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
In 2021, Gov. Tim Walz toured a factory that makes components for electric vehicles as part of an event announcing Minnesota’s new clean car rules.

Farmers, gas stations sue Gov. Tim Walz over Minnesota 'clean car' rule

Cutting demand for gasoline and liquid fuels will hurt Minnesota businesses, plaintiffs argue.
Erick Perez, dock supervisor at J.R.’s Advanced Recyclers in Inver Grove Heights, prepares to pump out the climate-polluting hydrofluorocarbon-based

How recyclers defuse the climate bomb inside your old refrigerator

As the U.S. phases down a climate super-pollutant in refrigerants, the EPA is developing new regulations to catch more of the gases before they escape into the atmosphere.
Lena, a 14-year-old Canada lynx, gazed out from her enclosure at the Minnesota Zoo last year in Apple Valley.

Minnesota will restrict snare and leghold traps to protect rare Canada lynx in Arrowhead

The decision settles a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity but was opposed by trapper groups.
Wait! Don’t salt that sidewalk if you don’t need to.

Here's how you can reduce salt use on your icy sidewalk

Sanding, scraping and sweeping will all help reduce salt runoff into lakes.
Power brooms and brushes, such as this one at the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus in 2017, clear snow before it melts and are one tool to r

'Low Salt, No Salt Minnesota' targets private contractors

New initiative is aimed at those who weren't getting the message about reducing salt use on icy pavements to fight water pollution: private property owners.
Minnesota Power’s wind farm in the southwestern part of the state.

Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions show steep drop

The disruption of the pandemic contributed to that decline, but officials said factors go beyond that.
A 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle, as it charges at a Ford dealership in Pennsylvania.

Minnesota auto dealers lose court fight with state pollution regulators over 'clean car' rule

Industry group likely to ask state Supreme Court to hear the case.
About 120 landowners met Monday in Lamberton, in southwest Minnesota, for a community meeting to learn more about carbon pipelines proposed for the st

'Carbon Express' pipeline runs into skepticism in Minnesota farm country

A massive project to store climate-harming emissions from ethanol plants hinges on landowners.
Bluefin Bay resort on Minnesota’s North Shore; clean, attractive condos in a well-managed resort atmosphere.

Maverick Minnesota lawyers looking for wastewater polluters target cities, businesses

A law firm that has targeted hundreds of businesses over violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act has a new focus: water pollution.
Dustin Vanasse, owner of Minneapolis-based Bare Honey, showed the honey made by the bees he keeps at the Connexus Energy solar array in Ramsey in Octo

New honeybee vaccine gets little buzz from Minnesota bee community

The USDA has approved the first-ever vaccine for honeybees. But Minnesota's beekeepers say their troubles are bigger.
Lynx scat that researchers and developers collect in Minnesota is being used to develop a species recovery plan. There are only 100 to 300 lynx in the

How to save the lynx from extinction? It starts with poop

Two decades after they were declared a threatened species, Canada lynx still need a recovery plan. Their poop, which researchers and volunteers collect in Minnesota, could be crucial in preservation efforts.
Purrington Prairie outside Windom, Minn., is a 40- acre remnant of native prairie that has never been plowed. Shown here in bloom, the former cow past

Family's unplowed prairie to become one of state's newest refuges

Scientific and Natural Areas are a key tool in the state's fight to save species from extinction.
In this photo made on Thursday, May 6, 2021, a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E is seen as it is charging at a Ford dealer in Wexford, Pa.

Mpls. offers incentives for EV chargers in new garages after state code blocks requirement

Estimates are as high as $5,000 in prewiring costs to make a garage stall ready for electric vehicle charging, officials say
Fisheries specialist Andrew Scholten netted minnows at the DNR fish hatchery in Waterville, Minn. The hatchery dates to the 1950s. It’s small, outmo

Eyeing surplus, DNR to try again for huge outdoors investment

In the last session, the department asked lawmakers for more than $300 million for one-time projects around the state, but left largely empty-handed after major spending bills collapsed under partisan spending disagreements.
Margaret “Peggy” Douglass with her niece’s dog Lucy

Peggy Douglass, who died at age 61, touched lives over three decades at Hennepin County human services

Her motto: "Thanks for coming to work!"
Aaron Parker and Jason Dow showed a testing facility last week in Plymouth. Daikin Applied Systems, a leading commercial HVAC manufacturer, is getting

Local companies retool to remove climate villain from your fridge and AC

This year, the United States started phasing down a lesser-known but powerful greenhouse gas: hydrofluorocarbons.
In September 2021, heavy machinery was brought in after Enbridge pipeline construction breached an aquifer near Clearbrook, Minn.

Enbridge to pay $7M, faces criminal charge after Line 3 pipeline breached aquifer

Pipeline construction linked to three aquifer breaches. Company faces misdemeanor charge in one instance.
The imperiled goblin fern emerges from the forest floor in northern Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest. Invasive earthworms are a major threat to

Ravenous earthworms are destroying a ghostly fern and endangering Minnesota forests

Minnesota's Chippewa National Forest is home to most of the world's population of goblin ferns. But time may be running out for the ancient ferns as surrounding forest floors are destroyed by a voracious invader: Earthworms.
Lena, a 14-year-old Canada lynx, at her enclosure Feb. 15 at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. As the northern boreal forest goes, so goes the lynx.

How you can help Minnesota's most endangered animals and plants

Across the state, people are taking measures to save vulnerable species at risk of extinction. Here's what you can do.
A Poweshiek skipperling butterfly sits on a black-eyed Susan after being released in a central Michigan wetland. The once common prairie butterflies a

This butterfly disappeared from Minnesota. Biologists now fight to save the last few in the world

Beginning in the early 2000s, the Poweshiek skipperling population suddenly cratered in Minnesota, for reasons that aren't yet fully clear. Researchers at the Minnesota Zoo are part of a last-ditch effort to stop the species from dying out.
Less than 1% of Metro Transit’s fleet needs a charge to get on the road. Electrician Dan Aasen showed how it’s done.

Minnesota's transition to electric vehicles is long, bumpy

Changes are underway, but the gap between climate goals and reality is wide.
Prairie chickens used to roam widely across Minnesota but were decimated by development and farming. Here, prairie chickens perform their spring matin

Its habitat decimated, this charismatic Minnesota bird is dancing on the edge of oblivion

Minnesota's prairie chickens were once so abundant their flocks cast shadows on the ground. But like so many other species, they're dying out.
Governor Tim Walz joined state officials, legislators, business leaders and activists to release Minnesota’s new climate action plan on Friday, Sept

Minnesota set to clamp down on greenhouse gases: 'It's a big, heavy lift'

State's new climate plan calls for faster, deeper cuts in global warming gases.
Researchers and volunteers dig up and move rare bristle-berries sitting in the path of a highway expansion in Blaine.

6th mass extinction is underway in Minn. — but squads of defenders are fighting back

The list of species at risk of statewide extinction grows ever longer. But these vulnerable plants and animals have defenders: In Blaine, scientists and volunteers mobilized to rescue a patch of rare bristle-berries from road construction.
These 50 animals and plants have disappeared from Minnesota

These 50 animals and plants have disappeared from Minnesota

Scientists know the actual number of extirpated species is much larger, but we don't have a full picture of what species have lived here.
In June 2021, Indigenous protesters and their allies occupied an Enbridge pump station in Clearwater County, some chaining themselves to equipment. La

Dozens of Line 3 protesters in Minnesota still face prosecution

Enbridge-funded public safety account paid $8.6 million for policing Line 3 construction.
Sheep grazed on native prairie and flowers planted at a solar farm run by Enel Green Power in Shafer, Minn., that supplies Xcel Energy.

5 changes Minnesotans will likely see from the historic climate bill

The Inflation Reduction Act has the potential to transform the way we drive, heat our homes and grow our food.
Line 3 under construction in 2017.

Water spills again from aquifer breached by northern Minnesota pipeline

Groundwater was discovered bubbling from a breach that Enbridge Energy said it had sealed last year.
Researcher Carrie Jennings paddled by farm tile drains emptying into the South Fork Crow River, a major source of Mississippi River pollution. 

How the little, polluted Crow River clouds the Mississippi

The Crow is the first major agricultural river emptying into the mighty waterway, and it doubles the Mississippi's nutrient pollution, state officials say, adding phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service senior fish biologist Michael Schwimm climbs down into Devil’s Hole Friday, April 29, 2022, in Ash Meadows National W

Extinction threat may be greater than known, study finds

Nearly one in three species of all kinds — 30% — face global extinction or have been driven to extinction since the year 1500, according to research led by the University of Minnesota.
Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Wetland delineation? There's an app for that

St. Paul startup creates BioApp to cut time surveying wetlands.
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.