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.