MN Pollution Control Fines Local Cos. $190K in Q1

Local organizations collectively doled out more than $190,000 for air quality, waste, and other environmental violations during the first quarter of 2013.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) concluded 51 cases of air quality violations in 36 counties throughout Minnesota during the first quarter of this year, and related fines for local organizations totaled more than $190,000 in the period.
The number of cases is up from the first quarter of 2012, when there were 38. The amount collected from fines decreased year-over-year from $1.1 million, although more than $1 million worth of fines came from only two cases during the first quarter of 2012. Both the number of cases and fine amounts are down from last year's fourth quarter, when there were 64 cases totaling more than $730,000. 
The MPCA fined companies and other organizations that it determined violated environmental compliance procedures. Fines were for air quality, water quality, waste, stormwater, asbestos, and other violations.
Minnesota companies primarily faced fines for air quality violations. Air pollution accounted for 20 percent of the 51 cases, with those fines together totaling slightly more than $51,000.
Maple Grove-based Tiller Corporation—which specializes in sand and gravel, hot-mix asphalt, and asphalt cement products—faced the largest fine for air quality violations in North Branch. The fine totaled $19,800, with $14,800 going toward a “supplementary environmental project,” which consists of air monitoring at the site for a two-year period.
Winger-based Lucken Auto and Truck Parts, Inc., received the second-largest fine; it was required to pay $10,000 in hazardous waste violations. Lucken sells previously owned and used trucks, trailers, and construction equipment, and it has an on-site metals recycling center.
Some well-known organizations were among those that were fined.
Bayport-based Andersen Corporation, a window and door manufacturer, received the third-largest fine—$9,600—for air quality violations. Minneapolis-based Abbott Northwestern Hospital faced a fine totaling $1,250 for air quality violations.
Moorhead-based American Crystal Sugar Company, meanwhile, was fined $10,500 for air quality violations at its Moorhead and Crookston facilities. The violations follow a series of unrelated developments within the company that have generated headlines in recent months. After voting down a contract offer four times and remaining at odds with company management throughout a 20-month lockout, the company’s union workers on Saturday voted to ratify management’s contract offer and end a drawn-out, contentious labor dispute.
Other Minnesota organizations faced environmental violation fines—including one state agency and a recycling organization. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was stuck with $12,100 in fines for stormwater violations at air tanker bases in Bemidji, Hibbing, and Brainerd. And Pelican Rapids-based West Central Recycling was fined $6,950 for solid waste violations.
Click here for a complete list of the 51 MPCA enforcement cases from thee first quarter.