For immediate release: June 6, 2008

Contact: Anne Perry Moore (218) 723-2356
Toll-free: 1-800-657-3864

Duluth, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Hibbing Public Utilities Commission (Hibbing PUC) recently reached an enforcement settlement that resolved the company's past failure to comply with state air quality rules and permit conditions. The settlement addresses violations of carbon-monoxide and fugitive-dust emissions and visible emissions limits that occurred in 2007 during operation of Hibbing PUC's new, wood-fired boiler. As a result, Hibbing PUC has paid a $44,500 penalty and has taken actions to correct identified problems.

Hibbing PUC's facility provides steam heat for city customers and generates electrical power. In late 2006, the facility installed a wood-fired boiler to burn wood biomass harvested in the Hibbing area. Adding this type of boiler to its fuel mix lowered the facility's dependence on coal for fuel and reduced its related carbon emissions. However, operational problems have caused emissions violations since the boiler's installation. Hibbing PUC continues to work with the equipment suppliers to improve the boiler's operation and reduce emissions.

Minnesota law requires owners and operators of facilities with the potential to release air pollutants to have MPCA permits. They must also carefully monitor and maintain equipment because emissions exceeding state standards can degrade air quality. The MPCA offers outreach and training to help facilities meet their permit requirements. For more information on air quality permits and emission standards, call Steve Palzkill, MPCA air quality inspector, at (218) 529-6255 or (800) 657-3864.


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