In a front page Star Tribune article, High water opens sinkholes, shifts foundations in south Minneapolis, Eric Roper reports on the neighborhood meeting about the high water levels in south Minneapolis. Roper provides a good update for those following the issue.
Sally Jo Sorensen, an insightful blogger with deep rural roots, provides needed background for an issue that will turn out to be one of the most contentious in this state: solving the problem of farm chemicals polluting Minnesota’s drinking water. THIS IS NEW. Until now most of the discussion about water pollution has been confined to lakes, rivers, and streams so the impact, while important, has not been seen as pressing.
In her blog, Sorensen doesn’t pull any punches when she comments on the response of rural legislators to an update to part of the Department of Agriculture’s proposed nitrogen fertilizer rule. They said, “no one listens to us.” Sorenson notes that they always talk about how much they want clean water and calls out their “Orwellian talking points.”
Agricultural chemical interests want people to believe that no urban or suburban legislator has a right to weigh in on the drinking water issue.
But the Mississippi River is the drinking water source for a million Minnesotans. The Crow River, contaminated by agricultural chemicals, enters the Mississippi just 20 miles north of the drinking water intakes for Minneapolis and St. Paul, drinking water suppliers for many suburbs as well as their own residents. And there is no useful source water protection plan for the Mississippi.
Further no state agency routinely tests river water specifically for drinking water contamination even where the river is the source water for drinking water. Source water needs to be tested in order to understand what must be checked in finished water and to prevent contamination. Other states protect their cities drinking water sources when the sources are surface water so there are models Minnesota can adopt.
Those of us who drink Mississippi River water must weigh in.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that Minnesota’s own General Mills announced that they will be creating South Dakota’s largest organic crop farm to supply all the wheat it needs for its popular macaroni and cheese.
It has been clear for years that General Mills would need new sources for organic ingredients to meet consumer demands. Inquiring minds are asking why didn’t Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture make sure that this farm with all the anticipated local benefits landed in Minnesota.