Erin Brockovich's Fridley Visit: Everything You Need to Know
A Fridley Patch FAQ about Brockovich's June 27 visit to Fridley.
Consumer advocate Erin Brockovich will be in the Twin Cities all day Wednesday, meeting with Fridley residents to talk about their concerns about the city’s elevated cancer rates and high number of Superfund sites.
Here’s Fridley Patch’s rundown of everything we know about the Brockovich visit:
When and where can I see Erin Brockovich?
Brockovich will hold a two-hour town hall meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. June 27 at the 700-seat Fridley High School auditorium. Doors will open to the public at 6 p.m. and admission will be first-come, first-serve, said Kevin Sage, a project manager for Integrated Resource Management, a company that partners with Brockovich. (Doors open for media at 5:30 p.m.) Attendees who arrive before 6 p.m. will be able to either wait outside the high school or in the lobby, depending on the decision of Brockovich’s team, said Stephen Keeler, the district’s facilities coordinator.
Fridley Patch plans to host live, streaming video of the Erin Brockovich townhall meeting at Fridley High School starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday here at the Fridley Patch web page.
What will Erin Brockovich talk about?
Brockovich will speak for 30–45 minutes, said Bob Bowcock, Brockovich’s environmental investigator, during which time she will present her interpretation of historical and anecdotal data collected in the last couple months from citizens and regulatory agencies. During the rest of the meeting Brockovich will listen to residents’ concerns about Fridley’s cancer cases. The investigation has already cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Will members of regulatory and government agencies be participating?
It’s unclear what the extent of their participation will be, but Bowcock said that government agencies have been extremely cooperative and he plans to invite members of regulatory agencies—including Karla Peterson, the supervisor of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Community Public Water Unit—to sit in on the town hall meeting. The Fridley City Council is officially calling the townhall meeting a special council meeting. That allows a quorum of the council to "attend and participate" without being in violation of Minnesota's open-meeting law. Update: The state Department of Health and City of Fridley will not participate in the Erin Brockovich townhall meeting (see new post).
In March 2012, the Minnesota Department of Health reported the official number of cancer cases in Fridley was 10 percent higher than the state average. Upon further study, the department later revised that number to 7.6 percent and said the still higher-than-average number of cancer cases in Fridley was nothing more than a statistical anomaly, largely attributable to the area’s heightened smoking rates.
What else will Erin Brockovich be doing in Fridley during her visit?
Brockovich and Bowcock are driving to Minnesota Tuesday night from Wisconsin. Bowcock said that Brockovich will try to tour some of Fridley’s Superfund sites on Wednesday before the town hall meeting. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) counts four Fridley locations—FMC Corp., Kurt Manufacturing Co., Fridley Commons Park Well Field and the Naval Industrial Reserve Ordnance Plant—on its Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), the agency’s catalogue of the most hazardous of the nation’s hazardous waste sites.
What’s next for Fridley?
The goal of the visit, Bowcock said, is to determine the next step for Brockovich’s organization to take based on input from Fridley residents. In the future, they may pay to retest soil, working with federal and state agencies to avoid redundant costs. “On cases like this, I’ve spent as little as $10,000 and as much as $10 million,” Bowcock said.
What else would you like to know?
Leave a comment below and we'll try to find out. Be sure to check out the Fridley Patch "Cancer Concerns" topic page for all of our posts in one place, including our interactive map of Fridley cancer cases, the City of Fridley's video on cancer questions, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's new web page on Fridley.
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