Minn. updating rules to fight BWCAW, Voyageurs haze

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — State regulators are preparing to add some enforcement teeth to rules meant to cut the haze that sometimes clouds the views in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park.

The haze comes mostly from the state's older coal-fired power plants and the taconite plants on the Iron Range.

Environmental groups, joined by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, say proposed changes to rules set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2009 don't go far enough.

Mining companies say they go too far.

The MPCA Citizens Board is due to vote Tuesday on whether to submit the proposed changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval as part of an EPA push to reduce haze at national parks and wilderness areas across the country.

The changes include new sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide limits for taconite plants. They also would allow power plants to follow broad new federal cap-and-trade emissions limits, rather than a set of specific limits for specific plants as required under the state's 2009 plan.

The EPA says the cap-and-trade system would yield even greater improvements. But several environmental groups sharply dispute that and won a court order in Washington, D.C., that at least temporarily blocks the EPA from using that approach.


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