- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has announced that it will take the "very rare step" of revoking the air permit for Northern Metal Recycling in Minneapolis. A temporary injunction has also been filed to immediately stop the company's metal shredding operation.
- The MPCA believes that Northern Metal Recycling may have provided incomplete information when applying for an air quality permit in 2012. The company has violated standards multiple times since 2014.
- The Department of Health said the air quality doesn't pose any short-term health risks to employees or local residents, but could lead to respiratory irritation, lung damage, or cancer in the long-term.
Residents have been complaining about the air quality in this industrial area of northern Minneapolis for years. The MPCA has been monitoring the area since 2014, and in March of this year the agency said tests showed higher lead concentrations in the area than anywhere else in the state.
Northern Metal's relationship with the local government has been strained. Minneapolis didn't want the company's expansion permit to be approved in 2012. In 2015, the company filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to try and stop MPCA from monitoring air quality. According to Northern Metal's website, the company has more than a dozen facilities in the Upper Midwest.
In areas such as this one, where residents feel overburdened by the amount of industrial facilities, air quality has become a major concern. The issue has been making headlines in New York lately, where residents and elected officials have been trying to reduce the number of transfer stations in certain neighborhoods. This week, four councilmembers took a stand against proposed organic recycling contracts over fears that they would increase truck traffic and emissions.