Publish date:

Northern Metal Recycling scores partial victory in court ruling

They can now resume operations at their Minneapolis plant.
Northern Metal Recycling

The company that was ordered to cease operations over the aggressive days-long industrial fire in Becker, Minnesota, has scored a victory in court.

On Friday, a Ramsey County District Court judge reversed an order by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to shut down a Minneapolis scrap metal plant operated by Northern Metal Recycling. 

However, the MPCA's order to close the company's Becker plant — where a fire broke out amid a massive pile of junked cars last Tuesday — still stands. 

The Becker fire was so intense that it sent a plume of smoke into the air large enough to be seen by satellite, as shown here by the NOAA:

The MPCA cited "imminent and substantial danger to the health and welfare" of the public in issuing its decision last week, saying Northern Metal must halt operations "until the fire is eliminated, environmental assessments are completed, and plans are put in place to prevent similar threats to human health and safety." 

But Friday's court ruling called the agency's order "hypothetical," with Judge John Guthmann saying "there isn’t any claim that there is pollution of air, land or water" as a result of Northern Metal's operations "at this time," per the Star Tribune. 

The paper notes that Guthmann declined to rule on the closure of the Becker plant, as that was out of the court's jurisdiction. 

This is likely not the end of the legal battle, however. 

According to MPR, Minneapolis officials say the city is “exploring its options following this ruling," and that there will be an inspection of the plant's scrap metal piles on Monday. 

The station also notes that Northern Metals will have to turn to the state Court of Appeals to weigh in on the closure of its Becker site. 

The Becker fire, which is still being investigated, forced Becker Public Schools to close down, and led to reports of a burning smell across the Twin Cities metro. 

Northern Metal's Minneapolis recycling center was also the scene of a major fire in December 2016.

Next Up

Tanner Morgan/Gopher Football

Morgan's resurgence, Nebraska's miscues help Gophers hold on

The Gophers quarterback threw a pair of touchdowns in a 30-23 victory.

Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith warns Dems she may not vote for budget bill if climate plan dropped

This comes amid a White House effort to get its "Build Back Better" plan passed.

Pixabay - emergency room ambulance hospital

St. Paul man dies six days after crash on I-94

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has identified the man as David Rodney Hardaway.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Double murder in northeastern Minnesota, suspect kills himself after chase

The suspect died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

chaska school fight

Anti-masker involved in school board meeting fight charged with assault

It happened last month at an Eastern Carver County Schools hearing.

Marcus Foligno

Marcus Foligno throws hands, scores game-winning goal in Wild's opener

The Wild forward scored with 7.2 seconds left to beat Anaheim.

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Large police presence at Emagine Willow Creek movie theater in Plymouth

There are few details at this stage as to what has happened.

Maple Grove Police Department

Maple Grove-based businessman convicted of fatally shooting wife

Wiseman owns properties in both Minnesota, Nevada and China.

betty and earls biscuits facebook

Jason Matheson's biscuit shop to briefly close ahead of relaunch

Betty & Earl's will shut down for two weeks before reopening under a new name.

Simon Merino Go Fund Me

Worker dies in forklift accident at paper recycling business

The victim was described as a loving father of two who was devoted to his church.

rosie means - go fund me

Authorities ID woman killed by hit-and-run driver who ran red light

A fundraiser was created to support the family after the "sudden and senseless loss."

Prior Lake Football

Watch: Prior Lake stuns Rosemount with last-second hook and ladder

The Lakers dusted off an old favorite to get a victory on Thursday night.

Related

Large fire ongoing at Northern Metals Recycling plant in Becker

The company was previously based in Minneapolis, but was forced to leave due to pollution levels.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 12.43.10 PM

Regulator rejects plea to delay shutdown of polluting metal shredder

The shredder was found to be causing significant air quality problems in north Minneapolis.

Screen Shot 2020-02-21 at 3.47.50 PM

'Imminent danger': State shuts down Becker recycling facility

A roaring fire at Northern Metal Recycling began Tuesday.

Northern Metals fire (ok to use)

Huge fire in Becker 'could last several more days'

The fire is expected to become more intense as it burns itself out.

Northern Metals

Firefighters battling large blaze at Northern Metal site in Minneapolis

The fire sent a plume of thick smoke into the skyline.

Fire firefighters

Burning smell in the Twin Cities? It's probably the Becker recycling plant fire

The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning, and has sparked concerns over air quality.

Northern Metals fire (ok to use)

'Major progress' made as Becker fire continues to burn

The blaze erupted in a pile of cars early Tuesday morning.