Digging deeper into environmental policy

The tailings pond at an Iron Range taconite mine. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)

This month, the “Dig Deep” podcast explores environmental policy, a ferociously hot topic here in Northern Minnesota.

“Dig Deep” is a production of Northern Community Radio, and appears both on the radio and as a podcast. My friend Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns represents a more conservative approach to issues while I present a more liberal perspective. Produced and moderated by Heidi Holtan, “Dig Deep” endeavors to stake out potential solutions to major issues in a civil, open-minded way.

Each month we do a three-part series on a topic. Given the continuing attention paid to pipelines, nonferrous mining, and climate change in political debates, we opted to grab the third rail and go after it. If you follow these issues, I think you’ll enjoy the conversation. Chuck brought some interesting ideas to the table and I hope that I did the same.

Episode 1 talked about the environmental legacy in Northern Minnesota. We talk about the way the environment here has changed over the last several thousand years, especially the last 100 due to human development and resource extraction.

Next, the second episode dives into environmental regulation. We discuss the inadequacies and frustration of the permit process in modern political debate and offer some new ideas. Lots of interesting discussion about nonferrous mining and pipelines in this one.

Finally, the third episode covers climate change. We talk about the frustrations of debating about the existence of climate change and get into an interesting discussion about how we should focus on reaction to climate change. For instance, do we need to mitigate it or adapt to it? It’s a new way of talking about the issue.

We’re also releasing a “podcast only” edition this afternoon that explores the burgeoning race in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. You might find this fascinating and infuriating, depending on your point of view. We do talk about the outsized role that environmental politics plays in this district, but also just hash out the horse race and distinctions among candidates. (Note: this was recorded Feb. 15, so is dated accordingly).


  1. I just listened to the third episode, “climate change”. A few observations:

    No mention of the why the change from global warming to climate change to extreme weather…and all the political baggage that surrounds it. That’s a big point of contention.

    No discussion on the positive effects of climate change, only negative.

    Many credible scientists lack confidence in the climate temperature measurement system. The continual “adjustments” being to the data by NOAA only add to the skepticism. This leads to people tuning out – fake news.

    No mention of how dramatically wrong ALL climate change models have been. Again leading to no confidence in the so-called experts.

    No mention of numerous other reasons, major reasons, as to why climate might be changing. It’s always “carbons” fault..and humans are the only cause. Most folks know water vapor…and certainly the sun are having an impact on our climate. But yet, silence on these issues…foolishness.

    Based on those top of mind thoughts, the majority of people do not believe climate change is THE most critical issue of our times. Therefore, they have little interest in paying more taxes to address such a dubious issue…let alone make major changes to their lifestyle.

    Hopefully Dig Deep will dig a little deeper. Until we do, it will remain a “who’s in power politically” issue, not a scientific one.

  2. I listened to all three and the District 8 politics podcast last week while working. Fairly entertaining listen. Don’t know that I took a huge amount out of them, but good Aaron and Chuck do a decent job of having opinions and presenting them in a half-way entertaining way.

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