More on the MPCA whistleblower

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The Star Tribune’s Dan Browning and Tom Meersman have dug deeper into the whisteblower lawsuit filed last week against the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).   It appears that the Department of Ag asked for an investigation of Paul Wotzka prior to his request to testify against the use of Atrazine.  It is unclear whether or not they asked for this investigation prior to or after Mr. Wotzka left Ag for the MPCA. 

Also, Tom at Sky Blue Waters adds a new dynamic wondering about the role of Wayne Anderson, MPCA policy directory and agency liason to the Department of Ag.  Mr. Anderson held a key role in the Atrazine controversy surrounding Dr. Tyrone Hayes a couple of years back. 

There are still a lot of questions that remain in all of this.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that Mr. Wotzka’s criticism of the Department of Ag’s love affair with ethanol was pretty well known prior to his departure from the agency.  Did that influence the agency’s actions?  What prompted Mr. Wotzka’s move from Ag to MPCA anyway?  Hopefully there will be some legislative inquiries into all of this soon.

One Response to “More on the MPCA whistleblower”

  1. Luna Leopold

    I agree that MN Dept of AG (MDA) is, in many respects, flag wavers for Ag industry. There is also clearly much data and information of the damaging effects of atrazine in aquatic systems and its ridiculously high concentrations in MN ground and surface waters (especially SE MN). These are not hidden or unknown issues just ones policy makers have repeatedly ducked responsibility for. What’s new when it comes to the environment? Just listen to this October 2005 MN NPR story I found Googling with Paul Wotzka, (and I assume with MDAs approval) as the lead describing the problems of atrazine in the Whitewater River.
    ( In this story he is explaining the high concentrations of atrazine quantified and other experts explaining the detrimental effects of those high concentrations. No one else is speaking for the MDA so I guess if there was some sort of misrepresentation of facts he would have been knowledgeable of and involved with it.

    He was employed by MDA for 16-yrs which makes you wonder why after being fired he now has an epiphany about some sort of cover-up?

    It sounds like the Dept of Employee Relations was investigating this guy 4 or 5 months before he was asked to talk to this subcommittee. Apparently his termination letter from the state cited the destruction of data and the improper diversion of state mail. I would guess that the state has bullet proof evidence to make such strong statements which resulted in his firing.

    I guess time will tell with his story. Unfortunately I fear that the more important issue of unregulated and harmful pesticides in our state waters will be pushed off to the side for some trial lawyer carnival theatrics.


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