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Another interesting bill

Posted at 12:04 PM on February 27, 2008 by Michael Marchio

In 2005, a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency researcher began uncovering traces of toxic chemicals from a 3M Scotchguard plant near Woodbury. Later that year, officials admitted that the chemicals that had been seeping into the ground for 50 years may be dangerous. Residents of the East Metro will remember this - they're living it. You can find the whole story here.

In April, this piece explored the agency's internal disagreements on how to proceed. As a result of the MPR investigation, the MPCA promised to bring in an independent third party to review the agency's policy toward the contamination.

SF2973 seems to be part of the independent look at the problem. Sponsored by Sen. Sandy Rummel (DFL-White Bear Lake), the bill would establish a MPCA ombudsman to act as a conduit for information between the agency and the 140,000 residents in the East Metro believed to be affected by the contamination. Public pressure has pushed the agency to find out how dangerous these chemicals may be, and part of the ombudsman's job would be to keep the agency honest, essentially, by independently monitoring the cleanup, and sponsoring meetings to tell the public how far along it is and how much it is costing. It has been sent to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee for a hearing, but none has yet been scheduled.

Perhaps a moment of silence is in order for William F. Buckley, who went to the great free market in the sky this morning. He died at his desk, which seems fitting. Regardless of how one feels about his opinions - and he had no shortage of controversial ones - the tenor of his show, Firing Line, makes the way our current political commentators bark at each other look fairly embarrassing.