MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is accusing Northern Metal Recycling of providing misleading information and polluting the air in north Minneapolis — with the facility’s metal shredder being the main culprit.

According to the MPCA, it is taking “unusual” legal steps to stop operations at the facility because Northern Metals provided misleading information to acquire its air quality permit in 2012.

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“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. “Either of these conditions is a serious violation of state and federal air quality laws and cause for permit revocation.”

MPCA officials say the revocation process takes time to play out, so they are asking the Ramsey County District Court to immediately stop activities at the site that are believed to be contributing to the violations.

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The MPCA began monitoring air quality near the metal company after the permit was issued in 2012, and almost immediately detected elevated particulates that exceeded state standards. The MPCA also found that levels of airborne heavy metals near the site are near or above health benchmarks.

If North Metals’ permit is revoked, the company can reapply for another permit, but the new one would have to “properly account for and control emissions.”

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. However, Thorton says the company has been uncooperative.

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Northen Metals is located at 2800 Pacific St., Minneapolis.