In light of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest overreach, United States Representative Chip Cravaack introduced H.R. 6507, the Promoting Nuanced Taconite Regulations Act. Importantly, H.R. 6507 would give the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) carefully-crafted regional haze State Implementation Plan primacy over the EPA's latest attempted scheme to regulate taconite mines. In addition, this legislation would establish a 10-year pause on new, haze-related EPA taconite regulations.
"The Eighth District of Minnesota has some of the best air quality in the state. This ideologically-driven overreach risks production slowdowns at some mines on the Iron Range. I support maintaining and improving our air visibility, but this federal regulation ignores years of research by the MPCA and neglects to account for the years it can take to plan, test, and perfect modifications to these highly specialized taconite furnaces.", said Cravaack.
Federal haze rules were designed to increase visibility in nationally significant areas like Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters. Depending on the day, visibility in the Boundary Waters can be anywhere from roughly 33 and 120 miles. According to the MPCA, about one-third of the haze comes from the state of Minnesota and roughly half of that one-third comes from northeastern Minnesota.
Congress specified that States should take the lead role in addressing regional haze issues, but in August 2012, the EPA unilaterally dismissed the MPCA's careful study of best available technologies for retrofitting taconite furnaces and decided to create a new federal regulation. The EPA proposed rule gives Minnesota taconite mines as little as 18 months to comply with the order.
Congressman Cravaack serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- where he is Vice Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee -- the Homeland Security Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The 8th Congressional District covers 18 counties in Northeast Minnesota.