Seven people sit at panel table in front of audience
Moderator Nels Paulsen of Conservation Minnesota (left) with legislators.
News

Legislators Participate in TCE Town Hall in White Bear Lake

by Keely Cervantes,
Regional Manager - East Metro

Last Saturday, six area legislators sat together at a town hall meeting to discuss the toxic chemical TCE with their constituents. The chemical has made headlines in recent months due to reporting that Water Gremlin, a company based in White Bear Township, was misreporting their emissions to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). You can read more about the ban-that-almost-was during the 2019 state legislative session and the continued push by local activists in a blog post I wrote over the summer.

The town hall panel, moderated by Conservation Minnesota’s Policy Director Nels Paulsen, included the following legislators :

Senators

  • Jason Isaacson (DFL-42)
  • Roger Chamberlain, (R-38)
  • Chuck Wiger (DFL-43)

Representatives

  • Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-42B)
  • Ami Wazlawik (DFL-38B)
  • Peter Fischer (DFL-43A)

The legislators spoke briefly about their work on the ban last session and rallied around the hope of banning TCE all together in 2020, with Senator Chamberlain saying he intends to introduce a bill. He also said “politics should be set aside for the public good,” and that he intended to find solutions in order to continue their bi-partisan work.

Concerns about the settlement money, public health, lead poisoning, chemical research and agency funding were also big picture issues discussed during the town hall with questions submitted from constituents in the audience.

The White Bear Area Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group has been keeping the community up to date on the issue, especially the impacts from Water Gremlin, and both the group and Senator Wiger highlighted their continued commitment at the town hall.

Representative Fischer pointed out that much of the testing done on chemicals evaluates the short-term effects but does not address long term impacts on public health. He encouraged citizens to put pressure on federal agencies who have the authority to fund public health research in the chemical industry and to advocate for stronger standards and regulations.

TCE does not only impact the air and water around the metro area, it is being emitted all over the state. Air and groundwater pollution does not have a defined border.

We’ll continue to fight for the statewide ban on TCE in 2020 and encourage you to contact your legislator to voice your opinion on this and other issues that impact your community.