MINNEAPOLIS - An embattled metal recycling company has agreed to pay a large fine, and move a divisive metal shredder from its current location in the city of Minneapolis.
Northern Metals, located at 2800 North Pacific Street, will cover $2.5 million in fines, penalties and cleanup costs, and move the shredder to a non-metro location by August of 2019. The proposed deal includes:
- a $1 million civil penalty
- payment for three years of continued air monitoring near the facility
- reimbursement to the state for past monitoring costs, court costs, and legal fees
- $600,000 to the city of Minneapolis for community heath projects to benefit nearby communities.
“This settlement is a welcome start to addressing a problem for residents in North Minneapolis who are already overburdened with health and pollution issues,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner John Linc Stine. “The company recognized the serious nature of its violations, and they’ve chosen to take the right steps.”
The proposed settlement, if approved by Ramsey County District Court, would end a running battle between Northern Metals and the MPCA that has simmered for years. MPCA started monitoring the air outside the plant in the fall of 2014 and found Northern Metals was violating state air standards. In return the company filed suit to shut down MPCA air monitors near the plant.
Analysis of data released in the spring of 2016 also showed elevated levels of lead, chromium, cobalt and nickel in the air. outside the plant The presence of those pollutants, along with MPCA’s discovery that Northern Metals was operating an unpermitted source of particulates, prompted the agency to ask the court to shut down the facility.
“This settlement provides a measure of environmental justice for the people of North Minneapolis," said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in a statement, "We will be using the settlement to do what the residents of North Minneapolis told us they wanted us to do with it: address and mitigate asthma and lead poisoning in the neighborhoods that have some of the highest child lead-poisoning rates in our city and the highest asthma hospitalization rate in our state.”