Contacts: Ralph Pribble, 651-296-7792 Howard Markus, 651-296-7295 Toll-free: 1-800-657-3864 St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has announced a series of public informational meetings around the state to discuss a plan for cleaning up mercury pollution affecting fish in the state's lakes and rivers. The proposal, which is on the MPCA Web site along with other background information at/water/tmdl/tmdl-mercuryplan.html, specifies how much current mercury levels in fish should be reduced to restore waters that are polluted by mercury. The meetings are scheduled as follows. All take place in regional offices of the MPCA in the listed cities (addresses below).
Date Location Time
Thursday, July 14 St. Paul 6 - 9 p.m.
Friday, July 15 St. Paul 1 - 5 p.m.
Monday, July 18 Duluth 2 - 4 p.m.
and 6- 8 p.m.
Tuesday, July 19 Baxter/Brainerd 2 - 4 p.m.
Wednesday, July 20 Detroit Lakes 2 - 4 p.m.
Thursday, July 21 Marshall 1 - 3 p.m.
Monday, July 25 Rochester 1 - 3 p.m.
At these meetings the MPCA will seek suggestions and comments on the scientific information presented in the draft plan. Comments received will help the agency determine how best to implement the plan after it is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, scheduled for later this summer.
More than 1,200 Minnesota lakes and river segments currently are listed as "impaired waters" because the fish in them have too much mercury in their tissue. Mercury is a toxic metal that can accumulate as it moves through the biological food web to fish and is passed to people who eat them. It can cause serious human health effects, particularly for infants and children. The Minnesota Department of Health issues advisories on eating fish with too much mercury.
The plan calls for a 93 percent reduction in human-caused sources of mercury in order to lower mercury levels in fish. Because so many of the sources of mercury are outside Minnesota's control, the large majority of reductions will have to come at the federal and international level. The plan describes how Minnesota will continue to reduce its mercury releases while also accounting for the needed reductions outside the state.
A formal 30-day solicitation for comments will be placed in the State Register after the meetings. To be added to a notification list for the meetings, contact Howard Markus at the MPCA, 651-296-7295, toll-free at 1-800-657-3864 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brainerd/Baxter: 7678 College Road, Suite 105, Baxter
Detroit Lakes: 714 Lake Ave., Suite 220
Duluth: 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400
Marshall: 1420 E. College Drive, Suite 900
Rochester: 18 Wood Lake Drive SE
St: Paul: 520 Lafayette Road North