Increase in garbage burning turned down

Briana Bierschbach

Hennepin County will not burn more trash next year, at least not with the approval from the Minneapolis Planning Commission.


The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, a garbage burner located next door to the new Twins ballpark in downtown Minneapolis, asked the planning commission to allow them to burn about 200 more tons of garbage next year, or about a 20 percent increase. But the proposal was shut down Monday by planning commissioners who were concerned over the potential health effects of burning more trash downtown, according to the Star Tribune.


But the decision can still be appealed to the City Council within ten days, a move that has not been confirmed by the folks at Covanta Energy, who operate the plant for the county. In a previous Minnesota Daily article, officials from HERC said that the county conducted an environmental study that showed there would not be an impact on fans visiting Target Field.


The commissioners, however, did not seem convinced. "We’re well within our authority to say no," Commissioner Carla Bates argued. According to the Star Tribune, "commissioners cited the admission of Covanta’s environmental director, Jeffrey Hahn, that burning more trash will result in a small amount of additional plant emissions, but he said that pollutants will remain far below limits set by the state. Hahn said the plant has already added some equipment and would add more to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions that are closest to the current limit."


The burner, which was constructed in the 1980s, was restricted by a state limit allowing it to burn about 1,000 tons of trash per day when the facility was designed to burn about 1,200 tons, county officials say. 

The City Council has not taken any actions involving burner in more than 20 years, according to the Star Tribune.