February 2, 2009

The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) has proposed material revisions to Minnesota Rules Chapter 4410, the body of rules that govern environmental review of project developments and expansions in the State of Minnesota.

The EQB’s proposed rule revisions include:

  • New environmental review requirements that will apply to projects located on shorelands.
  • The revision of the definition of “cumulative potential effects” which will require project proponents to conduct a more far-reaching study of potential environmental impacts.
  • Governmental agencies will be able to conduct review of draft permits prior to the completion of environmental review.
  • Facilities for the extraction or mining of sand, gravel, stone, or other nonmetallic minerals which will excavate forested or other naturally vegetated land will be subject to closer scrutiny.

The public may submit comments on the proposed rule changes beginning on January 20, 2009. Public hearings where testimony is permitted will be held at:

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2009, at the Alexandria Technical College, Room 208, 1601 Jefferson Street, Alexandria, MN; one session beginning at 2:00 p.m., and a second session beginning at 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 26, 2009, at the Fort Snelling History Center Auditorium, Fort Snelling, MN, at the junction of state highways 5 & 55; one session beginning at 2:00 p.m., and a second session beginning at 7:00 p.m.
  • Monday, March 2, 2009, at the Hermantown Public Safety Training Facility, 5111 Maple Grove Road, Hermantown, MN; one session beginning at 2:00 p.m., and a second session beginning at 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 4, 2009, at the Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Avenue NW, Bemidji, MN; one session beginning at 2:00 p.m., and a second session beginning at 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 5, 2009, Northland Arboretum, 14250  Conservation Drive, Baxter, MN; one session beginning at 2:00 p.m., and a second session beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Further information about the EQB’s rulemaking process and this rule package can be found at:http://www.eqb.state.mn.us/resource.html?Id=19877. A copy of the Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) and the proposed rule changes can be found at:http://www.eqb.state.mn.us/documents/SONARwiS1-S2-Signed-scanned%2012-24-08.pdf.

Parties who are impacted by the proposed rules may testify or submit comments expressing concerns. Joseph Maternowski, Chair of Hessian & McKasy’s Environmental Law Attorney Practice Group, has represented clients in rulemaking proceedings. 

The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy. P.A.

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