Governor Tim Walz, Attorney General Ellison and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Kessler are requested to deny a disputed case request by Water Gremlin and issue an air emissions permit as written in the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) draft permit in February 2023.
Water Gremlin is a manufacturing company located in a residential area of White Bear. Fined $4.5 million in the January 2019 clause agreement Due to flagrant violations of its air emissions permit (the second largest in Minnesota history), this company avoided obtaining an air emissions permit for four years. The stipulation agreement issued in January 2019 was a short-term guide to the company’s air emissions regulation.
Our elected officials need to step up and find a way to cut through the red tape and issue that pass. Our government cannot be held hostage by serial abusers like the Water Gremlin who threaten legal action to avoid regulation.
A draft permit was released for public comment in August of 2022 and challenged by Water Gremlin. A revised draft permit was released for public comment in February of 2023 and is now being challenged again by the Water Gremlin.
At this point, the MPCA can deny the contested status application and issue the permit (yes. please!), sDismissing the permit (again) or granting the contested status application (another delay).
Long-term use of hazardous chemicals in Water Gremlin violations are serious and endanger the health of the surrounding community. The violations call into question the Water Gremlin’s ability and intent to operate safely. It must be regulated by an official flight permit.
How can this serial offender threaten legal action and still avoid/delay permit issuance? Our government must have the power, the authority and the will to crack down on these bad actors.
Please note that Water Gremlin no longer uses TCE. However, they do use t-DCE Sister chemical the minnesota department of health has established health values that are incorporated into the permit. This permit must be issued to enforce the latest health values.
The MPCA has met with the community regularly to hear our feedback. There were thousands of hours invested by dedicated government agents. The statement is powerful and well written. The question then becomes, are government hands tied by serial offenders when legal action is threatened? Is this how bad guys keep getting away with things?
Gremlin water emitted TCE (a chemical carcinogen known to affect the immune system) higher than the level allowed for decades. 2002-2018 Water Gremlin did not stay within the permitted TCE emissions level. In fact, even in its best year (2004) its emissions were 2.4 times the permissible level. In its worst year (2018) They were 18 times the permissible level. Community members (including families and children in the “hot spot”) were unaware that they were breathing polluted air during this time.
The violations didn’t stop with the $4.5 million fine on top of the $1.5 million in supplemental projects assessed in the 2019 stipulation agreement. Since then, there have been additional agreement provision, additional administrative orders from the MPCA, hazardous waste violations, and lead poisoning of child workers. , etc. In total, 95 Water Gremlin lawsuits were filed in 2023 by citizens who feel they can prove that Water Gremlin violations affected their health.
The Governor of Wales, Attorney General Ellison and Commissioner Kessler are requested to decline the application for the disputed case and issue the permit as written.
Kelly Tabkan is a resident of White Bear, Minnesota and an NCCG board member.