Tell the Senate: Fund the Trust Fund!

Minnesota Capitol / photo: (CC BY 2.0)

The Minnesota Legislature has been meeting remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. While the primary focus has been on important critical emergency response, there  are recent developments we’d like to share with you.

First, some good news—last week the Minnesota Senate voted to ban the use of trichloroethylene (TCE), a toxic cancer-causing chemical. The bill is one step closer to becoming the first state restrictions on this industrial solvent since a local manufacturer, Water Gremlin Co., exposed nearby communities to this chemical at unsafe levels for years.

On May 4, 2020 a bill that invests $61.4 million from Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (Trust Fund) in projects across the state was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee. But according to a letter from the Senate, it will not pass a Trust Fund bill this session. This would impact critical research to determine if COVID-19 can be spread through wastewater systems and other important initiatives, like:

  • $1.4 million for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to study and develop strategies to manage per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in treated sewage sludge that’s applied to farm fields, where crops to feed livestock are grown.
  • $425,000 for U of M professors to research microplastics in the environment, and how those can serve as vehicles to transport other contaminants such as pesticides.

Tell your Senator to pass an Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund bill this year.