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Local leaders to speak before Senate committee about incinerator

Local elected officials and the leader of a concerned citizens group will speak before a Senate committee at the State Capitol Wednesday evening about their efforts to block 3M's proposal to begin burning third-party waste at its Cottage Grove incinerator.

Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey, Washington County Commissioner Myra Peterson and former 3M executive and past Cottage Grove City Council member Fred Luden -- who now heads a citizens' group opposed to the plan -- are set to speak before the Senate's Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee in St. Paul.

Their comments will come during a hearing on a bill authored by Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, that would prohibit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency from permitting a facility to, even for free, burn third-party hazardous waste.

3M have proposed to amend its permits that govern the incinerator to allow the company to burn non-3M hazardous chemical waste at its Cottage Grove facility. Company officials have said 3M could save up to $2 million by replacing natural gas burned currently to supplement a dwindling supply of waste with third-party waste.

Pollution Control Agency officials have said state laws do not differentiate between commercial and non-commercial facilities, and that they are likely to approve the changes.

Sieben said the bill fills that gap, and defines what 3M hopes to do as commercial.

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