EPA community air monitoring leaves Twin Cities gasping for breath

Webinar: Thursday 9 July 2015, 09:00 AM – 12:30 PM [Note: 8 Central Time!]

Notes:

Thanks to Jim Gurley of Winona, MN, for the heads-up on this. The MPCA is predicting CODE YELLOW bad air in the Cities and Rochester for Wednesday, July 8, 2015, through Sunday. The MPCA has been rather unresponsive to communications during the last few days. Perhaps officials are gasping for breath? I can’t predict the quality of the information that will be offered in this webinar, but it might be helpful to people concerned about health threats from air pollution in their communities. Continue Reading

CV | Alan Muller: Every contaminated site in Minnesota needs to be reviewed

Decades of disregard leave families exposed to toxins.One of the best elected officials I know of is Cam Gordon of the Minneapolis MN City Council. Gordon is a Green Party member, one of a relative handful of official Greens holding office in the United States. I don’t agree with all Gordon’s positions, of course, but he shows an impressive ability to maintain independent and thoughtful positions while seeming to maintain working relationships with his colleagues. In March, 2014, Gordon posted this commentary (below) on one of the more consequential environmental scandals to surface recently in Minnesota.Some background(Disclosure: I have not done anything like a full file review of this, and nobody has asked my opinions on it. But the patterns shown–patterns of negligence–are consistent with patterns of inadequate “cleanup” and overdone coverup seen at contaminated sites nationwide. Continue Reading

Q & A with Louis Alemayehu: Northern Metals air quality issues reach beyond North Minneapolis

On September 5, a half dozen activists gathered in North Minneapolis at Kwanzaa Community Church to record statements about the Northern Metals application for changes to an air quality permit – video above. Louis Alemayehu, one of the group’s organizers, sat down with the Daily Planet to explain what the issues are.You had a meeting this week to talk about the environmental impact of Northern Metals in North Minneapolis. What’s the issue?Alemayehu: The immediate issue is Northern Metals, and it’s not just Northern Metals in isolation. If they’re allowed to operate this way through Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, the cumulative effect of this is throughout the region. It’s not just the North Side, it’s not just this particular company in north Minneapolis.Last February when we were putting pressure on the MPCA to do an Environmental Impact Statement, the day we were to meet as a community to inform our community about the situation and what was about to happen unless we made our voices heard, the Governor issued a document to speed up the certification process.Which struck us as “why was the timing like that? Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss Minnesota’s Environmental Future

This Sunday marked the first Governor’s Candidate Forum on Clean Energy, Clean Water and Minnesota’s Future at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, as part of the annual Living Green Expo.  Among those invited were major party candidates who had polled at five percent or higher in straw or statewide polls. Forum participants included: Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL), Mark Dayton (DFL), Matt Entenza (DFL), Rob Hahn (I), and Tom Horner (I). Tom Emmer (R), who received his party’s endorsement last Friday, had been invited to the event, but did not attend. Kelliher left midway through the event due to a prior commitment to participate in the Mayday Parade, which commenced at 1PM. Continue Reading

Whistleblower Wotzka, legislators and researcher put Atrazine back in spotlight

Paul Wotzka was a low-profile hydrologist, employed by the state of Minnesota, until he was fired in March after speaking out against atrazine, a widely-used herbicide. Since then he has been in the spotlight. “For 16 years, I worked in this area with groups of fisherman and farmers. We never got much publicity,” he says, “So, now, it’s different to get calls for interviews.”
Wotzka is concerned that atrazine, a herbicide used on many cornfields, has been found in storm water runoff and streams, including Southeast Minnesota’s Whitewater River, and could affect not only the surrounding wildlife but also the drinking water of residents. He was employed for years by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and then went to work for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2005. Continue Reading