State seeking $5 billion in suit against 3M over groundwater contamination

$5 billion. The Pioneer Press’ Bob Shaw writes: “Minnesota is seeking $5 billion in damages from 3M Co. in what could become one of the largest environmental lawsuits in the nation’s history. In Hennepin County District Court documents filed Friday, the attorney general charged that chemicals manufactured by Maplewood-based 3M have damaged human health and the environment. … A study cited by the attorney general concluded there was a ‘statistically significant’ increase in cancer rates for people living in Oakdale, one of the communities affected by the pollution.The study blamed the chemicals for an increase in premature births, babies with a low birth-weight, and infertility. 3M attorneys said, as they have for more than a decade, that the tiny traces of the perfluorochemicals in drinking water have never been proven to cause any health effect.”

Following accusations by a second woman against U.S. Sen. Al FrankenThe New York Times’ Sheryl Stolberg and Jonathan Martin report: “even as Mr. Franken’s allies insisted that he had no plans to step down, Democratic officials acknowledged that his fate was largely contingent on his colleagues, particularly women in his party, not abandoning him. So far, none have … . If just one Senate Democrat says Mr. Franken should quit, it would heighten the pressure on Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, to take action.”

But at Politico, Elana Schor and Seung Min Kim say: “The left is starting to turn against Sen. Al Franken after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct, with some liberal groups calling on the Democrat to resign. … But questions are growing about whether Franken — a prolific fundraiser and occasional presence on 2020 presidential lists — can hang on. The accusations against him have handed Republicans ammunition in the midst of the Alabama Senate race, which has been dominated by sexual assault allegations against GOP candidate Roy Moore.” 

In an op-ed for the Times, Michelle Goldberg, who wrote earlier that Franken should resign, now says: “It’s easy to condemn morally worthless men like Trump; it’s much harder to figure out what should happen to men who make valuable political and cultural contributions, and whose alleged misdeeds fall far short of criminal. Learning about all the seemingly good guys who do shameful things is what makes this moment, with its frenzied pace of revelations, so painful and confounding. Personally, I’m torn by competing impulses. I want to see sexual harassment finally taken seriously but fear participating in a sex panic. My instinct is often to defend men I like, but I don’t want to be an enabler or a sucker. I try not to be a hypocrite, while being aware that the right plays on the media’s desire to seem fair-minded, which is part of what led to wildly excessive coverage of Hillary Clinton’s emails during the presidential campaign, among other distortions. ”

A rebound in Rochester. For MPR, Catherine Richert says: “The Rochester Art Center says that after years of financial difficulty, major budgeting changes are starting to pay off. Art center leaders said that layoffs this spring, an overhaul of expensive vendor contracts and other actions are improving finances. The art center is digging out from years of financial mismanagement. A 2015 audit showed grave concerns about its ability to stay open. That same warning remains in a 2016 audit, but accountants note that better budgeting shows some positive signs for the coming year.”

Seems harsh. Also for MPR, Dan Kraker reports: “About 300 employees of Duluth-based Essentia Health could lose their jobs for refusing to comply with the company’s new mandatory flu shot policy. Monday is the deadline for the company’s 15,000 employees to get the vaccine, or receive a medical or religious exemption. Essentia says 98 percent have complied.”

More Cornish. The Strib’s Jennifer Bjorhus writes, “Rep. Tony Cornish, facing an investigation into sexual harassment allegations by women he worked with at the State Capitol, was accused years ago of aggressive behavior toward his ex-wife. In 1990, a Koochiching County judge granted Cornish’s ex-wife Mary a domestic abuse protection order against him. … A copy of the one-year protection order, dated July 23, 1990, offers scant details of the circumstances, saying only that ‘the evidence justifies issuance of the order.’ It also instructed Cornish to participate in divorce counseling.”

Just … wow. S.M. Chavey and Mara Gottfried of the PiPress report, “A state trooper responded to the scene of a crash last week near Fairview and Hague avenues in St. Paul to find six damaged cars and one drunken-driving suspect — a St. Paul police officer, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court. Cory James Kochendorfer, 38, of Woodbury, had a 0.24 blood alcohol concentration 2 hours and 23 minutes after the accident, the complaint said. He was charged with two counts of third-degree driving while under the influence of alcohol. The legal limit in Minnesota is 0.08.” 

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 11/21/2017 - 07:48 am.

    Franken needs to stay where he is

    I’ve been very critical of Franken but the calls for resignation seem strangely disproportionate to the offense.

    There are many agendas churning here and none of them would result in improved Senate representation for MN. Franken needs to man up and serve out his term. That he will be the butt of jokes while doing so will simply be poetic justice.

  2. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/21/2017 - 08:38 am.

    This is why the Left loses

    Franken admitted and apologized for one incident. The second allegation seems questionable. Yet the Left wants to crucify him even though he’s done everything he possibly could other then turn back time. Meanwhile, the Right elects sexual harassers and pedophiles that lie about the claims. And people wonder why the left is so weak.

    As things stand now, Franken did what he should do. Move on.

  3. Submitted by Howard Salute on 11/21/2017 - 12:04 pm.

    We need Franken as a bargaining chip

    Many agree than Franken is a despicable human being. His brand of humor is often tasteless. He bashes those he disagrees with in the name of humor. As an individual, I don’t like him. But, in many respects, we are stuck with him. If there can be an agreement that all predators must leave office, then I would be happy to say good bye to Al. Until then, he should hang on and be used as a bargaining chip.

    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 11/21/2017 - 04:46 pm.

      “Many” may agree that Franken is despicable,

      But they are ridiculous. There are many despicable human beings in elected office. Franken is not one of them. The fact that you find his humor often tasteless doesn’t make him despicable. From all evidence there are few in high office as committed as he is to advancing humane policies for the general welfare and resisting those who would injure the majority for the enrichment of the few.

  4. Submitted by Susan Lesch on 11/21/2017 - 01:09 pm.

    Mr. Lambert

    Usually your commentary is right on but please be more careful than today when you said it “Seems harsh.” that Essentia employees can lose their jobs if they don’t get a flu vaccine or a waiver.

    Our society is still learning in the face of Andrew Wakefield, the guy who scared a generation away from vaccines, and then was kicked off the UK register of MDs. It is unbelievably hard to undo the damage done by Wakefield even though The Lancet retracted his paper. Essentia policy is exacty the one we need to combat real, honest to goodness fake news.

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