MPCA: Court Orders Northern Metals To Shut Down Part Of N. Mpls. Operations

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Ramsey Count District judge has ordered Northern Metals – a metal shredding and recovery company – to shut down a portion of its operations in north Minneapolis, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Earlier this summer, the MPCA said it took what they called “unusual” legal steps to stop operations at the facility because Northern Metals provided misleading information to acquire its air quality permit in 2012.

“Based on our investigations and discussions with the company over the last year, we believe either the company did not truthfully disclose its emissions from this facility when it was last permitted, or that it has added or changed emission sources since the permit was issued without informing us, or both,” MPCA Assistant Commissioner David Thornton said at the time. “Either of these conditions is a serious violation of state and federal air quality laws and cause for permit revocation.”

According to Thorton, the MPCA tried negotiating with Northern Metals and have been in and out of court with them for more than a year, but the company has been uncooperative.

On Monday, Judge John Guthmann ordered the metal company to shut down its metal recovery plant and an attached rain and snow shed at the north Minneapolis facility.

Those portions, known as the MRP, will need to be idled beginning on Sept. 2, 2016 and cannot be reopened until the MPCA either issues a modified air permit for the facility or proves to the MPCA that the MRP does not cause or contribute to ongoing air quality violations in the area.

In response, Northern Metals requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge and a ruling on that request is expected this fall.

The MPCA says it’s still reviewing the order to understand all the details, but is overall pleased with the judge’s decision.

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