Why was the news "Enbridge penalized $3.3M for damage" buried in the Sept. 17 Business section? As the story states: "The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has ordered Enbridge to pay $3.32 million for failing to follow environmental laws during construction of its controversial Line 3 oil pipeline.
"While working near Clearbrook, Minn., Enbridge dug too deeply into the ground and pierced an artesian aquifer, which the DNR described Thursday as an 'unauthorized groundwater appropriation.' The incident, which happened in January, has led to a 24 million gallon groundwater leak, endangering a nearby wetland."
Considering how opponents warned of such detrimental results, they deserve front page attention. Did the DNR demand a pre-emptive escrow fund for these predictable accidents?
Mary K. Lund, Minnetonka
County's decision is the correct one
I write regarding Hennepin County's approach to Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrants ("Hennepin sheriff's humane approach," editorial, Sept. 13). Firstly, it is important to understand that ICE "warrants" and detainers are for civil administrative matters and are generally not signed by judges. Local law enforcement's interest in enforcing them, therefore, does not have to do with stopping crime.
Yet, ICE has co-opted local law enforcement agencies, using limited state budgets to undertake actions charged only to the federal government. Texas counties spent about $55 million on detainers, but received just $4.7 million in federal grants. Time and money spent doing ICE's job is time and money not spend on law enforcement mandates, such as investigating human trafficking — a crime that has multiplier impacts on public safety.
While some migrants and citizens may feel comfortable reporting to law enforcement, we know from our work with law enforcement and human trafficking survivors that many have serious fears. Indeed, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act based, in part, on data that show traffickers and abusers exploit noncitizen victims' fears of law enforcement.
Moreover, our governments — not just our people — must first respect the rule of law in order for our country to be good. The Supreme Court has made clear that being held in jail, "regardless of its label," is a seizure that triggers Fourth Amendment protections. Yet, ICE detainers often violate these rights. By leaving immigration enforcement to the agency charged with such, Hennepin County's policy supports the rule of law by furthering Fourth Amendment protections and refusing to conduct operations outside of its purview.
Lindsey Greising, Minneapolis
The writer is a staff attorney at the Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis.
It is unfortunate that Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson has made a decision not to cooperate with ICE unless a judge has signed the immigration detainer warrant. Typically law enforcement agencies work together toward the mutual goal of maximizing public safety. In the Star Tribune's editorial, the writers attempt to thread the needle of misguided logic. Their phrase "foreign-born inmates" speaks loudly to the reason Hutchinson should continue to work with ICE. So an inmate is in the Hennepin County jail for a statutory violation. After that case is adjudicated, they get turned loose — even though they are here illegally and have committed a crime? And that is called "rebuilding trust"? What about the trust that communities expect to have over public safety?
Hutchinson says he wants all inmates to be treated the same without distinction of illegal entry. Apparently he has made a decision that federal law is not worthy of his oath and that he alone has the right to free an illegal immigrant. Is Sheriff Hutchinson now Judge Hutchinson?
The message Hutchinson is sending and the Star Tribune agrees with is that immigration status has little or no significance. This has nothing to do with being humane; it has everything to do about following the law even though you don't agree with it. In his zeal to be compassionate, Hutchinson is contributing to the significant problem of crime rather than working to curtail it.
Joe Polunc, Waconia
Sounds pretextual to me
A recent commentary claimed that "non-public-safety traffic stops" keep society safe because when the police pull someone over for something minor, like expired registration tabs, they just might find a victim of domestic violence, illegal guns or a drunken driver ("How routine traffic stops keep us safe," Opinion Exchange, Sept. 15). Although those are all serious matters, they had nothing to do with the original traffic stop. That sounds like the definition of pretext — pulling someone over for one thing and hoping that they find something more serious. This is exactly like New York City's "stop and frisk" policy, but using a vehicle as the excuse.
Maybe we should go back to sobriety checkpoints where everyone is stopped to see if they are sober. At the same time police could look for other violations like drugs, weapons or domestic violence. However, sobriety checkpoints were ruled unconstitutional by the Minnesota State Supreme Court in 1994.
When there is a real public safety issue with a vehicle or a driver, certainly a traffic stop is warranted. But all we need to do is look at Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by a police officer on what was Castile's 46th traffic stop. According to a National Public Radio analysis, only six of those stops were for something a police officer could see from outside the car. Obviously, there is an issue with that number of traffic stops. Perhaps the problem should be solved by the Legislature instead of the Ramsey County attorney, but at least John Choi has taken some action.
Rochelle Eastman, Savage
Enough with the stereotypes
Attuned to the drumbeat of diversity while eating scrambled eggs a la miso, I read the Star Tribune article "Retreat for weary souls" (Sept. 15) about a haven for Black and brown kids and others that is located near Annandale. Once again a Star Tribune writer revealed an insidious, subtle bias, the kind that permeates so many Strib features. Directly that morning I drove all the gravel roads that a reporter might have used to get to Rootsprings, the retreat, and found no crosses, no Trump signs or flags. The implication that we must all be hick Trumpsters wafted through like a bad odor. Instead, I saw corn and bean fields, a view of a distant lake, a farm yard with beautiful flowers, and a popular waterfowl production area known for its many deer, pheasants and wild turkeys. But the mantra is always there in these articles: all good, all bad; good, bad.
The final paragraph says it all. The threatening countryside with its ghosts of slavery and lynching and the echoing clink of chain gangs traumatizes today's children, and so the leaders of this rural retreat "have to get right with all of that in order to go forward." Two final question remain: How do the children know they are traumatized by bucolic rural America? Are they traumatized more by nature than by the ubiquitous gunfire in the metro?
Don Gadow, Annandale, Minn.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS
What happened to walking?
With the current wave of bus driver vacancies, this brings up an issue that should be addressed. When I went to school, I could walk to my grade school (John Hay) and junior high school (Lincoln). My high school (North High) was a bit further away, but most days I walked to it as well.
Gone are the days when most schools were in the neighborhoods and accessible by foot. Sadly, many Minneapolis and St. Paul schools have closed, and students have to go greater distances to get to their school. I would like to see the relocation of schools in the neighborhood they serve and cut down on the bussing required to get to the current schools miles away. Try to keep it as local as possible.
I realize that some neighborhoods have a substantially lower amount of students, so some bussing is essential. But, for example, on the North Side (my old neighborhood), kids these days have to be bussed clear up to Lowry, which doesn't make sense when there used to be more schools in the near North Side, as well as schools serving the area between Golden Valley Road and Broadway.
Barry Margolis, Minneapolis
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