DAILY TO DO: Quick, send emails to withdraw/vote no on HF 1666 and SF 1310

The Minnesota legislature is trying to repeal the legislative mandate to the MPCA for rulemaking on silica sand particulate emissions!  Why is this a priority?  How is it in the public interest?  This effort to quash rulemaking is rather odd because the silica sand boom has gone bust, Bakken BOOM! has gone bust, the market has decided and there are few (no?) plans for new silica sand mines in Minnesota.  Now is the best time to enact protective legislation, while there’s no pressure for new mining permits.

The legislature passed the following rulemaking mandate in CHAPTER 14–S.F.No. 1086 way back in 2013 (keep in mind this is 2017, FOUR YEARS LATER and it is STILL not done!) with the exemption from Minnesota Statutes section 14.125 “no time constraint” added by moi:

    Sec. 105. RULES; SILICA SAND.
(a) The commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency shall adopt rules pertaining
to the control of particulate emissions from silica sand projects. The rulemaking is exempt from Minnesota Statutes, section 14.125 [no time deadline].
(b) The commissioner of natural resources shall adopt rules pertaining to the
reclamation of silica sand mines. The rulemaking is exempt from Minnesota Statutes, section 14.125 [no time constraint].
(c) By January 1, 2014, the Department of Health shall adopt an air quality
health-based value for silica sand.
(d) The Environmental Quality Board shall amend its rules for environmental
review, adopted under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 116D, for silica sand mining and processing to take into account the increased activity in the state and concerns over the size of specific operations. The Environmental Quality Board shall consider whether the requirements of Minnesota Statutes, section 116C.991, should remain part of the environmental review requirements for silica sand and whether the requirements should be different for different geographic areas of the state. The rulemaking is exempt from Minnesota Statutes, section 14.125 [no time constraint].
EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

There are identical bills afoot, HF 1666 and SF 1310 to eliminate the LEGISLATIVE MANDATE of rules regarding silica sand particulate emissions:

WHAT?  Who’s behind this?  Mining industry?  Given Sen. Tomassoni is one sponsor, perhaps, and given former Sen. Saxhaug’s nastiness about the enabling legislation, even more likely.  MPCA?  Given their foot dragging and resistance to citizen involvement, perhaps.  Back when this rulemaking was just getting going, the MPCA was against having a Citizens Advisory group is authorized by Minn. Stat. 14.10:


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.

And the MPCA’s objection:

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

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.

So now we have this bill, headed to the House and Senate Environment Committees, contact info below.


Contact the House authors and ask that they withdraw HF 1666 (be sure to put bill number in subject line):

Contact the House Committee members and ask that they vote no on HF 1666 (be sure to put bill number in subject line):

Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Membership 2017 – 2018

rep.dan.fabian@house.mn, rep.josh.heintzeman@house.mn, rep.rick.hansen@house.mn, rep.jeff.backer@house.mn, rep.jamie.becker-finn@house.mn, rep.matt.bliss@house.mn, rep.karen.clark@house.mn, rep.tony.cornish@house.mn, rep.rob.ecklund@house.mn, rep.peter.fischer@house.mn, rep.steve.green@house.mn, rep.joe.hoppe@house.mn, rep.frank.hornstein@house.mn, rep.brian.johnson@house.mn, rep.clark.johnson@house.mn, rep.sandy.layman@house.mn, rep.dale.lueck@house.mn , rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.jim.newberger@house.mn, rep.mike.sundin@house.mn, rep.chris.swedzinski@house.mn, rep.paul.torkelson@house.mn, rep.mark.uglem@house.mn , rep.jean.wagenius@house.mn


Contact Senate authors and ask that they withdraw SF 1310 (be sure to put bill number in subject line):


Contact Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee and ask that they vote no on SF 1310 (be sure to put bill number in subject line):

sen.carrie.ruud@senate.mn; sen.bill.weber@senate.mn; sen.david.senjem@senate.mn

Link for forms for all those who won’t use Senate email HERE!

Take a few minutes, do some cut and pasting, and tell them HF 1666 & SF 1310 are not in the public interest.  We need MPCA rulemaking to be completed to protect the public from particulate emissions of silica sand mining, transport and transload.

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