Citizens invited to forum on St. Louis River mercury issues

On Thursday, Sept.18, Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) will host a citizens' forum on mercury issues in the St. Louis River. The forum will be at Clyde Iron Works, 2920 West Michigan Street in Duluth. An open house will begin at 5 p.m., ...

On Thursday, Sept.18, Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) will host a citizens’ forum on mercury issues in the St. Louis River. The forum will be at Clyde Iron Works, 2920 West Michigan Street in Duluth. An open house will begin at 5 p.m., and the program begins at 6 p.m. Minnesota Environmental Partnership is the lead sponsor of the forum, working with nearly a dozen state and local conservation organizations, and the forum is supported by a grant from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation.

The forum is aimed at securing a commitment to reducing mercury pollution in St. Louis River so that fish are safe for human consumption. The St. Louis River mercury clean-up program has been underway since 1998 and forum organizers are eager to see it completed.

All members of the public are welcome to attend. There is no advance registration required and the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served and educational displays will be available.

“Mercury pollution is an important issue that touches a lot of peoples’ lives and affects everybody’s ability to use and enjoy the St. Louis River,” said organizer Andrew Slade of MEP in Duluth.

Steve Morse, executive director of MEP, will kick off the program. A citizen panel will follow, with Len Anderson of Cloquet, Gary Glass, and Dr. Sue Nordin of Duluth providing their personal and professional perspective on the issue of mercury in the St. Louis River and its impact on our communities. This panel will take questions and comments from participants.


“These citizens will tell the story of mercury in the river,” said panel moderator Kristin Larsen of Pequaywan. “People need to know where mercury comes from, how it gets into our bodies, and the impacts it has on our health.”

A second panel will consist of representatives from the four government agencies charged with cleaning up the mercury in the St. Louis River: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Panelists will describe their agency’s commitment to the clean-up process and plans for the next twelve months. This panel will also take questions and comments from participants.

The forum will conclude with a Peoples’ Congress, where participants will review recommendations, giving both government agencies and community groups clear expectations for cleaning up the mercury problems in the river.

Many MEP member organizations are involved in the forum. Participating organizations include Clean Water Action, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest, Izaak Walton League Minnesota Division, W.J. McCabe Chapter Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, MPIRG, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, Save Lake Superior Association, Save Our Sky Blue Waters, Sierra Club North Star Chapter, and WaterLegacy.

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Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a coalition of more than 70 environmental, conservation, and civic organizations working together for clean water, clean energy and protection of our Great Outdoors. MEP engages state leaders, unites environmental efforts and helps citizens take action for the Minnesota they love.

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