Weather Forecast


3M suspends incinerator proposal for now, city will form environmental advisory group

3M Co. on Wednesday agreed to suspend, for now, its push to amend the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency permit regulating its Cottage Grove hazardous waste incinerator.

The agreement was made at a morning closed-door meeting between 3M and city officials, and will allow city officials time to form an environmental advisory group that will look more closely at the 3M proposal to begin burning third-party waste in the 38-year-old incinerator.

The agreement "represents an effort from the partners -- both 3M and the city -- to try to find a way to move forward," said Ryan Schroeder, Cottage Grove city administrator, in an interview.

A resolution formally lodging the city's concerns with the plan was still passed by the council. Minnesota Pollution Control Officials have said the proposed amendment would not significantly increase the incinerator's hazardous emissions, but would allow 3M to burn waste not produced or managed by the company for the first time.

3M Cottage Grove site director Vickie Batroot told council members at Wednesday night's city council meeting 3M considers itself an important part of the community and that the company wants to give city officials more time to further examine the incinerator plan.

But, city officials conceded, should the commission recommend the city continue to oppose the plan, the two parties would still be at loggerheads over 3M's proposal and the company could still move forward with the MPCA.

Wednesday's agreement, though, is a good step, both parties said.

"We need to continue the open dialogue we've had," she said, "especially in the last few days and weeks."

Check Thursday for more on this story.