MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota House passed a bill Wednesday to ban the use of toxic chemical TCE. Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign it into law this week, which would make Minnesota the first state to ban TCE.
The bill, authored by Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL-White Bear Township), will protect Minnesotans from the toxic chemical that poses a risk for certain types of cancer and other serious health issues.
The move to ban TCE, or trichloroethylene, began after a manufacturing plant released elevated levels of the cancer-causing chemical for more than 15 years. The people living near Water Gremlin in White Bear Township have been vocal since learning the manufacturing plant put their families at risk.
It resulted in one of the largest state settlements with the company paying $7 million in fines and corrective action. But the White Bear Township community wanted more — they wanted TCE banned to protect others from the toxic chemical.
“No Minnesotan should experience preventable health risks due to exposure to toxic chemicals,” said Rep. Wazlawik. “Today, after months of hard work with community members, we were able to pass a strong TCE ban with bipartisan support.”
The legislation prohibits the use of TCE after June 1, 2022. Facilities with air quality permits will need to replace the chemical with a safer, less toxic alternative by that date. The bill also provides $250,000 in interest-free loans to help small businesses reduce their TCE usage.
The Minnesota Senate passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support two weeks ago.