Amendment to Hazardous Spill Bill Brings Added Security

Updated: 03/28/2013 10:33 PM By: Todd Wilson

Jody McDaniel lives down the road from the Northern Tier Energy Refinery in St. Paul Park.

When I told him that in the state of Minnesota companies that have a hazardous material spill are only required to inform the state duty officer but not local authorities. McDaniel didn't like that.

"I think they should do more to definitely let us know and keep us up to date on what's going on," McDaniel said.

Police Chief Mike Monahan of St. Paul Park says he began checking reports on the Northern Tier Refinery in his town. He says the reports showed significant issues with regards to chemical releases. Monahan says the company notified both state and federal agencies but not St. Paul Park directly.   

Monahan started working with Senator Katie Sieben to amend the law to require companies throughout Minnesota to inform both the state and local agencies. He says this is a safety issue.

"We have a lot of people that live and businesses within several hundred feet of the fence of that refinery," Monahan said.

In a statement by phone, Northern Tier Energy says "they do what is required by law whether it is local, state or federal."

McDaniel says he would feel much safer knowing that local authorities are aware of the problem. He says at least they could help if needed.

The bill just went through its second reading. Its next step is to be heard on the Senate floor.