East Metro Residents Weigh in on Use of Money from 3M Settlement

April 03, 2018 10:38 PM

Dozens of east metro residents gathered Tuesday in Cottage Grove for the first of three public hearings regarding how to use money from a lawsuit settlement made by 3M.

3M settled a lawsuit in February with the state regarding the disposal of perfluorochemicals in the east metro. The state had sited multiple studies as it prepared to argue that the industrial waste containing PFCs could cause a higher rate of cancer and birth defects among area residents.


With the settlement, 3M will pay the state of Minnesota $850 million. 

RELATED: 3M Settles with State for $850M in PFC Lawsuit 

At Tuesday's meeting, which was hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health, residents from 11 communities gathered to discuss the settlement money and concerns about the possible exposure to PFCs.

"We have a private well and the city of Woodbury has a well on our property, so we know if it's contaminated it affects us," Woodbury resident Doreen Deutsch said.

The Department of Health said exposure to the chemicals can happen discreetly, through a leak or a spill, until it is detected. 

"People should know, even though it's an unfortunate situation that we had any exposure, the concentrations are not at a level long enough for people to have a risk to their children," Ginny Yingling, with the Department of Health, said. 

RELATED: MDH Finds No Link Between 3M and Cancer, Premature Birth Rates in East Metro 

Kirk Koudelka, with the MPCA, explained that because the settlement is a natural resources settlement, projects that benefit from it have to be identified and then prioritized. After legal fees, $720 million is available to invest in alternative sources of drinking water, whether that means treating existing wells, or connecting homes with private wells to municipal systems. 

The second half of the payout is earmarked to restore and enhance natural resources.

RELATED: State Looks at How to Use Money from 3M Settlement 

"How do we meet the community's needs today and into the future," Koudelka asked. "This money allows us to look at a long-term holistic approach."

The MPCA along with the DNR are trustees of the settlement and will oversee how the money is used.


Beth McDonough

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