August 23, 2012   In a blow to environmentalists, including the environmental group The Friends of Boundary Waters Wilderness, the Minnesota Supreme Court has denied review of an earlier Minnesota Court of Appeals decision that permitted the construction of a 450 foot cell tower that would be visible form several wilderness lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).  The environmental group contended that the Minnesota Court of Appeals misinterpreted the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA) when it ruled that the proposed tower would not have a significant impact because it would affect only a small portion of the wilderness.  A group of law professors had also filed a petition urging the Supreme Court to review the matter. http://www.startribune.com/local/164097676.html?refer=y

The Minnesota Supreme Court has the discretion to decide whether to accept cases for review and order full briefing or deny the petition for review and to let the Minnesota Court of Appeals decision stand. Because further review has been denied, there is no further regal recourse for opponents of the tower.  The project may now proceed.  It should be noted that other approvals from authorities with jurisdiction over the tower siting may be required. For further background on the case, please visit our previous blog posts found at: http://www.enviroattorney.net/blog/?post=173 and http://www.enviroattorney.net/blog/?post=177.

Environmental law attorney Joseph Maternowski with the Hessian & McKasy firm in Minneapolis practices in the areas of project siting, due diligence and environmental and natural resources law. For more information on Joe’s background and practice, please visit his You Tube site and watch two videos at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1Ybc9Acm8k and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJTDvveG0jY.

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