"My name is Beverly Propes. I was a school nurse in Minneapolis for 30 years. In 1989, the giant Minneapolis trash burner (often called “HERC”) was built right where the city’s Black population had been segregated for decades, right where there is one of the highest concentrations of people of color in Minnesota. We have been battling for the right to clean air ever since. My zip code 55411 now has the highest asthma hospitalization rate in the entire state.
Whenever I worked near the HERC, I noticed a much higher percentage of students with asthma. It was so alarming that I made sure to fully assess asthma and other respiratory conditions, refer students to clinics and hospitals, and work with their families so that they took the steps they needed to protect their children’s health. I kept extra inhalers and nebulizers for those with severe asthma, and sometimes these saved lives."
By burning trash, the HERC releases many chemicals that contribute to staggering rates of asthma and other respiratory conditions. Even though Hennepin County owns the trash burner, county officials do not talk about its dangers and harms. It is the #1 source of nitrogen oxides, #2 of PM2.5, #2 of sulfur dioxide, #3 of lead, and #6 of carbon monoxide emissions in the entire county.
County officials present a biased picture of the burner instead of telling the whole truth. They also never inform the public when there are violations, such as in August 2019 when the mercury filter was not operational. They hide behind unjust and inadequate regulations that do not account for concentrating so much pollution in one area, or the hundreds of pollutants that are not required to be filtered or tracked.
Please sign our petition and join people like Stephani, who are taking a stand for clean air and community health!
"My wife and I live just over a mile from the trash burner. We are homeowners who have chosen to live in North Minneapolis, a community that has too long been victimized by concentrated poverty, predatory lenders and landlords, and racism in many forms. The emissions of burning trash from all over the county goes straight into the lungs of North Minneapolis residents like me, my wife, and my neighbors of multiple races, ages, and economic statuses. We North Minneapolis residents should not have to bear the burden of breathing in half the trash of Hennepin County." Stephani Maari Booker, an award-winning poet and artist
While North Minneapolis has been on the frontlines leading this fight for decades, the pollution that leaves the HERC is not restricted there. Hennepin County is made up of 45 cities and 1.27 million people. Each and every one of those people deserves to breathe clean air.
Tell Hennepin County commissioners to stop treating our community like a toxic dumping ground and endangering the health of our neighbors and loved ones.
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