In 2011, Washington became the first state in the union to ban coal-tar sealants by passing HB 1721, which I sponsored when still in the House of Representatives. When it rains, the storm water runoff carries with it chemicals from these sealants that can be seriously harmful to the environment. I was glad to hear that Minnesota just joined Washington in banning these sealants.

I had the opportunity to work with key environmental stakeholders in getting this environmental protection into law, and I’m honored that Friends of the Mississippi River recognized me in their letter announcing the passage of the legislation:

 

 

To whom it may concern,

In a major (an unexpected) victory for water quality and public health, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill phasing out the use of coal tar sealants in Minnesota.

Effective January 1st 2014, no person shall apply coal tar sealant products on asphalt-pavement surfaces, nor sell a coal tar sealant product that is formulated or marketed for application on asphalt-paved surfaces. This bill was passed on May 20th, and is now awaiting Governor Dayton’s signature.

A link to FMR’s e-newsletter article on the subject is available here:

http://www.fmr.org/news/current/coal_tar_ban_passes-2013-05

The bill was introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives by Representative Rick Hansen. It passed and was included in the House’s version of the Omnibus Legacy Bill. The Senate version of the Omnibus Legacy Bill did not include the provision, but it survived conference committee and was in the final version of both bills. The House and Senate passed the Omnibus Legacy Bill on Monday, May 20th 2013.

Special thanks to our friends in the USGS, The State of Washington, Senator David Frockt, local sealant contractors, Baylor University, and the many environmental researchers and educators who provided the information that made this victory possible.

Trevor A. Russell

Watershed Program Director

Friends of the Mississippi River

360 North Robert Street, Suite 400

Saint Paul, MN 55101