'Skeleton crew' to manage environmental crises?

Posted at 4:44 PM on June 28, 2011 by Paul Tosto (0 Comments)

Only about 16 of 900 workers will be operating the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in a state government shutdown, MPR News reporter Stephanie Hemphill says.

She writes:


The agency wants to continue three functions it says are critical: responding to environmental emergencies, notifying citizens of air quality alerts, and maintaining safety and health-related equipment at certain landfills and cleanup sites.

Spokesman John Linc Stine says a skeleton crew will respond to environmental emergencies.

"Oftentimes what happens is if there's a spill in a creek or a release to the environment, we'll get a contractor, either Bay West or one of the other environmental cleanup companies we have under contract, out to respond immediately so there's not further damage to the environment or to public health."

Calls from the public about spills or other environmental emergencies go first to the Department of Public Safety.

"They direct those calls to the Pollution Control Agency spills and response staff at PCA," he says. "So we'll have a few people working in that capacity to make sure we're able to respond."

Stine says information about air quality alerts will be on a web page called AIRNow.


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