The MPCA recently started a pilot project to improve the air quality in Minneapolis by working outside the regulatory box. The project aims to develop collaboration among the local government, key air emission sources in the city and the communities around those facilities. The intent is to better understand and quantify air pollution from sources in Minneapolis and integrate what we know about air quality and human health with tools available for protecting them.
The normal regulatory approach is to consider facilities and their emissions individually, one at a time. The pilot, however, will treat these facilities as a group, working with them and neighboring residents to identify ways to reduce emissions and make other changes to address community concerns. The following 12 facilities have voluntarily agreed to participate in this initiative. These facilities were selected based on levels of actual or potential emissions and community recommendation.
- NRG Energy
- Smith Foundry
- Prospect Foundry
- Covanta Hennepin Energy Resource Co.
- University of Minnesota (U of M)
- Hennepin Energy Recovery Center
- Metro Transit’s Heywood Garage
- Bituminous Roadways Inc.
- Nico Products
- Greatbatch - Globe Tool Inc.
- Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt
The first step in the pilot is to make sure we have accurate information about emissions from these facilities so that we can best assess their contribution to Minneapolis’s ambient air quality. This may include doing air monitoring at some facilities and in surrounding neighborhoods. We also want to facilitate and improve communication between government agencies, the facilities and area residents. Once we better understand the facilities’ contribution to the area’s air quality, we will identify options for reducing emissions, including engaging technical assistance resources available from government agencies, the U of M and others.
Urban air pollution has complex sources and is influenced significantly by factors outside of our region. Any improvements resulting from this initiative may take some time. However, the MPCA is looking forward to working with the facilities, the local government, and community representatives to go beyond current requirements to improve air quality in Minneapolis.