A bit of winter, our first snow has arrived!
It has been a busy week. On Monday, I attended the Crow Wing County Association of Township’s fall meeting. Township officers received updates from the county, DNR and their association leadership on items of local importance.
Tuesday afternoon, I was up at Virginia dealing with a proposed MPCA rule change on sulfate water quality standards. The MPCA is proposing a new rule on sulfate discharges from municipal sewage treatment plants, mining operations and other industrial activities that may discharge sulfate into public waters. We know the current standard is not accurate. The question is do we even need the rule and, if we do, what should it be?
The current MPCA standard has been on the books since 1973, but was never enforced by the agency during the past 50-plus years. It was adopted under the assumption that wild rice was primarily found in low-sulfate waters, thus, in order to protect wild rice, sulfate discharges must be regulated. Without getting mired in a plethora of detail, the proposed rule change is probably not yet ready for prime time.
The estimated cost for city sewage treatment plants across rural Minnesota to add sulfate treatment upgrades is about $1 billion. We all support clean water and do not want to harm wild rice beds, however, we also must base water quality standards on modern fully peer reviewed science. For more info visit this link.
Tuesday evening, the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Citizen’s Advisory Committee met. CCSRA is moving forward on plans for expansion of the bike trail system based on the $3.6 million in bonding money authorized for that purpose. Later this year, we should see an outline and schedule for the work to be done on this multi-year project.
Wednesday afternoon and part of the evening, I attended the Enbridge Line 3 replacement administrative law hearing at Crosslake. A variety of well thought out opinions were presented. I remain deeply concerned that if we do not replace Line 3 that could result in adding a new train every 1 hour, 12 minutes going through downtown Brainerd, Deerwood, Aitkin, McGregor and Tamarack.
Half would carry a full load of crude oil and the other half would be empty oil trains returning to reload.