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EPA Community Air Monitoring Training Webinar

Webinar:  Thursday 9 July 2015, 09:00 AM – 12:30 PM [Note:  8 (not 10!) Central Time!] Continue Reading →

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Comment Time: Environmental Justice and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

During the past year or so, the MPCA has held a series of meetings with “Environmental Justice” (“EJ”) “stakeholders.” I’ve attended many but not all of those meetings.  The PCA has also assigned a person full time (Ned Brooks, Ned.Brooks@state.mn.us) to work on developing an Environmental Justice “Framework” for the agency.  My sense is that Mr. Brooks has worked diligently to incorporate views from within and without the MPCA.

The MPCA has developed a draft document that is probably fairly close to what it envisions adopting, and is holding a “stakeholder” meeting tomorrow, May 8th.  the PCA also intends a public comment period of some sort–details not yet sorted out.

So the point of this post is to encourage people to review the document and provide input either through me or directly to Ned Brooks, or to the Commissioner of the MPCA, John Stine (John.Stine@state.mn.us) or otherwise.

A little background:

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“What are we doing to our children’s brains?”

“Environmental chemicals are wreaking havoc to last a lifetime”

In November, election results put many anti-health, anti-environmental activists into public office.  Did this happen because millions of people said to themselves “I have too much money … we need more pollution and disease … corporations and banks are being oppressed by the people …?”  I doubt it, but the effect is the same. Continue Reading →

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Citizens’ Board does a good thing; Powers of Darkness push back; Action Alert

Feedlot Action Alert, and: Update: “Strange nonsense at the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (and the MPCA)”

In June I did a post critical of the MN Environmental Quality Board and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, suggesting that the environment of Minnesota isn’t being protected very well.  The email of this post had a higher readership than any other I’ve written.  One friend called it “very depressing.”  It garnered me some disapproving looks from EQB and Citizens’ Board members.  What’s happened since?

(The rest of this post relates to the MPCA and it’s Citizens’ Board.  In my view the EQB is looking like a train wreck, but that’s for another post.) Continue Reading →

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The “Burner County” resource page–resources to better understand why Hennepin County owns, and Covanta operates, the “HERC” garbage incinerator in Downtown Minneapolis, MN

Here are links to various documents, some found on the official Hennepin County website, some found elsewhere, and some obtained by means of MN Data Practices Act (“Freedom of Information”) requests.  This is a work in progress and we will be adding to it.  If you have documents to contribute to the effort, please send them to Alan Muller, alan@greendel.org

(There are also many important HERC documents on the website of Minneapolis Neighbors for Clean Air.)

My letter to the Hennepin County board about HERC concerns.  Includes links to background documents…. This letter contains various important questions we hope the County will provide meaningful answers to.

Contract for hiring the Washington, DC law firm Morris, Manning & Martin for $50,000 in connection with HERC contract extension. Obtained from Hennepin County via Data Practices Act.

Agreement between Hennepin County and HDR Engineering for services related to negotiating a 20-year extension of the “service agreement” with Covanta for operating the HERC garbage burner. Cost: $139,408.   Obtained from Hennepin County via Data Practices Act.

The following two documents need to be looked at together.  One is the “Board Action Request,” giving a “TOTAL NET AMENDED NOT TO EXCEED $407,163,484.00”  The second is the text of the Amendment with an attached list of actual projects.

https://alanmuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Board-Action-Request-Amd-5-to-HC-service-agreement-with-Covanta.pdf

https://alanmuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/amendmentfivetoserviceagreement.pdf

This is a page extracted from the 342 page Hennepin County CBTF [Capital Budget Task Force] Recommended: 2015-2019 Capital Improvement Program. The full document is likely available on the Hennepin County website here: http://www.hennepin.us/your-government/budget-finance/budgets, but I am not attempting to link to the specific document as things seem to keep moving around.

https://alanmuller.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/page-from-2015-capital-budget.pdf

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A detailed review of every contaminated site in Minnesota is urgently needed….

One of the best elected officials I know of is Cam Gordon of the Minneapolis MN City Council.  Gordon is a Green Party member, one of a relative handful of official Greens holding office in the United States.  I don’t agree with all Gordon’s positions, of course, but he shows an impressive ability to maintain independent and thoughtful positions while seeming to maintain working relationships with his colleagues. In March, 2014, Gordon posted this commentary (below) on one of the more consequential environmental scandals to surface recently in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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Passing of Mandela

The passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela reminds us of the difference one inspired individual can make. And the courage and determination needed. Mandela was imprisoned for “conspiracy to overthrow the government” for 27 years and reportedly was on a US “terrorist” watch list until 2008.

This is from Bobby Peek, a leading South African environmental justice campaigner: Continue Reading →

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