Is this a conspiracy? Three, no, FOUR letters from Clean Water related people in the STrib all on the same day, two board members, staff member, and a former executive director!

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First, Julie Risser:



The Corrigan era

In her Dec. 5 Opinion Exchange article, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioner failed to provide convincing reasons why citizens should ignore a legislator’s complaints that the MPCA is “dropping the ball.”

While Sheryl Corrigan points to improvements that are the result of long-range planning set up before she became commissioner, she does not address the troubling MPCA actions that have occurred during her watch: MPCA officials meeting behind closed doors with high-polluting utilities to water down effective plans to reduce mercury emissions on a Total Maximum Daily Load basis (TMDL); the MPCA’s reckless proposal to push back environmental review for feedlots — rather than maintaining the status quo and requiring review for feedlots larger than 1,000 animal units, the MPCA wants to require reviews on feedlots that are 2,000 animal units or larger (in terms of waste output, 2,000 animal units equals 18,000 people).

I don’t know what is more disconcerting: the thought that the MPCA commissioner doesn’t understand that environmental policies have implications far into the future, or that she does and simply doesn’t care. But then it will be future commissioners of the MPCA who will bear the burden of explaining the environmental fallout from the Corrigan era.


Then Alyson Aakhus, project or program director at CWAA:

Still too much mercury

At a recent MPCA TMDL (total maximum daily load) hearing, an MPCA representative stated that the fish consumption advisory, in effect on every lake and river in Minnesota, will not be lifted in our lifetime, or the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren. In her Dec. 3 commentary, MPCA Commissioner Sheryl Corrigan said, “Our work with Xcel Energy will result in reduced air emissions from three metro-area coal-burning power plants.” Will result?

We know now (and have known for years) about the adverse public health and environmental effects of coal plant pollution. Why hasn’t the state already taken direct action to reduce mercury emissions from coal plants? And, what about the several other coal plants located throughout greater Minnesota? The state has done good work in reducing mercury from products due to mandates it enforced. But when you leave it up to an industry to voluntarily reduce mercury emissions, as has been the MPCA’s policy, it is not surprising the coal industry does not “volunteer” to spend the money, even though the technology is readily available.

Corrigan wrote, “Maybe we can’t see the difference, but the eagles can.” Unfortunately, eagles cannot follow a fish consumption advisory. Birds and mammals that eat fish are more exposed to methylmercury than any other animals in water ecosystems. Similarly, predators that eat fish-eating animals are at risk. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, effects of methylmercury exposure on wildlife can include death, reduced fertility, slower growth and development and abnormal behavior that affects survival.


Then Rep. Ruth Johnson:



Federal GI benefits

Many soldiers join the National Guard in order to receive help with college tuition, but repeat deployments make it difficult to use these benefits. Of more than 30 bills now in Congress dealing with the federal GI Bill, none appears to extend the time frame for Guard and Reserve soldiers to use their federal education benefits if they have been called to active duty. Minnesota has fixed this problem for state benefits; it’s time to urge Congress to enable our soldiers to use the federal education benefits they have earned and deserve.



And last but not least, Diane Jenson, formerly ED of Clean Water and now Minnesota Project:



No returns necessary

This year I am giving a stocking stuffer that can change the world: light in the form of those odd-shaped, super-efficient lightbulbs.

Available ever cheaper, in more places, these fluorescents last years longer than old-style bulbs and use a fraction of the power. At a time of rising electric prices this is a great gift.

Better yet, reduced power consumption can reduce mercury and global warming emissions significantly. Less power use, less coal burned.


One Response to “Clean Water Action day on the Editorial page”

  1. Alyson Aakhus Swanson Says:

    Thank you for re-posting our letters to the editor. I am so glad to see that after nearly 5 years, this post is still available for all to read.

    Alyson Swanson (Aakhus) LMT

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