NCCG was invited to speak at Representative Wazlawik’s press conference on 2/13/2020, outlining legislation that was being brought forward as a result of learnings from the Water Gremlin event. Following is our statement.
Thank you Representative Wazlawik for inviting me to speak on behalf of the white bear area.
You’ve outlined the many violations by Water Gremlin and how that has driven you to put forth legislation to better protect Minnesota.
What Water Gremlin did to the White Bear area community is extreme. Community members are angry and afraid. Over the past year, we have been very vocal about …the harm done to our community …we have been very vocal about the change that needs to happen …and we will continue to be very vocal in demanding accountability for the harm that has been done to us.
While this legislation is too late for White Bear, this legislation does have have the power to protect other Minnesota communities, Because, if this can happen in White Bear, a residential community, surrounded by lakes, trails and wetlands, this can happen anywhere.
A year ago I did not expect to be standing here. Community or environmental activism is not in my DNA. What is in my DNA is a strong sense of right and wrong. And, when I started to comprehend the level of wrong that this company has done, I took action. What is encouraging is that I’m not the only citizen taking action – there are dozens of other citizens who actively insert their voice and their ideas into the conversation, including my fellow Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group board members. The community is as outraged as I am and they are as active as I am on these issues.
I am fearful my children, who are now 15, 15 and 18 and have lived just a quarter a mile from Water Gremlin for 14 years will be sick in the future because of the highly excessive levels of TCE that have been put in to the air. Let me define that excessive emission. In 2018, Water Gremlin, according to their self reporting, put over 120 tons of TCE into the air. They had a permit for 10 tons per year. They also grossly exceeded their permit for 15+ years prior – the same years that my kids were spending lots of quality time outside, breathing in the toxic air, just a quarter mile down the road.
I am supportive of the legislation discussed today and I am thankful for all of the support our community has received. But, talking about it is not enough. So, thank you all for telling our story and using it to drive meaningful change