Senate Counsel, Research
and Fiscal Analysis
Minnesota Senate Bldg.
95 University Avenue W. Suite 3300
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-4791
Tom Bottern
Director
   Senate   
State of Minnesota
 
 
 
 
 
S.F. No. 1087 - Environmental Reforms; Environmental Quality Board Abolished (Second Engrossment)
 
Author: Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen
 
Prepared By: Greg Knopff, Senate Analyst (651/296-9399)
 
Date: March 20, 2017



 

 ARTICLE 1. ENVIRONMENTAL REFORMS

Section 1 [DNR permitting efficiency; public notice] requires the Commissioner of Natural Resources to issue a public notice of a complete individual Tier 2 permit within 150 days of a completed permit application when public notice of a permit is required, unless the applicant and the commissioner agree on a different date.  Before issuing the public notice, the commissioner must provide a copy of the draft permit and consider comments from the permit applicant.  This section also: (1) requires that the commissioner provide the permit applicant with a schedule for reviewing the permit application when the applicant receives a notice that an individual Tier 2 permit application is complete and the applicant requests the schedule; and (2) removes the requirement to report on Tier 1 permits.

Section 2 [DNR expedited permits] includes the preapplication process to what a permit applicant can pay to the Commissioner of Natural Resources for expedited permitting and requires the commissioner to provide a permit applicant with an estimate of the costs of the expedited permit.

Section 3 [DNR permits during shutdown] provides that during a state government shutdown:

  1. DNR permits may not be terminated, be suspended, or expire without the consent of the permittee, except when the permittee is in breach or nonperformance or when there is an imminent threat; and
  2. Environmental review may not be suspended or terminated.

Section 4 [DNR unadopted rules] directs the Commissioner of Natural Resources to not enforce an unadopted rule. If an unadopted rule is challenged, the commissioner must overcome a presumption against the unadopted rule.  The commissioner must show that it is an interpretation of statute or rule within the plain meaning, or it is a long-standing interpretation of an ambiguous statute or rule.  This section also provides that any guideline, bulletin, criterion, manual standard, interpretive pronouncement by the commissioner that is incorporated by reference into a rule must be revised only through rulemaking.

Section 5 [Nonferrous metallic mineral leases] provides that nonferrous metallic mineral leases shall not be canceled by the state for failure meet production requirements prior to the 36th year of the lease.

Section 6 [Mining permit appeals] provides that only final mining permit orders are appealable and they must be appealed directly to the Court of Appeals.

Section 7 [Wetland replacement siting] provides that wetland replacement sites identified in an EIS may be approved under the Wetland Conservation Act, within one year of the adequacy determination, without further modification.

Section 8 [PCA permitting efficiency] requires that the Commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency provide the permit applicant with a schedule for issuing an individual Tier 2 permit when the applicant receives a notice that the permit application is complete and the applicant requests the review.  This section also removes the reporting requirement for Tier 1 permits.

Section 9 [PCA public notice; permits] requires the Commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency to issue a public notice of a complete permit within 150 days of a completed individual Tier 2 permit application when public notice of a permit is required, unless the applicant and the commissioner agree on a different date.  Before issuing the public notice, the commissioner must provide a copy of draft permit and consider comments from the permit applicant.

Section 10 [PCA expedited permits] includes the preapplication process to what a permit applicant can pay to the Commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency for expedited permitting and requires the commissioner to provide a permit applicant with an estimate of the costs of the expedited permit.

Section 11 [PCA permits during shutdown] provides that during a state government shutdown:

  1. PCA permits may not be terminated, be suspended, or expire without the consent of the permittee, except when the permittee is in breach or nonperformance or when there is an imminent threat; and
  2. environmental review may not be suspended or terminated.

Section 12 [PCA unadopted rules] directs the Commissioner of the PCA to not enforce an unadopted rule.  If an unadopted rule is challenged, the commissioner must overcome a presumption against the unadopted rule.  The commissioner must show that it is an interpretation of statute or rule within the plain meaning, or it is a long-standing interpretation of an ambiguous statute or rule.  This section also provides that any guideline, bulletin, criterion, manual standard, interpretive pronouncement by the PCA that is incorporated by reference into a rule must be revised only through rulemaking.

Section 13 [EIS preparation] provides that when the environmental impact statement (EIS) notice of preparation is published, any agency with permitting responsibility for the project must accept and begin reviewing permit applications for the project.  This section also eliminates mandatory environmental review for feedlots that are not in environmentally sensitive areas.

Section 14 [Judicial review of an EIS] provides that appeal of a final decision on an EIS must be within 30 days of the final decision.  The time period under current law is 30 days after a party receives notice of the decision.

Section 15 [EIS assessment of costs] specifies that the assessment is only for the responsible governmental unit’s costs of the EIS preparation and allows a project proposer to prepare a draft EIS for submission.

 ARTICLE 2. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY BOARD ABOLISHED

Sections 1 to 39 [Technical changes for EQB abolishment] are technical statutory changes related to the repeal of the Environmental Quality Board (EQB).  Included in the changes are transfers of EQB programs to other agencies. They are:

  • coordination of groundwater protection programs, Clean Water Council;
  • coordination of water resources planning, Clean Water Council;
  • supplementary waste management review, PCA;
  • coordination of genetically engineered organism release permits, Commissioner of Agriculture;
  • genetically engineered wild rice notification, DNR;
  • silica sand technical assistance teams, DNR; and
  • environmental review rules, PCA.

Section 40 [Environmental review transfer] transfers the authority for environmental review from the abolished EQB to the PCA.

Section 41 [Revisor’s instructions] directs the Revisor of the Statutes to make necessary name changes in the statutes related to the repeal of the EQB.  The following changes are directed:

  • “EQB” is replaced by “PCA” for the purposes of environmental review;
  • “EQB Monitor” is replaced by “Environmental Quality Monitor;”
  • “EQB” is replaced by “commissioner of natural resources” for the purpose of the Critical Areas Act; and
  • “EQB” is replaced by the “commissioner of agriculture” for the purpose of eminent domain actions against an agricultural preserve.

Section 42 [Repealer] repeals Minnesota Statutes, sections:

               103A.403 – EQB nitrate data;

               103A.43 – EQB water assessments and reports;

               103F.614 – EQB eminent domain actions process;

               116C.02 – EQB definition;

               116C.03, subdivisions 1 to 6 – EQB creation;

               116C.04, subdivisions 1-4, 7, 10, and 11 – EQB powers and duties;

               116C.06 – EQB hearings;

               116C.08 – EQB federal funds applications and donations acceptance;

               116C.71, subdivisions 1c and 2a – EQB definition;

               116C.721 – EQB public participation;

               116C.722 – EQB legal assistance to Indian tribes;

               116C.724, subdivisions 2 and 3 – EQB permit for field investigations, tests, and studies;

               116C.91, subdivision 2 – EQB definition; and

               116G.02, subdivision 2 – EQB definition.

 

 
Check on the status of this bill
 
Back to Senate Counsel and Research Bill Summaries page
 

 
This page is maintained by the Office of Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis for the Minnesota Senate.
 
Last review or update: 03/20/2017
 
If you see any errors on this page, please e-mail us at webmaster@senate.mn