Green New Deal News

Judge's ruling gives north Minneapolis metal shredder more time

A last minute ruling by a Ramsey County judge allowed a north Minneapolis metal shredding facility to stay in operation beyond Thursday, when it was legally mandated to shut down following years of concerns about air pollution.

The court order allows the Northern Metal Recycling facility on the Mississippi riverfront to stay open while it negotiates with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the state agency announced Tuesday. The metal recycling company had called for a dispute resolution in court after the agency rejected its request to keep the facility running until October while it finished a new facility in Becker, Minn.

In a statement, MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop said the agency intends to follow the dispute resolution, a process that was laid out in a 2017 court settlement with the company.

“I understand that this turn of events will be extremely frustrating to people who live near Northern Metals and who have worked hard over many years to make their voices heard about this issue. I am frustrated, too,” Bishop said in the statement.

According to a letter from Scott Helberg, Northern Metal’s chief operating officer, construction of the Becker plant has been delayed by “extreme weather-related conditions” prevented the Becker plant from opening on time. The MPCA questioned the claim, stating the Becker facility is operational and that any delays had no impact on its ability to shut down the north Minneapolis facility.

Minneapolis residents had fought for decades to move the company out of north Minneapolis, claiming air pollution from the shredder was making them sick. In 2014, the MPCA found that the air around the shredder contained high levels of air pollutants linked to a variety of health problems, including increased risk of heart attacks, bronchitis and asthma.

In the 2017 settlement, Northern Metal agreed to relocate its plant and pay $2.5 million in cost and penalties.

This is a developing story. Check for updates.