Late last Friday the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the $538 million omnibus legacy finance bill (HF 1183). One of the amendments to the bill is a the statewide ban of coal tar sealcoats. After vigorous floor debate on other elements of the legislation, the measure passed 70 to 55.
The amendment was offered by the sponsor of the sealant ban legislation, Representative Rick Hansen. Recently Representative Hansen discussed on this site why he brought this bill forward (see A Legislator’s View of Minnesota’s Proposed Coal Tar Sealant Ban). The only question on the floor was about the timing of the implementation of the ban. It would go into effect January 1, 2014 to allow sealant companies to work through their existing stock of coal tar sealant. This is a reasonable accommodation for businesses since they typically try to work through a season’s supply before winter because it will be ruined and unusable if it freezes.
The State of Minnesota leads the nation in many aspects of addressing coal tar sealant pollution. They have done more research, worked with more contractors, and encouraged more communities to deal with this problem than any other state. That is why there are no fewer than 29 communities that have passed bans around the state. Additional communities are waiting on the fate of this bill to determine if local bans is will be necessary or not.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. The first stop (and hopefully not the last) is the Finance Committee.