A community group in Cottage Grove says it has collected more than 400 signatures on a petition asking for a detailed environmental review for 3M's plan to bring hazardous waste to its incinerator.
The incinerator already burns hazardous waste produced at Cottage Grove and other 3M plants around the country. But there's not enough waste to keep the incinerator going; 3M has been using fossil fuels to burn the waste. The company has asked for permission to bring in flammable wastes from other states.
"We're concerned about our health, and I think our health is more important than profit for 3M," said Marcy Nolte from the Coalition of Concerned Cottage Grove Citizens.
Nolte and others are asking the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to conduct an Environmental Assessment Worksheet. The MPCA said it will decide by the end of the week whether that is needed.
The agency's Jeff Smith says 3M has been burning its own hazardous waste for years, and the proposed permit carefully specifies the types and amounts of flammable waste 3M can bring in.
"They were already permitted to bring those exact same sorts of solvent wastes into the facility and burn that already, they just were 3M waste versus non-3M waste," Smith said.
Smith said 3M operates below its permitted emissions levels, which will not change if the company is allowed to burn other companies' wastes.
A public meeting on the matter will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Cottage Grove Middle School.