Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Minnesota Environmental Partnership... a front for Big Business polluters and corrupt politicians

-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 11:06 AM

To: stevemorse@MEPartnership.org; peter.makowski@mail.house.gov; jmyers@duluthnews.com; riverlot@paulbunyan.net; 'Jody Beaulieu'; secretary.state@state.mn.us

Cc: 'Al Juhnke'; brian.melendez@usa.net; susan.rego@embarqmail.com; 'Scott Elkins'; carl.pope@sierraclub.org; mcaul@startribune.com; bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com; newsroom@duluthnews.com; abuck@duluthnews.com; bgraber@duluthnews.com; lbloomquist@duluthnews.com; ppassi@duluthnews.com; scook@duluthnews.com

Subject: The Minnesota Environmental Partnership... a slight problem of ethics and accountability

Mr. Steve Morse, Executive Director, Minnesota Environmental Partnership;

I see you have altered the Minnesota Environmental Partnership Web Site since I posted the article from your site which clearly stated that U.S. Congressman James Oberstar was the “mover and the shaker” behind the peat mining venture in the Big Bog which will take place in the Pine Island State Forest. Mr. Oberstar now vehemently denies his involvement in this project. Gene Merriam can’t remember authorizing the permit for it. What can I say, except, “WOW!”

What a despicable coward you are when it comes to the truth!

Anyways, the article from your web site is still posted on my blog and it comes up in numerous searches on all the popular search engines and people have even taken to posting a link to “Water, water everywhere” { http://freeman-forum.blogspot.com/ } on their blogs and web sites so, I am sure this article will be read by many more people than would have read it on your site.

It is interesting now that U.S. Congressman James Oberstar pulled off his cute little act in front of a well-heeled group of DFL party hacks and public officials ranging from Mark Ritchie, Minnesota’s Secretary of State, to that old blue dog Democrat Roger Moe and the illustrious Gene Merriam who couldn’t remember signing the permit for peat mining in the Big Bog within the Pine Island State Forest and none other than the head of the Humphrey Institute and Mr. Freeman, the Hennepin County Attorney who has the utmost disdain for those who lie and perjure themselves… all of you are now saddled with the task of having to defend U.S. Congressman James Oberstar’s vicious slander against me as he so emphatically called me a “liar” in claiming he knew nothing about any peat mining in the Big Bog. And, oh yes, true to form, Congressman Oberstar even said, in an almost believable manner, that he resented me characterizing his speech as, “The most self-serving, hypocritical speech I have ever heard any politician ever make;” and I even heard Richard Nixon speak on several occasions.

Now, after all of this has been recorded for the University television station and we have the article from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership web site proving that United States Congressman James Oberstar is nothing more than a big-mouthed liar, how are you going to explain all of this to the some eighty organizations who have come together under the auspices of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership thinking that they are part of some marvelous coalition which is working to protect our living environment and ecosystems, when your only real objective is to continue electing a bunch of corporate serving blow-hard, liars like James Oberstar; and, trying to convince Minnesotans to increase their taxes to pay for the environmental damage caused by big-businesses to our air, water and land?

Oh, Shakespeare would have had a field day with the likes of you and James Oberstar. Maybe you should consider turning over the television recording of your “Water, water everywhere?” Freeman Forum Event to one of the theatrical societies in the Twin Cities?

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


The article from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership which has been removed to save United States Congressman James Oberstar embarrassment... Oberstar, in his response to my question about his involvement in peat mining in the Big Bog claimed no knowledge and called me a liar for saying he was part of this dirty, racist back-room deal... read for yourself what has been on the web site of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership for a long time:

Please note how Steve Morse and these dirty birds operate; this link used to take one to the article below on the Minnesota Environmental Partnership's web site, now they have made it link to their home page:

There is nothing ambiguous about Congressman James Oberstar orchestrating this dirty, racist, backroom deal... why did the Freeman Forum try so hard to assist Oberstar in concealing these facts from the public?

Note: This article was taken directly from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership web site.

Peat mining project approved

Monday, December 13, 2004

A peat mining operation in a remote bog in the Pine Island State Forest has received federal permits after years of delays and opposition regarding environmental impacts.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dropped its concerns and permits have been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will allow development to begin on an 840-acre bog 24 miles west of Big Falls, federal and local officials revealed Friday.

A Quebec-based firm, Berger Ltd., has been recruited to develop the project, which will receive substantial state and county aid. Construction could start in 2005.

U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, officials from UMD's Natural Resources Research Institute, Berger representatives and Koochiching County officials will announce the permits Tuesday in Duluth, Oberstar's office announced Friday.

"This has been a great public-private partnership," Oberstar said in a prepared statement.

Minnesota has significant peat reserves but only a few commercial operations. NRRI scientists have tried for years to develop commercial uses and markets for the resource, so far with little success. Competition from low-cost Canadian peat and the relatively low economic value of bagged peat for plant bedding has kept interest low.

The Pine Island project has been in the works since the 1980s, when a report showed vast peat potential in the region. It's been pushed by the Koochiching County Board of Commissioners as sorely needed economic development in an area having little job opportunity, underscored by recent staff cuts at the Boise Cascade paper mill in International Falls.

The new peat operation will create about five full-time and 40 seasonal jobs. The positions, which will pay about $8 an hour, will have a $500,000 annual payroll, and the operation would pump about $2 million into the local economy, a 2001 study showed. Supporters predict spinoff jobs in pallet-making and trucking.

Mike Hanson, the Koochiching County Commissioner who represents Big Falls and who has headed the project in recent years, says the economic impact will help fill a void left when a Boise Cascade mill closed in Big Falls two decades ago.

Big Falls shrunk from 600 to 300 people, he said, and Koochiching County was one of only a few Minnesota counties to lose population in the last census.

"This is a big deal. I've been working on this since 1998. We just kept trying to move it forward, and patience paid off," Hanson said. "It's not just the jobs -- and every job counts up here -- it's being able to have local control over our natural resources. If we didn't win this battle, if we can't use our natural resources to create jobs up here, we won't be able to have any people living up here."

NRRI peat experts say the Pine Island site holds one of northern Minnesota's best deposits of semi-decayed plants, or sphagnum peat, the bedding material nurseries and gardeners use to grow plants.

The bog will be logged, drained and the topsoil removed. The so-called mine is more like a farming operation, with peat sucked off the surface with giant vacuums, then packaged and trucked across the Midwest to be used as bedding material.

Because only a couple inches of peat are vacuumed each year, there's a 30-year supply at the site.

The project's Environmental Impact Statement was approved in 2002. But the EPA had raised sharp concerns over the release of mercury and the quality of water downstream from the mine.

Moreover, Red Lake tribal officials said they didn't want the wild peat land developed near some of their land holdings.

Concerns included the release of methyl mercury, stored inside the peat after falling as pollution from the sky, into nearby ditches and eventually into the Black River that runs through forests to the north. A study conducted for the DNR Environmental Impact Statement shows that mercury levels likely will increase in downstream waters, but not much.

But "even the slightest increase in methyl mercury can be detrimental since direct as well as indirect consumption may lead to increased concentrations at every level of the food chain," a 2001 EPA letter on the project stated.

Federal officials also raised concerns about acidity of the waters, saying runoff from the peat operation could reach unacceptable pH levels. Other issues included dust, effects on wildlife and how the site should be restored to a natural bog after mining ends.

Other project opponents say it's a bad use of state and county taxpayers' money for relatively little economic benefit; some argue the relatively pristine area shouldn't be disturbed.

In recent months, however, both EPA and Red Lake tribal officials have dropped their opposition, clearing the way for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue necessary permits.

Related to:

Water Quality & Quantity