Lockdowns weigh on German beer sales

COLOGNE, Germany — The closure of bars and the cancelation of major events in Germany are a big problem for the country’s many small brewers, which rely heavily on selling draft beer to bars and restaurants. Official data released last week showed beer sales in Germany dropped 5.5% last year to 2.3 billion gallons, a decline fostered by lengthy shutdowns. Bars and restaurants were closed from March until May, and have been shut again since the beginning of November as part of the country’s second lockdown.

Minnesota rolls out plan to clean up ‘forever chemicals’

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota officials on Wednesday unveiled their plan to deal with toxic man-made “forever chemicals” that are polluting the state’s waters and causing growing concerns about potential health risks.

The pharmaceuticals, microplastics and synthetic chemicals are known collectively as PFAS and are used in a variety of consumer products because of their durability and resistance to heat and water. An increasing number of scientists have linked some PFAS to negative health effects in humans, such as low birth weight, thyroid and kidney problems and some cancers.

Minntac iron mine dealt blow

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Regulators can apply strict drinking water standards to limit groundwater pollution from North America’s top-producing iron mine, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency properly concluded that pollution seeping into groundwater from the Minntac mine has harmed waters covered by federal standards meant to protect drinking water, Justice Paul C. Thissen wrote for the court.

The Star Tribune reported that the decision threw out a lower court ruling that said the MPCA couldn’t use those stricter standards when it issued a permit to Minntac’s mine in Mountain Iron, which is owned by US Steel Corp.

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