MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Northern Metals Recycling is moving out of north Minneapolis after settling a lawsuit with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
In addition to moving the shredder to a new non-metro location by August 2019, the metal recycler has agreed to pay $2.5 million in costs and penalties.
Those costs and penalties include a $1 million civil penalty, payment for three years of continued air monitoring near the facility, and reimbursement to the state for past monitoring costs, court costs and legal fees. The recycler will also pay $600,000 to the city of Minneapolis for community health projects to benefit nearby communities.
In the summer of 2016, 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.
“This settlement is a welcome start to addressing a problem for residents in North Minneapolis who are already overburdened with health and pollution issues,” said MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine. “The company recognized the serious nature of its violations, and they’ve chosen to take the right steps.”
Stine says that pollutant levels in the area have been reduced since the recycler partially shut down and made improvements, but they’re still higher than MPCA would like.
“We know that North Minneapolis residents are concerned about allowing the shredder to continue operating for up to two-and-a-half years in that location,” Stine said. “The company has made the improvements and passed the emissions testing we wanted them to complete, and they are complying with their permit. They’ve committed to doing a better job, and we will be closely watching over their operation.”
Xcel Energy also announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with Northern Metals to relocate its operations to Becker, Minnesota, in a move that is expected to bring at least 85 jobs to the area.
The metal recycler will eventually be located near Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County generating station.
“We are very pleased that Northern Metals is bringing new jobs and capital investments to the area,” Becker city manager Greg Pruszinske said. “They have chosen a great site for their new facility and we look forward to the many positive impacts Northern Metals Recycling will have in the Becker community.”
Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.