Midtown Eco Energy public meeting is Thursday, Dec. 13

Public comment period on controversial biomass burner closes Jan. 14

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency MPCA) will hold a public meeting on Dec. 13 to give information about and receive public comment on a draft air permit for Kandiyohi Development’s proposed Midtown Eco Energy MEE) project.

The meeting will take place at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E. 31st St., 6–8:30 p.m.

According to an MPCA press release, the electrical-generation plant would burn wood waste, such as wood chips and tree trimmings, 24 hours a day and generate up to 24 megawatts of electricity.

The facility, which would be located in the Phillips neighborhood near East 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue, has been controversial, with some fearing the burner would use refuse-derived fuel RDF) and that the draft permit allows for unacceptable levels of emissions of various pollutants.

The issues surrounding the Midtown Eco-Energy burner have been discussed at length in various venues, including the Seward e-democracy neighbors forum. Choose topic “Midtown EcoEnergy Project.”)

On that online forum, Robin Garwood, aide to Ward 2 Council Member Cam Gordon, confirmed with MPCA Engineer Paula Connell a statement from Kandiyohi that the MEE permit does not allow the burning of RDF.

Other issues — some of which are addressed in the Seward neighbors forum — still remain and will likely be discussed at the Dec. 13 meeting.

In addition to the public meeting, the MPCA is collecting comments on the draft permit during a second public comment period — following an initial one this summer — that began in late November and closes Jan. 14.

A copy of the draft permit is available online on the MPCA website. Scroll down to the Nov. 16 releases.) Anyone with questions may contact Connell at 651-282-2605.

Information from the developer is available online at www.kandiyo.com/energy.php.

An opposition group, Neighbors Against the Burner, has petitioned for a contested-case hearing; a standing MPCA citizens’ advisory board will decide early next year whether or not the issue will be heard in court, said Connell.

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Jeremy Stratton's picture
Jeremy Stratton

Jeremy Stratton (jeremy [at] strattoncreative [dot] com) is a journalist living in Minneapolis. His experience includes writing, reporting, editing, photography and blogging.

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midtown ecoburner

Thanks for your coverage on the midtown ecoburner. It should be pointed out that regardless if they took RDF off the permit or not, the permit still allows for 1 million pounds of toxic chemicals. Why would that be if they are just going to burn wood? The permit also specifically allows for wood with glues in it like plywood and other pressed wood. In addition, the nano-particulates that would be emitted are very dangerous to the health as they enter the blood stream and contribute to heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease etc. And above all, officials at District Energy in St. Paul that relies on urban wood for their plant has stated repeatedly that there is not enough wood in the entire metropolitan area for their own plant more than 60% of their operation after which they have to burn coal and gas. So where is Michael Krause and Kandiyohi Partners going to get enough wood to burn at Eco Midtown? DE has stated there is not enough wood for Rock Tenn. There is not enough wood to burn at Eco Midtown. The Green Institute dropped this project due to it not being feasible. We can only ask what MEE has up its sleeve.

Reality Check

The anonymous commenter introduces more rhetoric than substance. There is not enough wood for BOTH Midtown Eco Energy AND Rock-Tenn. According to DP's 9/9/07 report, however, MEE “have finalized an agreement with a private wood supplier for 50 percent of our fuel supply." DP also reports that Michael Krause is former director of the Green Institute. One may indeed wonder what environmental "mischief" he has up his sleeve. On "toxic" emissions, the MPCA does not wantonly abandon federal or state laws controlling air pollution. If one does not like the laws, target the laws, not someone working within them. On nano-particles, look to the diesel trucks and buses running down Hiawatha and Lake Street. Information is the antidote to fear.