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State regulator rejects request to push back shutdown of polluting metal shredder

The shredder was found to be causing significant air quality problems in north Minneapolis.
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The company found to be have contributing to air pollution in north Minneapolis has had its request to push back the shutdown of its metal shredding operation rejected by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The MPCA had given Northern Metals Recycling until Aug. 1, 2019 to cease shredding as part of a 2017 settlement that also saw the company pay $2.5 million in costs and penalties and agree to move to an area outside the Twin Cities metro.

It comes after the MPCA found heightened levels of particulate matter in the air near Northern Metals' facility at 2800 North Pacific Street. Inhaling such matter has been linked with increased risk of bronchitis, heart attacks, asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.

"MPCA concluded that while Northern Metal Recycling was not the sole source of air pollutants in North Minneapolis, it believed the company was a significant source," the MPCA said.

The company is due to open a new facility in Becker, Minnesota, but had asked that the shut down of its North Minneapolis shredder be pushed back to Oct. 1, 2019, citing "weather-related issues and lack of sewer and water connections from the city of Becker."

But the MPCA rejected this, saying that "the delays at the Becker facility had no bearing on the company’s ability to meet the shut-down deadline."

"The MPCA made a commitment to the residents of North Minneapolis more than two years ago that Northern Metal’s shredding operation would move out of the city to improve the air quality in the neighborhood," said MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop. 

"That’s a commitment the MPCA intends to keep. The company agreed to this date and had more than two years to make it happen."

"Northern Metal Recycling’s new facility in Becker gives the community new jobs and economic development opportunities," she added. "We want Northern Metal to be successful in Becker, and get its facility operational as soon as possible."

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