I am heading into a meeting momentarily to work on a common-sense resolution to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s unwillingness to accommodate what seems like a reasonable request by Northern Metals Recycling as it relocates its Minneapolis operation to Becker.
Northern Metals had agreed to cease shredding metal in Minneapolis by Aug. 1, at which point the company had planned to have its new world-class recycling facility up and running in Becker.
Numerous factors – including extreme weather and roll after roll of government red tape – bumped the project past the Aug. 1 deadline. The company pushed the project’s general contractor to recover lost time, but there are practical limits as to how much the construction schedule can be sped up.
Now, Northern Metals has simply asked for a reasonable two-month extension to finish the relocation process. Unfortunately, the MPCA has denied that request and wants to force the business to shut down its shredding operation in Minneapolis two months before it will be able to start in Becker. By refusing to accommodate the company’s request for a brief extension the MPCA would be sidelining workers and damaging the company’s flow of revenue at a time it is heavily investing in its new facility.
There has to be a better way for the MPCA to handle this situation instead of rigid insistence on meeting an arbitrary Aug. 1 deadline. Northern Metals appears to be making an honest effort to complete its move in a timely fashion and I’m sure they are excited to open the doors to what will be the world’s most advanced recycling facility, right here in Becker. We’re talking about a $50 million investment by Northern Metals for a facility that will be subject to the strictest air emission controls in Minnesota.
This afternoon, I will be joining Sen. Andrew Mathews, House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt, members of Congressman Tom Emmer’s team, Becker city officials, Northern Metals representatives and others in sitting down with MPCA members to seek a solution. If we are concerned about environmental protection, it only stands to reason the state would want to help Northern Metals migrate to a facility that will be the new recycling standard.
I will follow up today’s meeting with any developments on this issue. Click here for an article the Star Tribune posted on its website late last night.