Potential new pollution permit causes concern

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency plans to issue a new permit that would raise the levels of air pollution allowed from a North Minneapolis plant.

Northern Metals, which uses a Kondirator metal shredder, has exceeded permitted limits since it started operating in 2009. But the fine particles and mercury coming from the company's stack do not exceed national or state ambient air quality standards, said William Lynott, project manager for Northern Metals in the MPCA's environmental review unit.

"In addition to that, we performed another risk assessment on the proposal, and found the human health risks would not exceed any human health benchmarks," Lynott said.

Critics are concerned about levels of mercury and heavy metals that come with crushing cars for scrap. They say the permit may technically be legal, but the MPCA should set stricter limits to protect human health.

The Minneapolis City Council last week passed a resolution expressing concerns about the plant.

Public comment will be allowed at an MPCA citizens board meeting this winter

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