Local leaders air opposition to 3M incinerator planThe 3M Co. proposal to burn non-3M wastes at its Cottage Grove incinerator is not likely to meet resistance from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency if the company moves forward with the plan, agency officials said Wednesday.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
The 3M Co. proposal to burn non-3M wastes at its Cottage Grove incinerator is not likely to meet resistance from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency if the company moves forward with the plan, agency officials said Wednesday.
MPCA representatives told resistant state, county and city officials that the agency would proceed with the process because 3M’s proposal — which would allow them to accept outside hazardous wastes for the first time, free of charge — would not cause the volume of material burned or the incinerator’s emissions to exceed permitted limits.
Denial of permit applications occurs only when the pollution control agency has doubts the applicant will remain in compliance or if officials believe the plan could endanger the public, officials said.
“There’s nothing in our rules or regulations that says, ‘No, 3M, you can’t do this,’” said Greg Kvaal, senior engineer with the MPCA.
A drop in available solvent wastes has forced 3M to burn natural gas to keep its incinerator running hot enough to properly destroy hazardous wastes.
The move would save 3M between $750,000 and $1 million in energy costs each year, the company said.
Local elected leaders at the meeting were for the most part incensed by the plan that they said could open the door to the 3M-Cottage Grove incinerator — in use since the 1970s to destroy 3M-produced solvent waste from across North America — becoming a commercial incinerator.
“The bottom line is there are no benefits” to Cottage Grove, said Washington County Commissioner Myra Peterson.
The MPCA Citizens Board — a nine-person body appointed by the governor — could nix the 3M proposal, state officials said. 3M could appeal that decision.
3M representatives were not present at Wednesday’s meeting.
Check www.swcbulletin.com Thursday for more on this story.