Rep. Wagenius questions Minnesota’s pollution control approach

Worried that state officials aren’t adequately addressing pollution in Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River, Rep. Jean Wagenius wants the state Pollution Control Agency to focus on additional pollutants, including nitrates and endocrine disruptors.

She spoke at a joint legislative hearing, says a report from the House Public Information Services, and “criticized the PCA for focusing solely on water turbidity and phosphorus pollution in Lake Pepin.”

Wagenius represents Minneapolis and is chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division.

“We’re telling Minnesotans that we’re cleaning up their waters, and that’s what they think we’re doing, but we’re really only looking at two pollutants,” Wagenius said.

The report says:

Gaylen Reetz, PCA regional division director, responded that there are no standards available yet for nitrates or endocrine disruptors in surface water. He said addressing all three issues at once would require developing standards, conducting assessments and coming up with implementation plans for the other pollutants — all of which could delay cleanup efforts.

“Do we wait for the phosphorus until we have nitrogen standards and endocrine disruptor standards?” Reetz said, adding that it is “potentially a very significant policy question.”

Wagenius replied that fixing all the problems separately could be costly to the state.

“I think the policy question is, do we spend money once or do we spend it three times and potentially cost a lot more?” she said.

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