Well, that’s not quite right.  This “rulemaking” has yet to get ON track, and that’s what’s bothering me.

Remember when the MPCA staff said they couldn’t imagine how a rulemaking advisory committee could or would work?  From an earlier blog post, “Someone explain rulemaking to the MPCA here’s the MPCA resistence and an explanation:

MPCA staff’s report to the EQB stated inexplicably that they were “confused,” claiming ignorance of how rulemakign works and the impact of comments at this stage:

i. Staff requests Board direction on a question that arose at the August 2nd public meetings.

Members of the public expressed interest in a citizen committee to participate in the rulemaking. It is not clear how a citizen committee would affect the rulemaking process laid out in Minn. Statutes Ch. 14. A multi-step public review and comment process is already required in that statute and we just completed the preliminary step. Rulemaking is essentially creating law: Minnesota Rules have the force and effect of law. Rulemaking is a lengthy process, averaging about two years.

Once more with feeling, state law clearly and expressly authorizes and establishes the role of a Rulemaking Advisory Committee.  The statutory purpose is to COMMENT on the proposed draft… BEFORE it’s published:


Subd. 2.Advisory committees.

Each agency may also appoint committees to comment, before publication of a notice of intent to adopt or a notice of hearing, on the subject matter of a possible rulemaking under active consideration within the agency.

Once more with feeling… you’ve got to have a DRAFT to COMMENT ON!

Here’s the link for the state’s Silica Sand Rulemaking Advisory Panel page.  And from that page:

Past meetings

April 2014

March 2014

January 2014

The panel first met on January 29.

Look at this presentation, beginning at 10:40, where there’s an “explanation” with a slide for the group:Process Slide

Catherine Neuschler’s explanation, at the April meeting (rough version, not quite exact) which goes around the PURPOSE of an Advisory Committee, which is to review drafts:

Your role is to inform the agencies on their silica sand rulemakings … on proposals or other key issues, things we bring to you and you want to bring to us… There’s not going to be… we do not expect any preparation for a panel report, meeting notes and recordings, provide record of what was said, not expecting a panel report.  Of course all of you can make official comments as part of the rulemaking process… (no mention of draft review!!!), if you want to work together as a group to write some comments, or as a subgroup, to write some comments…  To bring home what those places are where you may have the opportunity, where you will have the opportunity to weigh in (referring to chart above).  Here’s a simplified version of the rulemaking process as a reminder, the process we’re in now is”Agency develops rules and SONAR” so that’s where we’re looking for stakeholder input … Various agencies, depending on how they do their process, may release drafts rules for public review, certainly if we do that, if any of the agencies do that, that will be a place you can weigh in.  The next step is Agency and Executive Branch review…

WOW!  Then a discussion of how this process goes forward:

The way I view then, the next step, what we’re doing internally in the PCA, is that in the summer, we’ll present, the agencies will present some conceptual overviews of rule concepts, and I am adamant, that’s going to look a lot like this, that it’s going to say something like, what’s there, what do we think we want to do, if it’s Air Emissions, OK, we think Best Management Practices, monitoring, something else, what do we think those will consist of, and present that to you for your feedback, so that you really have a sense of what do we think is important, where do we see this rule going, and can respond to that and give us that feedback.   Charlie and I were talking about this a little bit in the car, sort of to give you that concept before we get into that, what do all the little details of the words have to say, because then I think you can understand where we think we’re going, give us some feedback on that, and then when we start to write the language, if it doesn’t operationalize the concepts that we talked about, you can say, that is not what you said you were going to do, we read this as something completely different.

The way I view this going foward, in the summer, we’ll present some of those conceptual overviews, various agencies will do that, then at the end of the summer, Will and I have been talking about it, we’ll use an EQB meeting, as sort of a public review of those conceptual overviews from all of the agencies and the where the public can have more input as well, and then in the fall, if the agencies would make presentations with some more defined rule proposals, and how defined they is going to vary by agencies, but probably some real concrete rule language and SONAR.

So that’s how we view it moving forward, and if something is a really big concern to you guys, obviously we can adjust.  Your advice and your input is very, very valuable to us…  It’s advice and input… We don’t expect a written product, we don’t expect that this is a voting process.  We’ll be listening for consensus, for what we hear… that you’re all on the same page and you agree, that some people are kind of reserved about it it but you can live with it… we’re not going to be doing voting….  Our goal is that the rules that result from this process is that we’ll have rules everyone can live with.  That’s really what we’ve found with this stakeholder process.

So what I’m getting out of this is that this summer, “concepts” will be brought to the committee for feedback, and that maybe, MAYBE, they might get some draft rules before the agencies present it with the SONAR for comment.  Most I’ve heard is that they “hope” to have some draft language.  The law was passed what, last May?  These meetings started in January, and September is 9 months from January.  It shouldn’t take that long.  Bottom line, I think this is a “make work” thing for avoiding producing the draft rules for review.

From the MPCA site:

Upcoming meetings

All of these meetings will be held at the People’s Energy Cooperative (Oronoco, Minn.) and run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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