Stop the HERC and other biomass combustion

“Minneapolis Burning” (Sept. 24-Oct. 2) was a riveting editorial that should shake every reader into action against the polluting HERC garbage burner in downtown Minneapolis. I couldn’t agree more that city decision makers should shut it down in the interest of cleaner air and public health. That garbage should be considered “biomass” and burned as “renewable energy” is a seriously flawed concept at a time of urgent need for pollution reduction and environmental justice for all people. 

A similar spectre, with the same toxic emissions, has been rearing its head — unaddressed — for over a decade. Rampant outdoor recreational wood burning is smoking out entire neighborhoods across the metro, where children and others with asthma and other respiratory issues are struggling to breathe freer. With asthma as the number one reason for school absenteeism and compromised learning, cleaner air could play a huge role in enhancing accessibility to downtown and other nearby public spaces. It could even help narrow the achievement gap.  

We should all insist that Minneapolis Council Members make our metro safer for all people by requiring cleaner, more prudent choices to biomass combustion, which emits profuse noxious compounds. After all, what could be more important than the right to breathe clean air?  

Julie Mellum
Founder, Take Back the Air