Senator Karla Bigham Votes for Safe, Clean Drinking Water for East Metro Families

St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove) today voted to put into state statute a plan that protects 3M settlement resources so they can be used to provide safe, clean drinking water to east metro communities affected by groundwater contamination (House File 3660). The plan now heads to Governor Dayton to be signed into law. Click here to watch Sen. Bigham’s remarks on the bill.

Minnesota’s attorney general sued 3M in 2010 alleging that the company’s production of chemicals known as PFCs had damaged drinking water and natural resources in the southeast Twin Cities metro. On Feb. 20, 2018, the state of Minnesota settled its lawsuit against the 3M Company in return for a settlement of $850 million. After legal and other expenses are paid, about $720 million remains for drinking water and natural resource projects in the east metro.

“The plan approved today by the Senate protects settlement resources, identifies in statute the geographic boundaries of where groundwater contamination occurred, and establishes a process for testing private wells,” said Sen. Bigham. “Providing safe, clean drinking water for Minnesotans affected by PFCs is priority number one for me, so I am very pleased that the Legislature got this done. I want to thank my east metro colleagues Chuck Wiger, Susan Kent, and Karin Housley for supporting this plan.”

The plan approved today by the Minnesota Senate takes the following actions:

1) Establishes a dedicated account for the settlement resources to be statutorily appropriated to the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The bill would require the PCA and DNR to submit biannual reports on the expenditures of the fund and an annual report with the expenditures and spending plan to the legislature. The PCA and DNR would be required to work with stakeholders to identify and recommend projects to be funded with money in the account, including representatives of the PCA, DNR, east metropolitan area municipalities and the 3M Company.

2) Defines the “east metropolitan area” as including but not limited to the cities of Woodbury, Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Afton, and Newport and the townships of West Lakeland and Grey Cloud Island (this includes nearly all of Senate District 54).

3) Directs the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to provide results of PFC groundwater monitoring to the public by developing a website outlining:

(1) the process for private and public well PFC sampling in the east metropolitan area;

(2) an interactive map system that allows the public to view locations of the Department of Health well advisories and areas projected to be sampled for PFCs; and

(3) how to contact the Pollution Control Agency or Department of Health staff to answer questions on sampling of private wells.

Senator Karla Bigham
Karla Bigham represents District 54 in the southeast Twin Cities metro, including parts of Dakota and Washington counties.

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