Standing on the shoulders of 21 Minnesota communities and key legislators and researchers, the City of Minneapolis today passed a ban of coal tar pavement sealants.  With a population near 400,000, this sends a clear message to the coal tar sealcoating industry: stop polluting the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota.

“The Mississippi River and our beautiful lakes not only keep our residents healthy and our economy strong — they make us the city we are, and we must do everything we can do keep them clean,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “The action we’ve taken today is simply common sense.”

“The need for this action is obvious, and I hope our state and federal governments will act soon too,” said Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy, author of the ordinance. “Coal tar contains known carcinogens, and material with high levels of these chemicals must be treated like hazardous waste. This situation is not only bad for public health, it’s expensive. It’s time to prevent this hazard instead of trying to clean it up later at taxpayer expense.”

With its passage, the population of the US under a ban of this type is nearly 11 million residents.  Minneapolis becomes the largest northern city to pass a ban and second only to Austin, TX which passed the nation's first ban in 2005.

The ban is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013.  The staff presentation about the ban is currently available at this link and a draft copy of the ban can be found here.

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