Hennepin County commissioners learned Thursday that they’ll have to pay $500,000 to stop the stink from the county’s downtown garbage burner from entering the new, county-sales-tax-funded, open-air Minnesota Twins stadium next door.
It’s exactly the kind of thing environmental activist Leslie Davis predicted when he sued for further environmental study of the Twins’ ballpark plans.
The full cost of stadium-related mitigation at the incinerator, including moving the entrances for trucks that dump as much as 1,200 tons of garbage each day, is $2.3 million. The stadium, known as Target Field, will seat 40,000 people — or about 40 seats for every local job eliminated by Target Corp. on Tuesday.
The final Environmental Impact Statement for the Twins ballpark (pdf) downplayed the odor problem from the garbage burner (known both as the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center and the Hennepin Energy Resource Company, in either case taking the acronym HERC):
HERC odors were not detected very frequently in the neighborhood … The County also researched the use of odorants to neutralize or mask odors from the tipping hall but decided that more passive approaches to odor mitigation, such as the installation of high-speed fabric doors and management of the volume of waste in the tipping hall, would be more beneficial.
Ironically, Davis was in court on Wednesday to press a complaint against the county commissioners for having him arrested more than two years ago while attempting to speak before them about the Twins ballpark. From his Earth Protector Web site:
SPECIAL NOTE – January 28, 2009
I was in federal court today against Hennepin County on their Motion to Dismiss my Complaint against them for abusing me and arresting me on August 22, 2006. I had gone there in 2006 to testify on the Twins Ballpark matter and the security people, at the behest of Commissioner Johnson, attacked me and arrested me. I did absolutely nothing wrong and I think the judge will recognize that once he reviews the video of the meeting. I hope that he will deny their Motion and allow me to go forward to the discovery stage. Hennepin County’s pleadings and statements are totally untrue.
Disclosure: In the early 1990s, I testified in court as a witness for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit Davis filed under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act against the City of Minneapolis and the Federal Reserve Bank to require further environmental study of the Fed’s plans for a new headquarters (now built) on the Minneapolis central riverfront.