The staff of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has completed reviewing comments received on the Northern Metals auto shredder air quality permit in Minneapolis and have concluded that the project does not have the potential for significant environmental effects. The decision has completed the state’s environmental review process under the revised Minnesota Environmental Quality Board Rules.
The company’s auto shredder was fined for exceeding its air emissions permit in 2010. At that time the company opted to work with the MPCA to amend its air emissions permit. Initially the MPCA called for an environmental impact study. Northern Metals then filed a lawsuit and a judge ordered the state agency to speed up the process.
During the MPCA’s special meeting Oct. 1, 2012, the MPCA voted 6-1 to consider the revised permit Oct. 23, 2012, without requiring further study.
If the amended permit is issued, Northern Metals’ shredder will be in compliance with state air quality standards for the first time since 2009, shortly after the machine started operating.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports statistical modeling has found that air quality standards would be violated by the cumulative effect of area businesses emitting small-particle pollutants, but the agency feels that the shredder would contribute only about 2 percent of that load. The staff says the agency is working on reducing emissions from other sources in the area, and will install air monitors to keep closer tabs on the pollution.
The proposed permit sets an initial limit of slightly less than 2 pounds of fine particles per hour, although that could go up after three years under certain conditions. The current limit is about 25 percent of that level. But agency staff said that the proposed limit also takes into account particles that form in the condensing of shredder emissions.