Contact: Ralph Pribble, 651-757-2657
St. Paul, Minn. ― The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizens’ Board has scheduled a special meeting to consider whether to approve a draft air quality permit for an expansion of the US Steel Co.'s Keetac taconite-production facility near Keewatin, Minn. The meeting will be held at the MPCA's St. Paul office, at 520 Lafayette Road N., on Sept. 13, 2011, starting at 9:00 a.m.
The Keetac expansion project will refurbish and restart an indurating furnace at the production facility to increase production by 3.6 million tons of taconite per year. The project will use a combustion process that can be fueled with natural gas, coal, biomass and fuel oil. The project will increase emissions of criteria air pollutants and hazardous air pollutants, but air pollution controls will be required to ensure compliance with all air-quality standards and environmental regulations.
MPCA staff will recommend that the Citizens’ Board issue the draft air quality permit specifying emission limits for the expanded operation. The draft permit was placed on notice for public comment starting on June 2, 2011 for a period of 30 days. At the Sept. 13 meeting, the MPCA Citizens' Board may approve the draft permit, deny it, or request more information for a future meeting.
According to the Environmental Impact Statement developed for the project by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, at the peak of the four-year construction period the expansion project would employ as many as 500 people. An additional 260 or more temporary, part-time and full-time jobs would be created elsewhere in Itasca and St. Louis counties.
Meetings of the MPCA Citizens’ Board are open to the public and are webcast live at www.pca.state.mn.us/webcasts. Documents related to the draft air permit and board item are also available on the agency's website.