file photo, Kirk Koudelka, MPCA Assistant Commissioner, addressed questions about the spread of PFAS in East Metro creeks. RICHARD TSONG-TAATA

Minnesota calls for big new crackdown on 'forever chemicals'

The state wants lawmakers to designate the entire PFAS class as a 'hazardous substance' in state statute, a list that includes arsenic and lead.
Transportation is now the No. 1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota. GLEN STUBBE •

Legislators push to shrink Minnesota's carbon footprint to zero by 2050

Proposal would set zero carbon emissions economywide by 2050.
Violet Rocek

Violet Rocek, a social worker dedicated to helping Indigenous families, dies of COVID-19 at 85

Violet "Vi" Rocek devoted years of her life to helping Native American children thrive. A social worker at Twin Cities nonprofits serving Indigenous families, she…
Core samples show the rich deposits found in the rock near Ely, Minn.

Dueling mining measures float Twin Metals future in Congress

A split over mining runs through Minnesota's Congressional delegation
Barbara Blackstone

Barbara K. Blackstone, pioneering Minnesota mediator, dies at 79

Barbara Blackstone touched countless lives over the years as a mediator, helping people negotiate life's hurdles at a time when few women practiced professional conflict…
Activation of the Nobles 2 wind farm in southwestern Minnesota pushed Minnesota Power to 50% renewable energy, the first utility in the state to do so

Walz pushes again for carbon-free electricity in Minnesota to avert climate crisis

The proposal follows a grim assessment of Minnesota's emissions record.
Conservation Corps crew leader Sarah Curran planted trees on the bits of raised land she could find along a Mississippi River floodplain in southeast

Minnesota's forests, land offer chance to cut greenhouse gases

A new report says nature-based climate solutions such as reforestation and cover cropping need to be in the mix.
Melissa DeWoskin fears her 14-year-old daughter Mckenna’s developmental disability came from drinking polluted well water when she was pregnant.

State's $850M settlement plans to address 3M 'forever chemicals' hit resistance in east metro

Three options are in play for spending $850 million settlement with 3M over toxic PFAS.
Cedar Creek Energy crew, including Reed Martin, installed solar panels on the roof of Brin Glass, Monday, April 6, 2020 in Fridley, MN. ELIZABETH FLOR

Minnesota falls further away from greenhouse gas reduction goals

Changes to the state's power grid have helped, but are not enough.
Core samples show the rich deposits found in the rock in northern Minnesota.

Minnesota lawmakers propose ban and moratorium on copper mining

Mining opponents say Minnesota shouldn't be a guinea pig for risky copper mines.
FILE - This Oct. 17, 2018 photo shows a Chevrolet Volt hybrid car charging at a ChargePoint charging station at a parking garage in Los Angeles. (AP P

GOP legislators, car dealers attack proposed zero-emission mandate

The public can comment until mid-March on the electric vehicle plan.
Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson, shown in 2019. Hutchinson  said Saturday that he was releasing the video to “clarify” what happened.

Hennepin County sheriff shares video of search at Dolal Idd's family home

The footage shows the family held in the living room as officers search the house in the middle of the night.
The DNR is paying the public $85/bushel for black spruce pine cones, saying its cupboard is bare after a few poor years for the cones. In this picture

Minnesota DNR wants black spruce cones, and has upped the price per bushel

Some people have tracked cone-caching squirrels, but main method is picking them off the tops off harvested trees.
Every police-involved death in Minnesota since 2000

Every police-involved death in Minnesota since 2000

The Star Tribune collected the names and stories of everyone who died after a physical confrontation with law enforcement in Minnesota since January 2000, and continues to update this database as new incidents occur.
Dairy cows wait outside of the milking parlor at Daley Farms of Lewiston, Minn., on Feb. 17, 2020. After a ruling in 2019, the MPCA started disclo

Minnesota works to fit climate change into environmental reviews

Plan would ask projects to add new data to agencies.
3M headquarters in Maplewood, Minnesota. (ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) ORG XMIT: 3316836W

Investigation targets discharges of next-generation 'forever chemicals' from 3M's Cottage Grove plant

The Cottage Grove plant's water pollution permit expired more than a decade ago.
The proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters is designed to have absolutely no discharge of tainted water, mine offi

Success of Twin Metals copper mine hinges on holding every last drop of tainted water

It's not clear if Twin Metals' plan for "zero discharge" of pollutants is feasible.
High winds are one of the top natural hazards in Minnesota. A massive straight line wind leveled thousands of acres of trees in the BWCA July 4th of 1

New index shows riskiest places for Minnesota's natural hazards

Parts of state face more than others, but overall Minnesota is just average.
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan held a press conference to announce major energy and climate policy initiatives on March 4, 2019. Walz first annou

Walz's new climate change advisory council starts up

15 citizen members appointed by Gov. Tim Walz to meet Monday.
People hike on land that is part of the Minnesota Heritage Forest, thousands of acres recently purchased by the Conservation Fund.

Conservation Fund buys thousands of acres of Minn. forestland

The Conservation Fund has bought more than 70,000 acres of Minnesota forestland for nearly $48 million in one of the largest conservation efforts in the state's recent history.
Enbridge Energy has already built a 14-mile stretch of Line 3 from the Minnesota line to its terminal in Superior, Wis., but the rest of the project f

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency advisers quit over pipeline permit

A dozen of the board's 17 members signed a letter, which called the water quality permit the "final straw" in a series of MPCA actions they said sidelined the advisory group
Retired conservationist Tom Kalahar inspected the banks of Hawk Creek, which he said is an example of what can happen when waterways are mismanaged. T

Creek or a ditch? The fight over Limbo Creek could change the fate of hundreds of Minnesota waterways

Big battle in Big Ag: Waterway's future a tug-of-war between farmers, county, environmentalists and state
Kyu In Lee

Kyu In 'Kay' Lee, mother and orphanage leader from South Korea, dies at 93

Kyu In Lee was a young woman in her 20s, her family said, when she founded an orphanage near Mok Po in South Korea, the…
Once work begins at PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minn., this tailings basin will be put back into use.

Minnesota Supreme Court hears argument that PolyMet misrepresented its intent for mine

The Minnesota Supreme Court must decide whether the company trying to build the state's first copper mine was engaged in "sham permitting" as it applied…
A gray wolf. The national delisting decision turns management of the wolves over to states. Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have said they o

Gray wolf loses Endangered Species Act protections

Federal wildlife officials are removing the gray wolf from the U.S. Endangered Species Act list, saying the wolf population — an estimated 6,000 roaming the continental U.S. — has recovered and the animal no longer requires federal protection. Environmental groups immediately pledged to fight the decision in court.
Anglers fish on Birch Lake in July 2019 near the shoreline where mine buildings would be erected should the Twin Metals project happen.

On Minnesota copper mining issues, Trump position is clear while Biden is mum

Stakeholders say Biden's silence makes sense given the tension between the labor and environmental wings of his party.
Minnesota’s highest court became involved in the landmark mine project near Hoyt Lakes after an appellate court struck down three permits and sent t

State's high court to hear dispute over canceled PolyMet mine permits

The DNR is fighting a lower court's order to hold an administrative hearing over objections.
A MnDOT maintenance worker removes the Do Not Spray sign from the ditch abutting David Weissing's land.

MnDOT rethinks no-spray ditch program after yanking 'Do Not Spray' signs

For more than a decade, David Weissing has mowed and tended the ditch along Hwy. 14 where his family lives in Winona County, lopping off…

Boy on dirt bike critically hurt in Andover crash with pickup truck

The boy was airlifted to HCMC in Minneapolis in critical condition, the Anoka County Sheriff's Office said.
A driver removes the Fast Charger after charging her Nissan Leaf, an electric car, at a BP off Lyndale Avenue S.

State offers $2.6 million to build out Minnesota network for charging electric vehicles

Lack of fast-charge stations and EVs for sale hampers transition.
Better Place Forests is opening a conservation memorial forest where people can scatter ashes beneath the trees in Scandia, Minn.

At a memorial forest in Scandia, a final resting place beneath the trees

Interest in "green burials" is behind the creation of the site for scattering cremated remains.
Cheryl and Bob Koll posed on their sandbag wall in Lake Shamineau in front of their home of 50 years, which they are fighting to save.

Minnesotans fight for homes and cabins on a runaway lake

As Minnesota's climate changes, homeowners along landlocked lakes watch water levels go up dramatically.
Chad Kolstad of the Minnesota Department of Health collected water samples at the Oakdale pumping station in 2007.

PFAS-laced water tied to infertility and prematurity in Oakdale

State health officials stand by their own conclusions: no reproductive impacts.
3M headquarters in Maplewood.

$700 million plan unveiled to deal with 'forever chemicals' in east metro drinking water

Three options are open for public comment through Oct. 26 to rid PFAS from drinking water.
University of Minnesota Research professor Jacob Jungers checked the growth of Kernza grass at a field at the U’s St. Paul campus in 2019.

State urges Minnesota farmers to plant more vegetative cover to fight nitrate contamination

Farmers are planting more cover crops, but corn and soybeans still dominate.
Crews with Arcadis and Cascade Drilling worked to drill a new monitoring well at Area C on the banks of the Mississippi River just below the Ford site

Ford, state expand probe of toxic waste dump near St. Paul's Ford site

Nine new groundwater monitoring wells are going in along the Mississippi River as part of the cleanup.
Nancy Allin Nelson

Nancy Allin Nelson, advocate for young people, dies at 72

The nonprofit she co-founded in 1989, later named Teenwise Minnesota, was just one of her causes, but it was the one she was the most proud of, her husband said..
Derek Chauvin

Even to friends, former officer Derek Chauvin was an enigma

Driven to be a cop, he spent 19 years on the streets. "I don't know what happened to him," former colleague said.
Wildflowers in a prairie of Lone Lake Park in 2018. The Center for Biological Diversity doesn’t want to stop the new trail, but rather wants the cit

Minnetonka sued over mountain bike trail through rare bumblebee haven

Lone Lake Park is home to one of the state's largest known populations of rusty patched bumblebees.
Mayor Jacob Frey speaks during a news conference Thursday, May 28, 2020 in Minneapolis.

Mayor Frey says Walz hesitant to deploy Guard during riots

State officials said the city did not give them the detailed information they needed to deploy the Guard until the next day. By then, dozens of buildings had been looted and torched.
The Minneapolis Police Third Precinct station, which was evacuated and destroyed in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in late Ma

How the fall of the Third Precinct station resounded in the Twin Cities

In interviews, people described what the fall of the Third meant to them: a deep betrayal of trust, a loss of control, a symbol of change and a breaking point.
Michelle Gross, founder of the nonprofit group Communities United Against Police Brutality, right, talked with civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armst

Reactions to police reforms go from lukewarm to slap in face

The bill, passed early Tuesday as a compromise product of a divided state Legislature, includes restrictions on chokeholds and neck restraints, training reform.
Minneapolis police officers gathered in May amid the protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

'Staggering' number of Mpls. cops are filing disability claims

The total now is closer to 200, out of a sworn force of about 850 and amid a wave of violent crime in the city.