Public Notice: MPCA working on amended permit for Hormel-Austin

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) works to make sure that pollution does not have a
disproportionate impact on any group of people. This is the principle of environmental justice (EJ). It
means that everyone, regardless of race, color, national origin or income, receives equal levels of
environmental protection and has opportunities to participate in decisions that may affect their
environment or health.

Many of the companies that the MPCA works with are in or near areas that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency defines as environmental justice areas of concern. These are areas where additional
consideration is needed to evaluate and reduce potential disproportionate adverse impacts. The EPA
defines these areas of concern by identifying census tracts that meet one of more of the following

  • 50% or greater of the population report being Black, Indigenous, or people of color
  • Greater than 40% of the households report household incomes of less than 185% of the federal
    poverty level
  • Tribal areas

The MPCA wants Austin residents to know that it is currently working with a company located in an EJ
area of the city: Hormel Foods Corp. For more detail on this area visit

The company Hormel Foods Corp. processes meat to make food products. It is located in Austin,
Minnesota, at 500 14th Avenue NE. There are many buildings on the site that create air emissions
(pollution) which one can smell and sometimes from nearby. The emissions are generally visible coming
from the smoke stacks, but this is not always the case.

Hormel wants to add three new smoke generators inside their buildings: these are units that give meat a
smoky flavor. Hormel will also be adding one large oven to cook meat. These changes will allow the
company to process more meat, and to make these changes, the company needs to have a new
modified permit.

This permit is a legal written document from the MPCA, that Hormel needs to operate. Whenever
Hormel adds, removes or modifies their machines, the company needs to apply for a modified or new
permit. These air permits contain pollution limits designed to protect people’s health and the
environment. Before a permit becomes official, it is made available to the public for 30 days so the
public can learn about it and express concerns if desired.

The draft permit document for Hormel is expected to be available for public viewing and commenting
from the week of December 7th 2020 to the week of January 7th 2021, approximately. The draft permit
and the exact dates will be posted on the MPCA website at:, in the section « Public Notices ».

If you have
any questions or concerns about these changes at Hormel, please contact Derek Nelson at
[email protected] or (651) 757-2131.

Find translated language versions of the release here: