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3M: Hutchinson, Minnesota

3M: Letter from Pilot Project Committee to Fred Hanson, et al.

The Pilot Project Committee
The Minnesota Project XL Multi-Stakeholder Committee

Advising, monitoring, and evaluating Project XL for the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency

Mr. Fred Hanson
EPA Deputy Administrator
401 M Street SW
Washington, DC 20460

Mr. Andrew Ronchak
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

Dr. David A. Sonstegard
Staff Vice President
3M Environmental Technology and Safety Services
900 Bush Avenue
PO Box 33331
St. Paul, MN 55133-3331

Dear Mr. IIanson, Mr. Ronchak, and Dr. Sonstegard:

The Pilot Project Committee (PPC) is writing to commend all of you and your organizations for continuing to work towards reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement for an XL permit/FP at 3M's Hutchinson facility. We also want to review for you the role that our group has played in developing the agreement between 3M and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and what our role will be in the future in independently monitoring and evaluating the implementation by 3M of the XL permit/FPA.

As can be seen from the list of PPC members provided below, our committee is composed of stakeholders from the environmental advocacy community, the business community, environmental engineering and law consulting firms, government, and the University of Minnesota. Moreover, committee members are all experienced in environmental issues so that, as advisors to the MPCA, we provide the agency with valuable expertise.

PPC members have volunteered a considerable amount of their time on Project XL because they believe this experiment is important and share in its goals. This year we have had at least 12 meetings, each lasting two hours or more, spent a full day touring both plants at Hutchinson, discussing operations and plans with 3M staff there, and have spent countless hours reviewing documents and exchanging faxes and e-mail messages. The PPC has made several useful suggestions that have been incorporated into the FPA and permit. PPC members have also provided advice to the MPCA in its drafting of the recently passed state legislation authorizing experiments in regulatory reform such as project XL.

During our deliberations we wrestled a good deal with ways in which to define and measure superior environmental performance (SEP). We came up with three criteria to apply. The highest standard for SEP is for actual emissions to decrease from current levels as production increases at the Hutchinson plant. A second criterion is for emissions per unit of production to decrease. The third standard is for emissions to remain significantly below what otherwise applicable federal and state regulations would require. Although we agreed to apply these three criteria in order to judge whether or not the Hutchinson facility has achieved SEP under its XL permit, we concluded that there was no simple way to arrive, in advance, at a definition of SEP that could be imposed on 3M's future behavior. We realized that so many changes would take place at Hutchinson, some of them unpredictable, that, as long as human and ecosystem health was not compromised, flexibility and good judgment would have to be applied retrospectively when determining if indeed superior environmental performance had been achieved. We also recognized that if too precise and prescriptive requirements for SEP were written into the permit, it could have the unintended consequence of inhibiting and discouraging source reduction and other innovative pollution prevention efforts given the risk taking such efforts frequently entails.

Moreover our multi-stakeholder group believes that there are other important innovative features in this permit besides emission caps and establishing criteria for superior environmental performance. This permit encourages and rewards 3M for improving its environmental management system (EMS) by giving it a fundamental position in ensuring compliance with the targeted goal of superior environmental performance at the Hutchinson facility. 3M's EMS includes specific requirements regarding pollution prevention assessments. The EMS thus should provide 3M, MPCA, stakeholder groups, and the public with information not previously available in such a form and provide insights into how the company seizes pollution prevention opportunities. Furthermore, 3M's EMS includes ambitious corporate goals for future environmental performance by all its manufacturing facilities. We note that two of these goals for 3M's manufacturing and business units are to reduce, by the year 2000, waste generation to 50% and all releases to 10% of levels existing in 1990. Finally, the company's environmental management system encourages continuous improvement of its facilities's environmental performance.

In addition our committee recognizes that a key element of the XL experiment is greater reliance on stakeholder participation to assure accountability. When replacing command and control with a regulatory framework that sets environmental performance standards but relies on the manurfacturer's good faith efforts to meet or exceed these standards in the best ways it sees fit, the oversight role of the PPC and the Hutchinson local stakeholder group should provide an important added measure of confidence that the public interest will not be sacrificed and that superior environmental performance will be achieved. The PPC will be independently monitoring and evaluating the environmental performance at the Hutchinson plant under the XL permit. Our group, with its extensive experience and expertise, will make its best judgment, periodically, as to whether superior environmental performance is indeed taking place. In doing so we will be taking into account the many factors involved and the specific nature and circumstances of changes at the plant -- all of these elements, too unpredictable and complex to know in advance. We urge all sides to recognize that this oversight role is a better safeguard of the public interest than any specific language in the permit could provide.

We are hopeful that after 3M, the MPCA, the PPC, and the EPA have worked so hard to develop an innovative, workable, and experimental permit a final agreement will be reached so that we can proceed to move on to the other XL projects under consideration in Minnesota. Project XL has involved creating new ways of sovling environmental problems and in forming partnerships to facilitate the process. Doing this for 3M's Hutchinson facility has been a learning experience for all of us -- an experience we can use to improve the process in the future. The PPC suggests that, for future XL projects in Minnesota, a working partnership be formed at the beginning of the planning process that includes representatives from EPA, MPCA, the participating company, the PPC, and the local stakeholder group. In this way we will avoid the frustrating sequential negotiations that are slowing the process considerably in the case of 3M.

In sum, the PPC believes that there are many innovative features in this agreement and that Project XL is an experiment. Its purpose is to help us learn about developing a new regulatory approach that will be good for the environment and economy. We are optimistic that it will succeed, but cannot guarantee that this will be the case. As an experiment, the XL permit for the Hutchinson facility may fail to provide all the benefits the participants have sought, but we should nevertheless make the attempt. We urge you to make sure that the final XL agreement is not so prescriptive or insistent on guarantees to the extent that our ability to explore new regulatory approaches is seriously impeded.

All the members of the PPC and its facilitators want to thank all of you for exploring in a tangible way new approaches to environmental regulation and for allowing us to participate in this effort. Once again we commend your efforts and urge you to find an agreement that will enable this experiment to move forward in the most productive way possible.


Telephone /Fax

Jon Bloomberg, Chair, Environmental Practice Group, Oppenheimer Wolff &
Donnelly, 223-2816/2596
Pam Graika, Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, Norther
States Power, 330-5996/337-2042
Vint Johnson, Sr. Industrial Hygienist, CIH, Deluxe Corporation, 483-
Brian Lim, Environmental Services Manager, H.B. Fuller Co., 481-4886/896
Lee Paddock, Director Environemntal Policy, MN Attorney General's Office,
Ken Sexton, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota,
Brett Smith, Conservation Chair, North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club,
Carol Wiessner, Staff Attorney, Minnesota Center for Environmental
Advocacy, 223-5969/5967
Larry Sibik, Manager, Industrial Services, Pinnacle Engineering, 428-4842/4907
Eric Yost, Sr. Environmental Engineer, Barr Engineering, 832-2634/832-2601


Donald Geffen, Resesarch Assoc., Strategic Management Research Center, University of Minnesota,
Anne Frisch, Minnesota Environmental Initiative,
Alfred Marcus, Professor, Strategic Management Research Center, University of Minnesota,

cc: Jon Kessler, EPA Don Fiorino, EPA
David Gardiner, EPA Kathy McGinty, WH
Nicky Roy, EPA Peder Larson, MPCA
Marilou Martin, EPA-Region V Dave Wefring, 3M
Dave Ulrich, EPA-Region V

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