Nolan says 3 Range mines have deal on haze standard

Iron Range newsU.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN8) announced yesterday that three Iron Range taconite mines have struck a deal with federal regulators to comply with Northern Minnesota’s haze standards.

Federal haze standards relate to special air quality rules that apply to areas near national parks and wildernesses, of which there are several in the Upper Great Lakes region.

The deal applies to Arcelor-Mittal’s Minorca Mine near Mt. Iron and Cliffs’ mines at Hibbing Taconite, United Taconite in Eveleth and also its Tilden Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Individual mines are negotiating separate deals due to the differences in retrofitting needs. Essentially, mines are promising varying degrees of improved emission controls in exchange for variances on specific regulations preventing haze.

The federal haze standard is a tough nut to crack in Northern Minnesota, due to the large number of big mining and power generation facilities in the region. I’d compare it to an old house wired for fewer amps. You have to plug in stuff (plants with emissions) in a certain order, in certain places, knowing that at some point you can’t plug in any more things. Improved emissions scrubbers, however, have ensured that existing mines and power plants, and even some newer projects, are able to carry on in compliance with federal clean air laws.


  1. Federal haze standards, mine dust and the EPA making it more expensive to put folks to work up here. More regulations from DC by unknown appointed activists who’s job it is to make regulations. Take the Fed outta state regulations and leave it up to each state to determine what standards work best for them.

  2. So do you agree with Marc Dayton’s floating gasoline tax proposal ?

  3. No, we are Taxed Enough Already. Why would you want to give politicians any more money than they already receive? If they brought in 10 billion a yr they would spend 11 billion, if they brought in 20 billion a yr, they would spend 21 billion. It doesn’t matter how much they take in it is never enough. So easy to spend other folks money and tell the masses they are looking out for “you”, makes it seem so personal. It is not the amount Fed and State governments take in, it’s the spending that puts us farther in debt. Don’t you want to keep more of your hard earned money?

    • ” Taking the Fed outta state regulations ” means , in MN – 140,000 miles of pavement MN – that you generate internal revenue and don’t accept federal highway money . Cast in this fiscal light Dayton’s proposal looks , if anything , paltry and inadequate , and leaves open the twin lazies of resorting to debt or raiding a cash budget surplus just to tread water ( like in a pothole ) . Basically third world solutions to buy a little more time for an infrastructure that the pure science engineering community might assess as increasingly second world . How about toll roads, then ? With taxes get what you pay for and have (white-knuckled on the steering wheel) skin in the game . How about a toll road system ?

  4. I don’t wish to disrupt the flow of comments but, tell me Aaron….why would you lead this post with “Nolan”? What the value did he add to this whole issue?…He “announced”?? Wow, good for him.

    • Nolan sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Water Resources and the Environment subcommittee , and represents the district . Tell me, would you take a guaranteed $1 million today or a 50/50 shot at 5 million some indeterminate time in the future ?

  5. Sounds like just another regulatory rollover to the political clout of an industry that has no concept of environmentally responsible behavior. Shameful….

  6. @R47, the information came from Nolan’s office. Duluth media reported in the same way.

  7. What environmental irresponsible behavior are you referring to? The mines are taking out a natural rock crushing it and making it into iron pellets while being monitored steady by numerous environmental groups.

  8. Lyle, in 2008 we raised the gas tax by 5 cents a gallon to pay for roads/bridges in MN. That was sold as a fix for the budget so our 140,000 miles of roads could get the maintenance they needed. In 2010 they were again saying the budget was too small to service our roads. It never stops with the wanting more money from the tax payers. The change has to be in HOW we spend the BILLIONS we take in- not we need more money.

  9. The budget was optimized for ’60’s assumptions and scale , and 5 cents is a drop in the bucket , given that food and energy somehow get to perform actuarial shape-shifting and be excluded from the inflation index. Toll roads are a pure-play user fee that frees money for other growth-oriented initiatives that aren’t doomed to the retrograde black hole of ‘service’ and ‘maintenance’ , and will encourage sensible development ( I don’t advocate toll-roads ) .

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