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1 in 6 MN Kids Attend Schools Near High-Risk Chemical Facilities

PHOTO: A new analysis finds that about 15 percent of Minnesota's public school students attend classes within one mile of a so-called high-risk chemical facility. Image courtesy Center for Effective Government.
PHOTO: A new analysis finds that about 15 percent of Minnesota's public school students attend classes within one mile of a so-called high-risk chemical facility. Image courtesy Center for Effective Government.
April 29, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Tens of thousands of children across Minnesota and millions across the country go to school in the shadow of a potentially dangerous chemical facility. The warning comes from a nonprofit watchdog, the Center for Effective Government, which released an analysis showing that nearly one in six students in Minnesota is affected.

"Minnesota had 376 schools within a mile of an RMP (Risk Management Plan) facility with a total student body of 128,000 students, which represents more than 15 percent of the students going to public school in Minnesota," Center spokesman Sean Moulton said.

An interactive map showing which Minnesota schools are located near chemical facilities can be found on the Center for Effective Government website.

Ensuring that students near these facilities are safe requires stronger disclosure rules and greater oversight, he added, as well as better emergency response plans.

"Students do fire drills every day, but I don't think many of these schools have ever really talked about what their plan would be if one of these facilities had a major accident while school was in session."

It was one year ago this month that an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, left 15 dead, hundreds injured and several schools damaged or destroyed.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN