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Viewpoint: Keep an eye on the MPCA

I applaud Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey for saying that "he will not vote to approve a list of recommendations issued recently by a task force that studied proposed amendments to 3M's hazardous waste incinerator permits without an agreement to insert language permanently prohibiting commercial incineration at the site."

Remember when 3M stated (for seven months) that they would need one truck a day of waste from outside companies to meet their fuel needs? One truck a day is 10,000,000 pounds a year of hazardous waste brought into our neighborhoods. Now, they want to raise that to 20,000,000 pounds a year -- anything wrong with this picture? Oh, and did I mention that all of this crap will be traveling on our roads from across the country? The rest of us use the natural gas that is available right here -- no muss, no fuss! We pay our bills; we don't complain, and we certainly don't expect 3M to give us any help with payments. Wouldn't it make sense for 3M to use this resource also? And, wouldn't it make more sense for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to suggest to almighty 3M that they too use this resource? What gives?

Perhaps we the citizens of Cottage Grove need to be protected from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Case in point: If the agency is supposed to be concerned about the health and wellbeing of us citizens, how can they approve of 3M asking to bring in 20,000,000 pounds of outside waste from another state to be burned in our city? The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and 3M say this is clean waste. They almost make it sound like we should think this is good for us and we should believe this. I don't think so! The question then becomes if the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and 3M think this is so low in contaminants, why isn't it being recycled in the first place?

Another factor that concerns me is, how many of these 3M personnel actually live among us? This would be an interesting fact to know. How many of them breathe our air and drink our water? Do they walk the walk or just talk the talk?

I'm also wondering if anyone else saw the irony of the article in the Nov. 4 Bulletin, "3M dirt removal to start this month." It outlines a proposal to dig up dirt contaminated with PFCs to reduce the amount of PFCs that have contaminated our drinking water. The city council needs to pass the ordinance banning commercial incinerators. There certainly seems to be a questionable relationship between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and 3M. Bill Nelson of 3M makes the following statement on the task force recommendations: "The overriding point is the city of Cottage Grove does not have permitting authority over this issue." Another way of saying that might be that 3M can do whatever they want to do because the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is on their side and the city residents really don't count. I feel we need to question the relationship between 3M and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and do everything we can to get back citizen control of what happens in our city and with our quality of life. As I stated earlier: "Perhaps we citizens need to be protected from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency."

In closing, I want to thank the mayor and city council for standing up for each of us Cottage Grove citizens. It is in each of you that we place our trust.

Trish Thompson is a Cottage Grove resident.