U.S. Rep. Nolan asks EPA to reconsider taconite plant rulesEnvironmental and public health groups and the EPA say that pollution not only causes haze over pristine areas like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Isle Royale and Voyageurs national parks, but also can cause lung ailments in people.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to back off on new regulations to reduce haze pollution from Minnesota taconite plants.
The new rules, first proposed by the EPA last summer and adjusted to meet some taconite industry concerns in January, require taconite plants to add pollution-control technology to reduce the pollutants that cause haze, namely nitrogen oxides, or NOx, and sulfur dioxides, SO2.
Environmental and public health groups and the EPA say that pollution not only causes haze over pristine areas like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Isle Royale and Voyageurs national parks, but also can cause lung ailments in people.
Nolan, DFL-Crosby, who represents all of Northeastern Minnesota, issued a news release this morning saying taconite companies still don’t like the revised federal rules even after the EPA delayed the regulations for several months to adopt some of the company’s concerns.
Nolan said he supports the less-stringent rules proposed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2011 that aren’t as specific and allow the companies more time to meet the federal Clean Air Act standards.
In a Feb. 25 letter to EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman, Nolan said that while taconite mining operations are prepared to accept the haze reductions, a “one size fits all” solution fails to recognize that each will need to accommodate retrofitted anti-haze equipment in its own unique way. Nolan asked the EPA to “work with the taconite mine operators to develop a compliance schedule that recognizes the reality of these customized operations.”
The new federal rules apply to all six plants in Minnesota and one operation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.