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Additional emissions data on large polluters could be provided to PCA

The Pollution Control Agency could get more frequent updates on whether emissions levels at the state's largest air polluters are safe.

HF1037, sponsored by Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL-White Bear Township), would require 15 of the state's biggest polluters to send emissions data to the agency each month.

Under existing law, permitted facilities are required to submit emissions data once a year on six of the most common air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. But for 187 other hazardous pollutants, they only need to submit records every three years and only if it's a condition of their permit, though they are encouraged to do so anyway.

The 15 facilities would also be required to undergo emissions testing every one to five years.

As amended, the bill was laid over Thursday by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee. It has no Senate companion.

"We want to make sure that these facilities that pose the greatest risk to human health and the environment in our state are actually emitting what they say they're emitting," Wazlawik said.

The PCA relies on self-reporting when it comes to emissions data, Assistant Commissioner Greta Gauthier said. That's led to cases in which the agency hasn't adequately monitored polluters, notably in the case of White Bear Lake-based Water Gremlin, which failed to report accurate emissions data for over 15 years.

Gauthier said the agency would like more time to work with Wazlawik on the bill.

Republicans asked how the 15 facilities would be selected. The bill requires the PCA to select them using the MNrisks tool or another model that measures environmental risks posed by facilities.

Rep. Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven) said conversation around the bill makes the case for increasing the PCA's budget.

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