Senator Karla Bigham Says 3M’s Repeated Disregard for The Health and Safety of Cottage Grove Residents is Unacceptable  

Senator Frustrated After MN Pollution Control Agency Sites Corporation 

For Ongoing Hazardous Waste Violations For Second Time in a Year

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Senator Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove) said today that 3M’s repeated disregard for laws that protect Minnesotans from the dangers of hazardous waste generated at its Cottage Grove facility is unacceptable and said the state should explore increasing penalties for such behavior.

Sen. Bigham reacted to Tuesday’s announcement by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) that it will require 3M to pay more than $2.8 million in fines for a series of hazardous waste violations at the company’s facility in Cottage Grove.  The MPCA found violations dating back to 1996 and continuing through last year, she said, and this is the second MPCA finding against the same facility in a year.  The Cottage Grove facility is located in Sen. Bigham’s Senate district.

“We expect our corporations to follow the law when it comes to protecting Minnesotans from hazardous waste and its adverse impact on their health and safety,” said Sen. Bigham.  “Clearly, 3M has not taken the rules, or its responsibility to uphold them, seriously for many years.  This is the second time in a year that 3M has been fined, and MPCA is still investigating.  The state needs to look at how it can better hold 3M accountable and explore toughening penalties on corporations that put Minnesotans’ health at risk.”

Actions Required Under MPCA Findings

MPCA’s investigation found that 3M inaccurately identified the hazardous waste it sent to its incinerators as non-hazardous, and it failed to track its waste to determine what hazardous elements it contains.  It also stored hazardous waste containers in unapproved areas, and for more than the one-year limit.

The company must increase oversight, tracking and inspection of its waste and improve record keeping about waste generated at the Cottage Grove facility.

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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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