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On July 2, 2009, Covanta Energy, on behalf of Hennepin County Environmental Services, appealed the Minneapolis Planning Commission’s decision to deny HERC’s 21% expansion proposal.  So, the question has been referred to the Minneapolis Council Committee on Zoning & Planning for a hearing on July 23, 2009.  The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 am in the Council Chamber, Room 317, Minneapolis City Hall.
Contact two important public leaders — Mayor Rybak (612-673-2100 or rt@minneapolis.org) & your Council member as soon as possible (keeping in mind the July 23rd hearing as a deadline) & let them know that you do NOT approve of allowing the HERC to increase their amount of garbage burned by 21%.  According to the HERC air permit (expired since 2003, http://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/permits/issued/05300400-003-aqpermit.pdf ), this burner is allowed to send over 2.9 million pounds per year of health-damaging pollutants up these smokestacks. This includes 2200 pounds of lead and 360 pounds of mercury. For 2002, the burner operators reported actual emissions of over one million pounds.
Covanta is asking to burn an average of 212 more tons of garbage a day at the HERC plant. The maximum allowed now is 1000 tons so this is a 21 percent increase. It could amount to over 77,000 more tons a year!  This is more toxins in the air we breathe; this is increased health risk to our population; this is an out-moded method of processing garbage.
Tell both the Mayor & your council member that you want to see the city spending resources on achieving Zero Waste, on separating & utilizing the organic components of garbage & treating them by Anaerobic Digestion for use as compost & soil amendment, recycling the metals, glass, etc. & reducing petroleum-based plastics at the point of manufacture.  The choice between burn & landfill is in large part — FALSE!  We can reduce, reuse, & recyle garbage — San Francisco has achieved 85%; we are somewhere at 40% — we can do better!
Here are the names of Minneapolis Council members:
Ward    Council Member
1    Paul Ostrow   (612) 673-2201  Paul.Ostrow@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
2    Cam Gordon   (612) 673-2202   Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
3    Diane Hofstede   (612) 673-2203   Diane.Hofstede@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
4    Barbara Johnson   (612) 673-2204    Barbara.Johnson@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
5    Don Samuels   (612) 673-2205      Don.Samuels@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
6    Robert Lilligren   (612) 673-2206    Robert.Lilligren@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
7    Lisa Goodman   (612) 673-2207     Lisa.Goodman@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
8    Elizabeth Glidden   (612) 673-2208    Elizabeth.Glidden@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
9    Gary Schiff   (612) 673-2209      Gary.Schiff@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
10    Ralph Remington   (612) 673-2210    Ralph.Remington@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
11    Scott Benson  (612) 673-2211    Scott.Benson@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
12    Sandy Colvin Roy   (612) 673-2212   Sandy.Colvin.Roy@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
13    Betsy Hodges  (612) 673-2213    Betsy.Hodges@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Kandiyohi Partners Approach Rockford, MN

On October 7, 2008, the same Kandiyohi Partners who were defeated in the Phillips neighborhood, proposed to the City Council of Rockford MN a wood-burning biomass plant.  For detailed information, see:


Looking like NAB (Not in Anybody’s Backyard!)L

Wood-Burning Power Plant Seeks New Minneapolis Home, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Saturday, June 14, 2008.


(See Local Media Coverage below)

Minneapolis Residents for Clean Air

Residents of the Minneapolis Midtown community formed this group and have been effectively advocating for the cancellation of the Kandiyohi Partners project to build an Eco Burner in their neighborhood which they are convinced is a danger to community health and sustainability.

Click here for current and comprehensive information meticulously collected by a citizen member of Minnneapolis Residents for Clean Air to counter Kandiyohi Partner’s glib claim that the Midtown Eco-Energy Project would be as harmless as “24 additional cars in the Phillips Neighborhood.”

Local Media Coverage

No Burner in Phillips Neighborhood by Steve Brandt, Star Tribune, June 7, 2008.

Xcel Leaves Developers Powerless on “Midtown Burner” Project by Burl Gilyard, Finance and Commerce, May 27, 2008.

Minneapolis Poised to Scrap Land Sale Tied to Disputed Power Plant by Steve Brandt, Star Tribune, April 8, 2008.

Minneapolis “Midtown Burner” Plan Could Go Up In Smoke by Burl Gilyard, FINANCE and COMMERCE, March 27, 2008.


Wood-Burning Plant Embroiled in Politics by Steve Brandt, Star Tribune, March 20, 2008

Public Money for Private Business: Empowerment Zone Bonding for Former Director’s Project by Dan Gordon, Twin Cities Daily Planet, February 14, 2008

March Meltdown Ahead for Midtown Eco-Energy? by Mary Turck and Dan Gordon, Twin Cities Daily Planet, January 9, 2008

Neighbors Blast Proposed Phillips Biomass Plant at Public Hearing by Dan Gordon, Twin Cities Daily Planet, December 14, 2007. A standing-room only crowd overwhelmed the moderator at the December 13 public hearing and blasted both the developers and the MPCA.

Green Fuel or Greenwashing? by Dan Gordon, Twin Cities Daily Planet, September 9, 2007. Kandiyohi Development’s proposal for a biomass plant in the Phillips neighborhood at Lake and Hiawatha.


These articles are arranged by date:
4/9/2008, Minneapolis wood-burning power plant suffers double blow
3/27/2008, “Midtown burner project hits snag with city”
3/25/2008, Small step forward for wood-burning plant
3/21/2008, “Kandiyohi’s comment”
3/19/2008, “Developer wants more time to buy site for burner”
12/25/2007, “Goodman’s actions on burner questioned”
12/20/2007, “Project isn’t catching fire with neighbors”

Environmental Assessment Worksheet

The Phillips neighborhood, along with other community groups, requested that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency conduct an Environnmental Assessment Worksheet for the proposed Midtown Eco Energy Project. The following Green Institute document , dated December 7, 2007, voices a number of remaining concerns about the proposed burner and underscores the need for an EAW to be submitted by Kandiyohi Partners to clarify some of these issues. The MPCA is in receipt of these requests; you can click here to read the current status for this EAW request.

Mayors’ Forum on Green Initiatives

From the Mayors’ Forum on Green Initiatives held on November 27, 2007, we learned that Minneapolis Mayor Rybak is currently supportive of the proposed incinerator at Lake and Hiawatha. However, Mayor Rybak is quite visionary about Zero Waste and other sustainabity issues, and he’s asking for feedback on green initiatives from constituents. It’s our opportunity to educate Mayor Rybak about the very negative aspects of incineration! Contact Information for Mayor Rybak and the Minneapolis City Council.