Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Commissioner's Statement Supporting MPCA Decision on Fillmore County Feedlot Permit


December 19, 2018

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm issued the following statement today in support of a decision by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to deny a permit for the proposed Catalpa feedlot in Fillmore County.

Protecting drinking water is a top priority for public health, and preventing problems is much less expensive than addressing them after the fact. In those areas of the state where our sources of drinking water are most vulnerable to contamination, it is particularly important that we take a cautious approach.

The geology and topography of southeastern Minnesota’s karst region make it extremely vulnerable to water contamination. For example, 19 of 24 townships in Fillmore County had 10 percent or more of tested private wells at or above the health risk limit for nitrates. The other five townships has less than 10 percent of tested private wells at or above the health risk limit. Nitrates in drinking water can cause blue baby syndrome in bottle-fed infants less than 6 months old and may increase the risk of harm for people with certain health conditions. Preventing additional problems is far less costly than leaving it to additional private well owners or communities to treat their water for nitrates.

We concur with the MPCA that a regional environmental study of groundwater pollution should be conducted so that we can develop a comprehensive approach to protecting drinking water in southeastern Minnesota. Getting a solid picture of all of the sources of nitrate contamination in groundwater will benefit farmers, businesses, policy makers and area residents.


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