Metal shredder to shut down in settlement with Minnesota

Northern Metals Inc.
Northern Metals has agreed to shut down its metal shredder in north Minneapolis. The company's facility is shown here in a photo from September 2012.
Stephanie Hemphill | MPR News 2012

Updated: 6:45 p.m.

A scrap metal company that has long been under fire from state regulators has agreed to shut down its metal shredder in north Minneapolis.

The permanent shutdown at 6 p.m. Monday was one of the key parts of a settlement between Northern Metals Recycling and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The operation, located on the Mississippi River bank near Lowry Avenue, was accused of air quality violations and long opposed by neighbors.

Under the settlement, Northern Metals admitted that it submitted improperly altered records on the performance of its filtration equipment to the state agency. The company agreed to a $200,000 civil penalty.

The agreement also allows the MPCA to reopen the air permit for Northern Metals' new recycling facility in Becker, Minn., possibly to add more requirements for monitoring and reporting.

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“Our goal is to make sure that facility can be successful. And so our goal is not to prevent it from opening on schedule,” MPCA spokesperson Darin Broton said. “So, we'll work with with the company to determine the best steps forward about addressing the air permits while they're still operating."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison called the settlement a "win for the people of north Minneapolis" and said it's a better deal than the state could have won at trial. In a statement, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also welcomed the news of the metal shredder's shutdown, saying Northern Metal had "brazenly" betrayed the public's trust.

Community member Roxxanne O'Brien said she's disappointed that there wasn't a public hearing.

"I'm very happy for the kids and families and elders of my community who will now at least get a break from one company out of several — out of too many — that are still legally allowed to pollute our communities," said O'Brien.

Northern Metals said in a statement that it's looking forward to starting operations at a new state-of-the-art facility in Becker.