Mayor Hodges’ Statement on State Action on Northern Metals
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Announces Steps to Stop Operations
May 19, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS) — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced today that it is taking steps to stop all operations at Northern Metals Recycling in North Minneapolis. The MPCA has determined that Northern Metals misled the agency when applying for its air quality permit in 2012 and as a result is believed to be a primary source of air quality violations in the area.
“Air pollution is a critical health issue. I commend the MPCA for taking swift action to move to shut down operations immediately and revoke the permit,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “As I have said, this is an environmental justice issue that impacts one of our most overburdened neighborhoods. We must not let the health of our residents, including our children, be determined by their zip code.”
In 2011, the City of Minneapolis requested that MPCA require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northern Metals site. In that request, the City also asked MPCA to require a study of cumulative impacts and place a special emphasis on environmental justice.
In 2012, the City of Minneapolis requested that MPCA deny a permit to expand Northern Metals’ operations. The City also asked that if MPCA would not deny the permit that it require limits on particulate emissions and increased monitoring, as well as engagement with the city on reducing air pollution on disproportionately impacted populations (specifically in North Minneapolis). The MPCA did increase monitoring.
In March, Mayor Hodges responded to air quality violations in the area by calling for the MPCA to “confirm the source of the lead particulate emissions and take the strongest possible action, up to and including revoking permits and shutting down operations completely.”
Mayor Hodges also encouraged anyone in the area, or in Minneapolis neighborhoods with older homes that may contain lead paint, to get their children tested for lead exposure.
Published May 19, 2016