Water quality discussions (7/20/2017)

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By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 7/20/2017

Hello from the State Capitol,

An update from a story first reported in May regarding industrial chemicals being found in groundwater, most specifically in Cottage Grove. 3M Co. recently announced that it will not pay cleanup costs, even though it acknowledges manufacturing the chemicals.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency had billed the company for costs related to drinking water chemicals being discovered in the area. But 3M believes that in this instance, the chemicals could have come from other sources.

I was disappointed with this news, and I’ve been in contact with 3M to share my thoughts. The company has done the right thing in the past, and I was surprised by its decision.

My expectation is that the responsible parties for this contamination – not the taxpayers – will pay for this cleanup. I have also contacted the Minnesota Department of Health in order to ensure that Cottage Grove and Washington County residents will not be forced to pay for these costs. I will keep you posted on any further developments.

In addition to the water quality discussions, I’ve also been out and about over the past few weeks attending government functions and meeting with area residents and businesses.

For example, I attended a Canadian American Business Council luncheon with Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale to learn more about commerce between the two nations.

I also traveled to Hutchinson for an event hosted by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and Minnesota Soy Research and Promotion Council. Here we discovered how soy based sealants are being used on streets in Hutchinson to extend road life. Not only does this save money for taxpayers, but also opens a new market for Minnesota’s soybean growers.

State Representative Keith Franke and I toured John Strohfus’ hemp farm in Denmark Township recently. Hemp from this farm is being used for food and in other organic products. I’m pleased this versatile crop is being produced locally – and successfully – by Strohfus and others.

I was able to participate in a Minnesota Civil Air Patrol flight recently, and we were able to fly over our district including Afton, Denmark Township, Hastings, Nininger Township and Cottage Grove.

The Civil Air Patrol helps with search and rescue missions and has a great youth cadet program to teach leadership.

I also participated in a Medicaid town hall meeting in Cottage Grove on Tuesday. More than 50 area residents were able to attend, filling the council chambers plus an overflow room.

As many of you know, summer is the season for parades, and I have been able to meet with many of you at these local gatherings.

We saw great turnout at the Strawberry Festival parade in Cottage Grove where Rep. Franke and I were pleased to walk with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon team.

Afton’s 4th of July parade is also a hit with area residents – and a popular place to be when celebrating our nations’ independence.

Rivertown Days in Hastings is also upon us, and I will be walking in that parade as well on Sunday and look forward to seeing you there!

An early reminder: National Night Out/Night to Unite festivities will be taking place on Tuesday, August 1. It’s a great time to get together to meet and visit with your neighbors. I plan on attending several of these events within the district. If you’d like me to attend your National Night Out event, please contact my office. Call 651-296-3135 or email me at rep.tony.jurgens@house.mn and we will try to work you into the schedule.

Another event to be aware of and thinking about is the State Capitol Grand Opening from Aug. 11th – 13th. I’ll send more information on that soon.

Have a good weekend,

Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

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