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January at the legislature has been incredibly busy but important for Minnesotans who care about our water. We’ve been at the legislature advocating for banning PFAS chemicals, speaking to lawmakers about the importance of lead service line replacement, addressing the cumulative health and environmental impacts of pollution, and the dangers of falling for inadequate solutions packaged as “chemical recycling”.

Today I am writing specifically about our advocacy around PFAS chemicals and an emotional personal story that has touched many at the Capitol and across Minnesota.

I met Amara Strande and her mom, Dana after reading about them in the Minnesota Reformer. When we first spoke, I was inspired by their dedication, working through their own pain to assure not one more child falls prey to corporate greed and lack of accountability. At 15 years old, Amara was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer; she's only one of two people in Minnesota to have fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma. She graduated from Tartan High School, which is in the plume of 3M’s sanctioned dump area.

We discussed many things during that meeting and one thing was clear: Amara and her mother wanted to do everything they could to help others by bringing attention to how dangerous and deadly PFAS chemicals are to our community’s health.

Just this past Tuesday, Amara Strande joined the lawmakers who are introducing legislation to ban PFAS at a press conference. Read her her testimony and watch the press conference here.

As a mother of two, my heart broke for the Strande family. As a mother, I knew we had to double down and make sure these bills receive the attention they deserve. I joined Representative Brand and Senator Seeberger to talk about the PFAS bills working their way through the legislature. Watch the Fox 9 News story here.

I also had the opportunity to speak with Deena Winter, the journalist who took a deep dive into the 3M dump and its effects on the east metro for the Minnesota Reformer.

Dana Strande said something to me that I’d like to pass along to you:

A few people developed these chemicals. A few people in a room somewhere made something that is currently impacting the world as a whole in unimaginable ways. Therefore, it will only take a few people to end these chemicals once and for all.

She’s right.

Take action today and contact your Minnesota legislators to share that you want to see the PFAS package of bills pass. By banning these chemicals in Minnesota we will save taxpayer dollars and save lives. This is fiscally responsible, environmentally necessary, and will have a positive impact on public health for generations to come.