ST. PAUL — Legislation to ban trichloroethylene (TCE) is moving forward in the Minnesota House of Representatives. On Feb. 24, the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee unanimously approved HF 3376, authored by Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL-White Bear Township). The bill would prohibit use of TCE, a chemical that increases risks for certain types of cancer and other serious health issues.
“Far too many facilities are using toxic chemicals that put workers, communities and our environment at risk,” said Rep. Wazlawik. “People from the White Bear area and other communities that have been exposed to toxic chemicals are urging us to do more to protect Minnesotans. My community inspired me to lead the fight to ban the carcinogenic chemical TCE. I’m pleased that my bill is advancing with bipartisan support.”
Rep. Wazlawik’s bill would prohibit use of TCE after Jan. 1, 2022. Facilities with air quality permits would need to replace TCE with a safer, less toxic alternative.
The legislation is part of a new plan to protect workers, communities and the environment that Rep. Wazlawik and House DFLers introduced last month. The plan addresses concerns that community members shared with legislators regarding a series of problems at the Water Gremlin facility in White Bear Township. Last year, state officials found that Water Gremlin had exceeded state health limits for TCE emissions and failed to report accurate emissions data for more than 15 years.
Next stop for this bill is the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division.