Friday, December 09, 2011

Hawthorne Calls for Strong Environmental Regulations Along Mississippi River

Post and top photo by Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Housing Director.  Image from the Northern Metals Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

Northern Metals Recycling has applied for a permit to relax some environmental regulations at their site on Pacific Street and 28th Avenue North in Hawthorne.  The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council strongly opposes lessening environmental and health protections in our community.  The impact of such changes would be:

*       Additional air emissions

*       Increasing the air emissions limitation

*       Relaxation on emission standards

*       Increasing emissions used to extend outside the hours of Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Weekend & holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

There are many provisions within the above-linked environmental worksheet that give Hawthorne residents serious pause.  Among them are:

Northern Metals has proposed to change the requirement to clean all primary roads, entrances,
internal roads, and exits once per day to a requirement to clean these areas “when necessary to
prevent particulate matter from becoming airborne.”
Instead, the Air Emission Permit will still require daily road sweeping and cleaning, but allows for exceptions when the roads are snow- or ice-covered, or if 0.1 inches of liquid precipitation fell in the last 24 hours. (p. 12)

 We worry that "when necessary" is far too subjective and that minimal cleaning during periods of snow and ice could lead to pollution concerns for a site adjacent to the Mississippi River.

Also on page twelve of the report, Northern Metals is requesting that a whole host of tests regarding particulate matter be reduced in their frequency or eliminated altogether.  We are gravely concerned about such diminished protections and support keeping them in place.  The proposal would allow Northern Metals to shred auto hulks and greatly increase their allowed hours of operation.

Section 11 on page 15 of the document references minimal impact on wildlife (due to the industrial area surrounding the site) and the permit amendment would not cause any environmental or land use conflicts.  While this may be presently true, it neglects to take into account the proposed redevelopment efforts underway through the Above the Falls master plan and the Mississippi Riverfront Design Initiative.  A Farview land bridge would extend to the River with 28th Avenue North as its northern boundary, and would border the plant.  Decreased environmental regulations and an increase in potential air and noise pollution are incongruous with the long-term development of the Mississippi River as a true community asset.

The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council is in the process of drafting a formal letter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and will post it here upon completion.  Comments to William Lynott (651-757-2542) must be received by December 14, 2011.  From those comments, the MPCA will be taken into consideration when deciding whether to require an Environmental Impact Statement.

Hawthorne demands that such an assessment be done.  We urge concerned residents throughout our neighborhood and Minneapolis as a whole to make that same demand of the MPCA.  Please contact both Council Member Diane Hofstede and the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council (Jeff Skrenes or Alexandra Jasicki, 612-529-6033) with your concerns as well.

1 comment:

Johnny Northside! said...


I am having difficulty pulling up gmail on my server here in Afghanistan. Please get my comments in the package, would you?

I'm deeply concerned about the loosening of environmental protections in my neighborhood. My neighborhood deserves the same protections as other, richer neighborhoods when it comes to our environment. I see no indication that the business in question can't shoulder the current regulations and still make a profit.