St. Cloud welcomes MPCA Commissioner to discuss budget initiatives, agency priorities

Contact: Dave Verhasselt, 612-718-7670

The recently-announced One Minnesota state budget, proposed by Governor Tim Walz, is helping to shape priorities for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and its work throughout Minnesota. MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop will visit St. Cloud today to meet with educators and students to discuss wastewater treatment, and food waste reduction-related priorities.

Commissioner Bishop’s first stop will be at St. Cloud Community & Technical College from 9:30-11:30 a.m., to discuss a policy proposal that will help smaller cities recruit wastewater treatment operators. SCCTC’s Water Environment Technologies program is one of two accredited programs in Minnesota that offer degrees in the field of wastewater treatment (the other being Vermillion Community College). Bishop will meet with program instructor Gregg Kropp to learn more about SCCTC’s program and the potential for strengthening state-local partnerships to help meet wastewater treatment challenges facing communities throughout the state.

Food waste reduction will be the focus when Bishop visits Westwood Elementary School from 12:00-1:30 p.m. School district officials, teachers, and students will meet Bishop to discuss a Walz proposal, supported by MPCA that aims to help communities reduce food waste, increase organics processing, and avoid long-term landfill costs. More than 30% of what we throw away is organic material, such as food waste. A large portion of that food could be “rescued” and used to feed people. The rest can be used for animal feed or processed into value-added products such as compost. None of it belongs in landfills. Removing organics from the waste stream will reduce our need for expensive landfills in the future.

Bishop is planning visits around the state to discuss these, and other agency priorities in the coming weeks. Learn more about Governor Walz’s budget priorities for the MPCA on the agency’s web site, pca.state.mn.us, and search “legislative fact sheets”.