Agribusiness accused of plowing under U of M enviro film

Troubled Waters: You can't see it.
Troubled Waters: You can't see it.

"Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story" is a damning documentary about agricultural pollution in the Big Muddy, produced by the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History.

But someone doesn't want you to see it.

Despite being chock full of work by eminent researchers, and independently reviewed by many more of the same, "Troubled Waters" has been deemed in need of more scientific review.

That's odd, since university president Robert Bruinink was scheduled to speak at its premiere on Sept. 7. It was scientific enough for him.

"Please pass the word to anyone you know who was planning to attend. We apologize for any inconvenience," the Bell Museum says on its Facebook page.

The university won't accept responsibility for putting the kibosh on the film. The University News Service blames the Bell Museum. But the Bell Museum says University Relations is to blame. Meanwhile, the film's producers are caught in the middle and not getting straight answers from anyone.

A report in the Twin Cities Daily Planet suggests big-money agribusiness is meddling in university research results: The film comes down hard on ethanol and industrial farming. The website points out that University Relations vice president Karen Himle has close ties to the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, which promotes agribusiness interests.

Himle is married to John Himle, president of Himle Horner public relations. The company represents the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, and John Himle was president of the council from 1978.

Interestingly, Himle Horner's co-founder is Tom Horner, who's running for governor this year on the Independence Party ticket.

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