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A county judge has ruled Northern Metal Recycling’s Becker plant cannot reopen following a raging fire that took days to extinguish and which released pollutants into the local community.


An appeal will be heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.


However, the same judge rejected the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s dictum that the company’s Minneapolis site had to remain closed, noting it was mostly used for storage and that the fire in Becker was unrelated. The judge said that the Minneapolis site could remain open if it heeded local ordnances.


Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy attorneys disagreed with the ruling, referring to a twice-cited, and outstanding, code violation for stacking metal higher than 20 feet at the Minneapolis plant. City inspectors are expected to visit the plant next week.


The Becker site will stay closed until the MPCA permits it to reopen.

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