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Commentary: SMBSC is committed to natural resources and our community

EDITOR'S NOTE: A May 13 story about the Southern Minnesota Beet Cooperative's settlement concerning water and air pollution issues did not include a response from the cooperative. A statement appears below.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: A May 13 story about the Southern Minnesota Beet Cooperative’s settlement concerning water and air pollution issues did not include a response from the cooperative. A statement appears below.
As one of the largest employers and contributors to the economy of southwestern Minnesota, the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative takes our responsibilities to the region and state very seriously. We are pleased to resolve matters with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency, most of which arose from unprecedented rainfall and flooding during the 2009-2010 harvest. The extreme weather increased water flowing into our ponds and caused challenges in SMBSC’s ability to treat and discharge wastewater. In turn, we made the strategic decision to hold the excess water instead of discharging it untreated into the environment, which caused water to surpass permitted levels in our water storage ponds. This decision was intended to, and did, in fact, protect water quality - the outcome SMBSC cares about most. Over the past many years, we have worked diligently to find solutions that address all the agencies’ concerns. We have invested millions of dollars in facility improvements, developed new contingency plans, and deployed the best technologies available. We will continue to make meaningful and industry-leading progress in protecting the environment while creating a sustainable food supply. Our growers are resolute in finding long-term, impactful solutions for the good of our natural resources and our community. And our cooperative will continue to do so - not only because our growers’ livelihoods depend on it, but because protecting the environment and investing in our communities is the right thing to do. Kelvin Thompsen  is the president and chief executive officer of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in Renville. RELATED STORY:  Southern Minnesota Sugar to pay $1.5 million for violationsEDITOR’S NOTE: A May 13 story about the Southern Minnesota Beet Cooperative’s settlement concerning water and air pollution issues did not include a response from the cooperative. A statement appears below.
As one of the largest employers and contributors to the economy of southwestern Minnesota, the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative takes our responsibilities to the region and state very seriously.We are pleased to resolve matters with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency, most of which arose from unprecedented rainfall and flooding during the 2009-2010 harvest.The extreme weather increased water flowing into our ponds and caused challenges in SMBSC’s ability to treat and discharge wastewater.In turn, we made the strategic decision to hold the excess water instead of discharging it untreated into the environment, which caused water to surpass permitted levels in our water storage ponds.This decision was intended to, and did, in fact, protect water quality - the outcome SMBSC cares about most.Over the past many years, we have worked diligently to find solutions that address all the agencies’ concerns.We have invested millions of dollars in facility improvements, developed new contingency plans, and deployed the best technologies available.We will continue to make meaningful and industry-leading progress in protecting the environment while creating a sustainable food supply.Our growers are resolute in finding long-term, impactful solutions for the good of our natural resources and our community.And our cooperative will continue to do so - not only because our growers’ livelihoods depend on it, but because protecting the environment and investing in our communities is the right thing to do.Kelvin Thompsen  is the president and chief executive officer of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in Renville.RELATED STORY:  Southern Minnesota Sugar to pay $1.5 million for violations

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