SPRING LAKE TWP. — What's the best way to celebrate after getting important environmental legislation ratified into law? Eating ice cream, of course.The young scouts had attended a Township Board meeting in May to request it consider such a ban because coal tar — an asphalt resurfacing agent — is a known carcinogen and is harsh on local waterways.
Cub Scout Den 7 leader Cheryl Kallio took her troop to the Front Porch after Monday's Spring Lake Township Board meeting, where leaders enacted a new coal tar ban that the scouts championed.
“I feel like I'm making the community a little better,” said Cub Scout Cameron Braidwood, 9, after the board's unanimous vote Monday night to approve the ban.
The board stepped down from the meeting table and shook hands with the scouts after the decision.
“They're excited to see an issue that they brought forth turned into law,” Kallio said. “They really did their due diligence and did a lot of research. (Township Supervisor) John Nash talked to experts around the nation to gather information. They came to the conclusion it's an important issue for Spring Lake Township. I'm very appreciative the decision-makers took the kids so seriously and researched the issue.”
Nash said he spent about 25 hours researching coal tar. He said what really struck him was that the entire state of Minnesota bans it.
“The water that runs off asphalt sealed with coal tar accumulates at the bottom of rivers and lakes and causes significant problems,” Nash said. “I didn't like that at all. There's now a product that's equally as good and about the same price. Home Depot and several other stores won't even sell coal tar because they're concerned about the liability.”
Nash said he's proud of the scouts for bringing the issue to the board.
“It's something we weren't aware of,” he said. “You hope they get the experience that you can get involved and you can make a difference. Spring Lake Township really tries to be a leader. If it's the right thing to do, we don't mind being first.”
The ban will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.
Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said education is the next step.
“This ordinance will be as much about education as it is regulation,” he explained.
Nash said he plans to visit stores that still sell coal tar, inform the managers about the new ban and encourage them not to sell it.
“If it's a matter of doing that much or nothing at all, I'm going to do