What Just Change Can Do for You

Individuals, small businesses, grassroots groups and non-profit organizations come to Paula Maccabee for help:

  • Litigating in administrative hearings and in Minnesota courts to protect the interests of clients and the public interest of communities;
  • Changing and drafting local ordinances, state statutes and rules to protect the environment, encourage organic farming and renewable energy and protect human rights and social justice;
  • Representing small businesses and community groups in government hearings and permitting processes to achieve land use and development objectives;
  • Identifying and implementing policy priorities to protect health, environment and social justice;
  • Developing strategic campaigns involving grassroots citizen activism, sophisticated legal advocacy and communications strategies to achieve real and significant results.

Paula Maccabee’s recent  work on behalf of clients includes:

  • Lobbying to enact eminent domain protections for land owners when utilities route power lines or pipelines affecting their property;
  • Rerouting power lines to reduce impacts on private homes and wetlands and the Midtown Greenway bicycle and pedestrian trails;
  • Opposing sulfide mining that would not meet federal or state water quality standards and other environmental review and environmental protection standards;
  • Requiring utilities to invest in the wind energy they had promised in developing high voltage power lines;
  • Rerouting a pipeline to avoid an organic farm and developing an organic addition to the Agricultural Impact Management Plan now used throughout Minnesota to reduce impacts of power lines and pipelines on any organic farm.
  • Exposing health impacts of high voltage power lines and radioactive wastes and discharge from nuclear power plants.

The philosophy of Just Change Law is to use a multi-faceted and strategic approach, including scholarly, legal, scientific, administrative and grass-roots advocacy to achieve client objectives. We learn each case in depth, create persuasive materials and relationships and expect to outwork the opposing side. Examples of  Just Change Law advocacy and resources include the following:

LOBBYING TO PROVIDE EMINENT DOMAIN PROTECTION IN POWER LINE AND PIPELINE CASES. Paula Maccabee lobbied along with citizens affected by utility condemnations to provide protections when utilities seek to condemn private easements or land for power lines and pipelines. This David and Goliath victory is summarized in an opinion piece co-authored with Rep. David Bly, a lead author of the legislation. Star Tribune Commentary Eminent Domain

COMPREHENSIVE CAMPAIGN TO ADDRESS DEFICIENCIES IN THE POLYMET SULFIDE MINING PROJECT. On behalf of WaterLegacy,  efforts have included detailed analysis of the environmental impact statement for the Project, collaboration with current and former agency staff to expose Project weaknesses and thorough legal and scholarly research:

  • DETAILED COMMENTS ON THE POLYMET ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW submitted on behalf of WaterLegacy in February 2010 WaterLegacy challenged the adequacy of environmental review and asserted that the proposed project posed an unreasonable risk of harm to the environment. WaterLegacy DRAFT EIS COMMENTS. An opinion piece in the Star Tribune, co-authored with Fond du Lac tribal staff, informed the public that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had reached similar conclusions.Star Tribune U.S. EPA Gives PolyMet Mine Project Failing Grade
  • PUBLICATION REGARDING MERCURY, MINING AND THE CLEAN WATER ACT in the William Mitchell Law Review to focus on the proposed PolyMet Project and summarize the legal constraints that should apply to prevent mercury contamination and mercury methylation. Maccabee 2010 – William Mitchell – Mercury & Mining
  • ADVOCACY TO BLOCK PROPOSED PERMITS FOR WETLANDS DESTRUCTION. Questions raised by the U.S. EPA about the legality of destroying more than a thousand acres of important wetlands for the PolyMet sulfide mine led Just Change Law Offices to research and submit to the U.S. EPA advocacy that the EPA assume jurisdiction to protect Aquatic Resources of National Importance and, potentially, to veto a mining project causing their destruction and impairment. Advocacy to the U.S. EPA is attached here.WaterLegacy EPA Wetlands Letter

EXPERT TESTIMONY ON POWER LINE HEALTH RISKS FROM MAGNETIC FIELDS. Testimony on health risks of magnetic fields filed by Just Change Law on behalf of private intervenors in the CapX2020 Brookings power line case has broken new ground and influenced subsequent routing cases. The Direct Testimony and Schedules of David O. Carpenter, MD is included here. TESTIMONY EMF/HEALTH IMPACTS

CHALLENGING THE NEED FOR HIGH-VOLTAGE POWER LINES. In addition to obtaining conditions on the CapX2020 Brookings power line requiring that the line be used to support new wind energy, as the utilities had promised, Paula Maccabee represented Citizens Energy Task Force (“CETF”)  in arguing  that the utilities did not demonstrate that the CapX2020 power lines are needed, taking the case all the way to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Briefs on behalf of CETF are attached. CETFAppealsBrief/MinnCourtofAppeals, CETFReplyBrief/CourtofAppeals

  • “Paula never rests. An outstanding job on this project.”
  • — Peter Ginder, Minneapolis Deputy City Attorney (Advocacy to require transit and environmental improvements for the I-35W highway project)

EXPOSING RISKS FROM RADIOACTIVE WASTES AND DISCHARGE. Paula Maccabee represented the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant Study Group (”PINGP Study Group”) in opposing increased nuclear waste storage at the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant and sought state-of-the art monitoring due to impacts of radioactive emissions and  waste heat from the Plant. The primary brief and recommendations of experts are attached here PINGP BRIEF.pdfPINGPExpertLetters:AttachmentstoBrief.pdf