A garbage incinerator in downtown Minneapolis that wants to expand its burning capacity faces another hurdle.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency earlier this month rejected Covanta Energy's request for an administrative amendment to its permit. Covanta operates the facility, which is owned by Hennepin County.
As a result of the MPCA denial, Covanta's plan for expansion now needs approval from the Minneapolis City Council, which will be a much longer process. A City Council panel will debate the issue on Dec. 10.
The MPCA has told Covanta that it must comply with its current permit while it seeks approval for the expansion.
The waste-to-energy facility has been burning garbage for 20 years. It burns about 1,000 tons of garbage a day, produces electricity for Xcel Energy and recently began supplying steam heat to downtown buildings.
The incinerator is near the new Minnesota Twins ballpark, and some people who live near it are concerned about pollution from the plant affecting their health.
Environmental groups and several public officials have also gotten involved in a fight against expansion, saying there are more environmentally friendly alternatives to burning trash.