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Hibbing Public Utilities pays fine

Hibbing Public Utilities has paid a $44,500 fine and is correcting problems in its wood-burning electrical generator after the state discovered several air pollution violations.

Hibbing Public Utilities has paid a $44,500 fine and is correcting problems in its wood-burning electrical generator after the state discovered several air pollution violations.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced the settlement Friday, saying it resolves the utility's violation of carbon-monoxide, fugitive dust and visible emissions limits.

The violations occurred during early use of the wood-burning boiler that runs on waste wood, or biomass, to create electricity. The settlement addresses violations that occurred in 2007 in the boiler that began operations in late 2006.

PCA officials say the state is considering raising the limit for carbon monoxide emissions in the facility's air permit, noting the boiler may be unable to meet the current limit. The carbon monoxide level may be higher because so much green, wet wood is being burned without any additional fuel such as coal or oil.

Another settlement on similar air pollution violations was announced last week with Virginia Public Utilities for an identical wood boiler in that city.

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