City of Minneapolis has plan for using Northern Metals funds

January 18, 2019 02:11 PM

The City of Minneapolis has a plan for how to use the more than half-a-million dollars it received from Northern Metals.

The settlement was reached after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found in 2016 that the company was contributing to poor air quality.

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The Northern Metals Advisory Committee, made up of community members, was formed to decide how to use $600,000 awarded to Minneapolis.

"Getting money directly into the hands of families to directly benefit people impacted by the lead and asthma overburden," said Sam Grant, who facilitates the committee. 

"There are a lot of people in the community that are really concerned."

RELATED: Judge orders Northern Metals to shut down part of North Minneapolis operations

The committee developed four strategies. 

They include a mobile laboratory to provide blood lead level testing and gift cards for children who have their blood tested. It also pays for providing people with equipment, like air filters, to reduce asthma triggers in homes.

In all, about $308,000 will go toward asthma mitigation, $92,000 will go toward asthma outreach and education, $75,000 is set aside for lead poisoning prevention education and $124,000 will be used for blood level testing.

Grant said a community health worker will meet people at their homes or schools.

"Having families know, based on our assessment of your house, here are the biggest impacts, the biggest possible triggers," he said. "Here are five things we think will help. Here's how they work.

"Based on what you know your child needs, which one of these things do you want to try first?"

He said outreach events and a door- to-door campaign will likely start in March. But before then, the city will work on contracts with organizations to provide the services.

They have until March of 2020 to allocate the funds.

"We're really hoping this strategy with the $600,000 is the beginning of a longer-term process to really do a thorough assessment of the environmental justice overburden, and make sure every single family living in North and Northeast Minneapolis is going to be okay," Grant said.

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