Special Session Amendment on SF 7—Phase Out of Trichloroethylene
Early in 2019 the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency discovered a manufacturer in White Bear Township had been releasing Trichloroethylene (TCE) into the air at unsafe levels since 2009. TCE is a known human carcinogen and developmental toxin that is used as an industrial solvent.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency stopped the White Bear Township manufacturer from continuing to use TCE. However, there are 80 other manufacturers and other facilities around the state that still use the solvent, creating concerns that other communities could be at risk of similar toxic releases.
Health concerns over the continued use of TCE in the state-led both chambers of the Minnesota legislature to overwhelmingly pass similar bipartisan bills to ban the use of TCE in Minnesota. Yet, the conference committee’s final environmental omnibus bill didn’t include any type of TCE phaseout or ban. The final bill did include some funding to evaluate TCE use around the state and to identify health effects on communities, but there is no deadline for actually reducing or phasing out the use of this dangerous chemical. The conference committee meetings were held behind closed doors and it is unclear why the TCE ban did not appear in the final bill.
Because the TCE ban had been approved earlier in the year but was absent from the final environment omnibus bill, an amendment was offered on the Senate floor to include the TCE ban in the final bill.