Miller Creek, an important trout stream in the St. Louis River Watershed, is under threat. The City of Duluth in partnership with a wealthy real-estate developer is threatening the future of this sensitive environment. Our mission is to set a new status quo and encourage our local government and businesses to take the correct steps in preservation.
In April of this year, Duluth's Planning Commission agreed with the Citizens' Petition for an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW). This EAW required that additional environmental information, as governed by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, was needed and necessary ahead of the construction of a large hotel across the street from the Miller Creek Restoration Project (a $965,000 tax-funded project). The proposed hotel would sit on a site full of wetlands and encompasses just 6 acres of the 33 acres the developer owns. Despite our success with the EAW, it was short-lived. The developer convinced the city to allow an appeal to be heard locally by City Council
instead of at the required state level. In May, the City Council reversed the EAW requirement, forcing the citizens of Minnesota to either give up or file an appeal in the Minnesota Court of Appeals. We are not giving up.
Miller Creek and its surrounding wetlands have been under constant threat for decades. While many attempts have been made to work with our community leaders in finding a better solution, the precedent continues to be set that our natural resources are secondary to the profits and promises made to developers.
We are community members who believe in smart development by encouraging sensitivity to our environment and our community. The additional information an EAW provides, in all likelihood, would not stop this project, but it requires the developer to take into account the environmentally sensitive land it would occupy. In essence, an EAW would improve the proposed hotel. That is why it was requested and why the Planning Commission approved it.
Protecting these valuable resources is our mission, and we will continue to demand that of our leaders.
How This Impacts You
Duluth sits on the largest freshwater lake in the world and is home to many creeks, streams and rivers - most of which are under threat. Supporting Miller Creek will in turn support the bodies of water it drains into and help set a new status quo for all of Duluth's watersheds.
Water is easy to contaminate but very expensive to clean up. Clean water is essential for good health, clean water is more affordable for citizens, and clean water supports economic development, especially for the businesses that rely on it.
What We Need
It has become exceedingly clear that we must ratchet up our efforts and develop a legal strategy. These costs and efforts should have been taken on by the developer, instead, they were offered the cheap route and avoided the court appeal process. The buck has been passed onto the citizens.
- We are asking for $5,000 for the filing fees and documentation required to file a successful appeal
- On June 1st, the first step of the appeal process was filed with the state of Minnesota
- As the case progresses, we may need additional funds
- We will provide frequent updates
By contributing, you'll be part of the very important cause to help save Miller Creek and set a new state and city precedent.
Risks & Challenges
As with any legal campaign, there are risks:
- We may not win the case
- We may require more money for legal fees
Other Ways You Can Help
Please spread the word and share this with your family and friends. We cannot do this without your help.