"the MPCA also said that the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) studies to start limiting pollution and reducing contamination in these impaired waters need not be completed until 2029!
"The MPCA still has not restarted the mercury TMDL study of the St. Louis River that the Agency derailed in 2013.
"Finally, the MPCA has refused to list any wild rice waters impaired due to sulfate pollution. Despite commitments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 2012, the Agency has never listed even one Minnesota wild rice impaired water!"
|St. Louis River at Jay Cooke State Park|
Photo by J. Harrington
Since Minnesota's Governor, Mark Dayton, has made this a Year of Water Action, I had hopes that my comments, along with those of others who care about Minnesota's water quality and public health and environmental justice, might do some good. I guess some of the staff at the MPCA may not have received the memo about Water Action legacy. I'm going to quote the entire body of the message I finally received in response to my comments.
"Thank you for your recent message regarding the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) draft 2016 impaired waters list, and for sharing your concerns about mercury contamination in fish, and sulfate impacts on wild rice in Minnesota.
"Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, states submit lists of impaired waters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) every two years for review and approval. Following the close of MPCA’s public comment period, the state will submit a final 2016 impaired waters list to U.S. EPA. U.S. EPA will take your concerns into consideration as it reviews MPCA’s final impaired waters list. Thank you for your interest in protecting the quality of Minnesota waters." (emphasis added)
|St Louis River at Duluth Harbor|
Photo by J. Harrington
My understanding of an ethic is that it goes beyond laws and regulations and motivates those who hold it to do what's called for above and beyond minimum legal requirements. At least that's what I believe caring is supposed to be all about. My reading of the MPCA response above is that the agency is "passing the buck" to EPA (you know, that same federal agency that "protected" the water supply of the citizens of Flint, MI). Given EPA's "emergency protection," MPCA's deferral to EPA is not what I would hope for or expect from an agency that should be setting an example in how to live up to the Governor's statement “It is time now to take action, as individuals and as a state, to leave a legacy of clean, safe, affordable water for ourselves, and for future generations of Minnesotans.” Mercury and sulfate impaired waters that won't be improved for decades even after they exist as known problems isn't the kind of legacy I'd want for future generations.
Dear Mr. Fanelli,
I saw your picturein the 79th streetstation. You saidyou’d be interestedin any comments Imight have on thecondition of thestation Mr. Fanelli,there is a lot ofdebris in the 79th streetstation that makes itunpleasant to wait infor more than a fewminutes. The stationcould use a paintjob and maybenew speakers so youcould understandthe delay announcementsthat are always beingbroadcast. Mr.Fanelli—there area lot of people sleepingin the 79th street station& it makes me sadto think they have nohome to go to. Mr.Fanelli, do you thinkyou could find a morecomfortable place for themto rest? It’s pretty noisyin the subway, especiallyall those express trainshurtling through everyfew minutes, anyway when thetrains are in service.I have to admit, Mr. Fanelli, Ithink the 79th street station’sin pretty bad shape& sometimes at nightas I toss in my bedI think the world’snot doing too goodeither, & Iwonder what’s goingto happen, where we’reheaded, if we’reheaded anywhere, ifwe even have heads. Mr.Fanelli, do you think ifwe could just startwith the 79th streetstation & do whatwe could with thatthen maybe we could,you know, I guess, moveon from there? Mr.Fanelli, when I saw yourpicture & the signasking for suggestionsI thought, ifyou really wanted toget to the bottomof what’s wrong thenmaybe it was my jobto write to you: Maybeyou’ve never been insidethe 79th street stationbecause you’re so busymanaging the 72nd street& 66th street stations,maybe you don’t knowthe problems we haveat 79th—I mean thedirt & frequentdelays & the feeling oftotal misery thatpervades the place. Mr.Fanelli, are you readingthis far in the letteror do you get somany letters every daythat you don’t havetime to give eachone the close attentionit desires? Or am Ithe only person who’staken up your invitationto get in touch &you just don’t have enoughexperience to know how torespond? I’m sorryI can’t get your attentionMr. Fanelli because I reallybelieve if you askfor comments then youought to be willingto act on them—evenif ought is toobig a word to throwaround at this point.Mr. FanelliI hope you won’tthink I’m rudeif I ask you apersonal question. Doyou get out of theoffice much?Do you go to the moviesor do you prefersports—or maybequiet evenings at alocal restaurant? Doyou read much, Mr. Fanelli?I don’t mean justGibbons and likethat, but philosophy—have you read muchHanna Arendt ordo you prefera more ideologicalperspective?I think if I understoodwhere you are coming from,Mr. Fanelli, I couldwrite to you more cogently,more persuasively. Mr.Fanelli, do you get outof the city at all—Imean like up to BearMountain or out toMontauk? I mean do younotice how unpleasantthe air is in the 79thstreet station—that wecould use some coolingor air-filtering systemdown there? Mr.Fanelli, do you thinkit’s possible wecould get togetherand talk aboutthese things inperson? There area few other pointsI’d like to go overwith you if I couldget the chance. ThingsI’d like to talk toyou about but thatI’d be reluctant toput down on paper.Mr. Fanelli, I haven’tbeen feeling very goodlately and I thoughtmeeting with you faceto face might changemy mood, might putme into a new frameof mind. Maybe wecould have lunch?Or maybe after work?Think about it, Mr.Fanelli.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.