- A district court judge declined to rule on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) temporary injunction against Northern Metal Recycling last week. This effectively allows the company's Minneapolis facility to continue operating until the judge decides in the coming months.
- Northern Metal has been accused of violating its state air permit by emitting potentially harmful dust containing high levels of lead into the surrounding neighborhood.
- The MPCA says that Northern Metal may have misled the state or changed operations since applying for the permit and hasn't complied with requests for data. The agency still plans to revoke the company's permit.
The MPCA has been monitoring this metal shredding operation since 2014 and has repeatedly found violations. In 2012, Minneapolis didn't want the company's expansion permit to be approved. The site's proximity to a residential area has only exacerbated the situation and led to concerns of adverse health effects.
According to a statement emailed to KARE 11 by Steve Ettinger, Northern Metal's CEO, the company has 15 facilities in the Upper Midwest. The Minneapolis facility is the company's largest shredding operation and processes material from a number of states in the region. Ettinger touted the company's environmental protocols and took issue with the portrayal of the situation by regulators and media.
The attorney representing Northern Metal told the Star Tribune that some work does need to be done to control dust from the shredder. Though the MPCA and the company currently disagree about whether emission limits should apply to the entire building where the shredder is located or only the machine. The company has agreed to submit details on dust control plans within a week and implement them by the end of July.