State regulators have scheduled a public information meeting and extended the period for the public to comment on a proposal for loosened pollution restrictions for a North Side metal shredder.

The public meeting is scheduled by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for 6:30-9 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Park Board's headquarters, 2117 W. River Road. If you're trying to decide between spending that night with your sweetie or passing up Valentine's Day for the issue, be advised that the agency said that no oral public comment will be taken that evening.  The session begins with a half-hour open house and then a 90-minute presentation on the environmental study for the project and the proposed permit.

Northern Metal Recycling proposed revamping its permit after it finally began operating in 2009 and was found not to be meeting limits set when it got its original state permit in 1998. The company wants to raise selected pollution limits, loosen restrictions on what materials may be shredded and reduce the frequency of pollution testing.

The main change would allow it to emit about seven more tons annually of small particles.

The deadline for public comment on the proposal originally expired in mid-December, but the agency is extending it at the request of local officials. The new comment period begins on Jan. 13 and ends on Feb. 28.  The permit issue will be decided by the agency's citizen board, which also may be asked formally by opponents to allow a rare quasi-judicial contested case hearing in which an administrative judge would take testimony on the permitting issues. That would add months to the timeline of deciding on the permit..        


North Side metal shredder file photo