SAINT PAUL, Minn. — State Senator Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, voted Saturday to ensure the east metro will have access to clean, safe drinking water. House File 3660, which is on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature, will now legally require the 3M settlement to be used by cities like Woodbury and Oakdale to clean up contaminated groundwater.
In 2010, the state of Minnesota sued 3M for allegedly contaminating groundwater with chemicals known as PFCs, which is a common chemical found in Teflon. 3M and Minnesota settled the suit in February for $850 million, which will amount to approximately $720 million after legal and other expenses are paid.
“This is good news for our communities,” said Sen. Kent. “We’ve prioritized access to clean drinking water and accountability, and this legislation affirms the judgement’s terms in working toward those goals.”
These settlement funds will be used in the communities that are affected by contamination. The legislation:
- Establishes a dedicated account for the 3M settlement, where funds are to be appropriated by the Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources. These agencies must submit a biannual report of fund uses and work with stakeholders regarding projects that are to be funded.
- Requires reports to the public that outline results of groundwater testing, including methods of testing and a map of areas that are planned to be sampled.
- Designates the “east metropolitan area” include but not be limited to Woodbury, Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Afton, and Newport. The townships of Grey Cloud Island and West Lakeland are also included.
With the settlement and this legislation in place, agencies and localities receive clarification of the process. Area residents can be assured of clean and safe drinking water.