Lake Pepin on a very warm blustery day last week

There’s a bill out there that will eliminate Minnesota’s Environmental Quality Board and shove that work over to the MPCA, at the same time, gutting DNR and MPCA review by linking to funding or lack thereof.  Shifting preparation of environmental documents to the project applicant.  This is not crying wolf, this is happening, it is going through committees in both House and Senate, and I’m at a loss to describe how awful this is. Here’s the point, in short:

Mindful that defunding is a primary means to neuter an agency, check this, for the DNR, but repeated as amendment to 116.07 for Pollution Control Agency in lines 10.3-10.15:

Look at line 3.32 “nor shall it expire without the consent of the permittee.”  Gutting DNR and MPCA authority.  Failure to fund agencies is such a problem that the MPCA has a backlog of expired permits.  This means that permits would go on and on and on, because permit violations are not usually an “imminent threat” but instead a long term cumulative impact.

How about this — earth to Mars, environmental review is not decisional, nothing should be deemed approved because an EIS is approved:

The project applicant prepares the Draft Environmental Impact Statement?  WHAT?!?!

Still picking out more specifics…

Bottom line, Minnesotans, here’s the “TO DO” of the day.  Contact the House and Senate authors, and send a quick round of emails or call the House Ways & Means and Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance.  Focus on the authors and Republican members.  Tell them to vote this bill DOWN!  Contact info below.

Here are the House authors:

rep.dan.fabian@house.mn (651) 296-9635, rep.dale.lueck@house.mn (651) 296-2365, rep.steve.green@house.mn (651) 296-9918, rep.josh.heintzeman@house.mn (651) 296-4333

House status: TEXT.  On March 8th it was re-referred to House Ways & Means Committee. No meeting scheduled yet.  Contact the House Ways & Means Committee members — their emails:

rep.jim.knoblach@house.mn, rep.bob.vogel@house.mn, rep.lyndon.carlson@house.mn, rep.sarah.anderson@house.mn, rep.dave.baker@house.mn, rep.tony.cornish@house.mn, rep.greg.davids@house.mn, rep.matt.dean@house.mn, rep.bob.dettmer@house.mn, rep.steve.drazkowski@house.mn, rep.dan.fabian@house.mn, ep.pat.garofalo@house.mn, rep.bob.gunther@house.mn, rep.rod.hamilton@house.mn, rep.alice.hausman@house.mn, rep.debra.hilstrom@house.mn, rep.frank.hornstein@house.mn, rep.tina.liebling@house.mn, rep.jenifer.loon@house.mn, rep.paul.marquart@house.mn, rep.erin.murphy@house.mn, rep.bud.nornes@house.mn, rep.gene.pelowski@house.mn, rep.jeanne.poppe@house.mn, rep.paul.torkelson@house.mn, rep.dean.urdahl@house.mn, rep.jean.wagenius@house.mn

Here are the Senate authors:

sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn (651) 297-8063, sen.carrie.ruud@senate.mn (651) 296-4913,  Sen. Paul Gazelka (link to form)(651) 296-4875, Sen. David Tomassoni (link to form)(651) 296-8017.

Senate Status: TEXT – was Amended and amendment not posted.  TWO Committee meetings scheduled, one TODAY, BUT status is conflicting:

Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections
03/13/2017 Meeting scheduled for 05:30 PM in Room 1200 Minnesota Senate Bldg.
03/13/2017 No Committee Action Recorded
Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Finance
03/15/2017 Meeting scheduled for 10:30 AM in Room 1150 Minnesota Senate Bldg.

Here’s the conflict, says it’s already been through State Gov’t Finance despite above 5:30 schedule!

03/13/2017

So I think the best bet is to contact Environment & Natural Resources Finance:

sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn, sen.carrie.ruud@senate.mn, sen.erik.simonson@senate.mn, sen.bill.weber@senate.mn

And links to those using web form: Sen. David Tomassoni, Sen. Thomas Bakk, Sen. Dziekic, Sen. Justin Eichorn, Sen. Foung Hawj, Sen. Mark Johnson, Sen. Andrew Lang, Sen. Andrew Mathews,

 

 

 

silica-sand-washing-plantA quick reminder:

January 5, 2017 – 2:30pm

Silica Sand Technical Assistance Team Meeting

January 5th, 2017 @ 2:30pm in the DNR Central Office Lobby Conference Room.

Meet to discuss technical and agency updates to the EQB Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects, agency rulemaking updates, and updates on silica sand activities in the State of Minnesota

Conference call: 1-888-742-5095 | Conference Code: 3649223869#

Agenda:
1) Introductions
2) Agency updates on silica sand activities in the State of Minnesota
3) Technical and agency updates to EQB Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects
4) Agency updates on rulemaking
a. DNR
b. MPCA
c. EQB
5) EQB Ordinance Library
6) Other topics
7) Adjourn

Show up — keep the heat on to get these projects MOVING!  It’s been YEARS!

MaidenRockSandDerail_RepubBeagle

letter-writing

Air Permits at the MPCA!  Time to sit right down and write a Comment to the MPCA about the Titan Lansing sand processing and loading facility in North Branch.  Scroll down for the primary documents.

Send Comments, by Friday, August 28, 2015, to:

Andrew Luberda   
      email: andrew.lubera@state.mn.us
Air Quality Permits Section Industrial Division 
MN Pollution Control Agency  
520 Lafeyette Road North
St Paul MN 55155

The notice does not list an email for Luberda or a MPCA comment url, so I called him up to get his email.  I asked if they’d correct this omission, and got a non-responsive response.

Tiller Sand transloading facility… If you recall, this was that Tiller Sand facility that they built and started operating WITHOUT ANY PERMITS, just went ahead and did it.  That said, their history isn’t exactly as pristine as… well… as pristine as frac sand!

January 25, 2013 – Tiller Corp. is penalized for air-quality violations

November 20, 2014 – Tiller Corporation penalized for air-quality violations

Then it was sold to Titan Lansing in November 2014 (see comments about air quality and permits in this article).

In the Chisago County Press here’s the poop about the MPCA Air Permit and info on how to file a Comment, great info about various Comment and administrative options (not that the MPCA ever does contested cases):

Comments sought to amend air quality permit

Here’s the scoop from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:

Open for public comment through Friday, August 28, 2015.  Send Comments to:

Andrew Luberda   
      email: andrew.lubera@state.mn.us
Air Quality Permits Section Industrial Division 
MN Pollution Control Agency  
520 Lafeyette Road North
St Paul MN 55155

STBSign

Today was the Save the Bluffs sponsored “Conference for Frac Sand Activists: Networking, Learning, Advocating.”  Katie Himanga did a tremendous job organizing this, great turnout, and I came back energized!

Here’s my presentation on “Opportunities for Legal Intervention” (as opposed to not so legal??? hmmmmm):

Overland Handout

LOBBYISTS ‘R’ US (this is OLD!)

People were VERY interested in both Intervention in a permitting and proceeding and in Application for a change in Zoning Ordinance.  Both of these are important because they put “the people” in the driver’s seat, through becoming a party in the proceeding, or through becoming the applicant.

INTERVENTION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT PERMITTING PROCEEDING

Intervention in a permitting proceeding is authorized under Minn. Stat. 116B.09, Subd. 1.  This is useful where a project has been proposed and applied for, because it gives you a seat at the table:

Here’s an example where a party has intervened, in this case in a City of Minneapolis permitting proceeding:

Friends of the Riverfront, et al., Relators, vs. DeLaSalle High School, Respondent, City of Minneapolis, Respondent

Here’s an example of a simple Petition (I’d recommend adding more narrative and supporting documents):

City of Scandia – Notice of Intervention (Final – 7-21-09)

APPLICATION FOR ZONING CHANGE

Pretty much anyone can apply for a Zoning Ordinance change.  It was done to get the Goodhue County Wind Ordinance moving, and got a county Wind Study Committee started under the Planning Advisory Committee to put the Ordinance together.  The same thing happened with Silica Sand mining, a Silica Sand study committee was formed, but it wasn’t utilized in this instance nearly as much as it was for the Wind Ordinance.

Here’s the Application for Goodhue County, which also explains how the process works, what to do, etc.  It’s pretty simple, apply and the process begins slowly grinding forward.  Most Counties will have their application online:

Goodhue County_2015 Change of Zone_201501090914372783

Here’s the Save the Bluff’s Petition for a Goodhue County Zoning change that got StB a seat at the table:

Binder-Zoning Change Application-FINAL

Here are a few of posts from PAC and County Board meetings during that time as it slowly went through the county process:

Silica Sand Mining 1,000 ft setback from Public Waters – August 19th, 2014

Monday 6p – Silica sand at Goodhue PAC Meeting  -November 16th, 2013

Most interesting Goodhue PAC meeting – August 20th, 2013

Goodhue County extends moratorium – August 6th, 2013

Save the Bluffs files Application for Zoning Ordinance Change – July 15th, 2013

20150509_110538_resized

 

Lynn Schoen, Wabasha City Council and frac sand activist who has devoted years to this, tells the House Mining Committee exactly what’s what.

This committee is so skewed, and as Lynn Schoen notes, they are there to represent us. That’s not happening, and it’s the mining industry being given the committee time.

Here’s the whole hearing:

Watch live streaming video from uptakemnhouse at livestream.com

Video is acting a little funky, ??

Here’s the Committee emmails to let them know what you think about regulation of silica sand mining and their industry-based focus. They need to hear from a broader spectrum, oh yes, that means YOU:
rep.tom.hackbarth@house.mn, rep.dale.lueck@house.mn, rep.david.dill@house.mn, rep.mark.anderson@house.mn, rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn, rep.jack.considine@house.mn, rep.tony.cornish@house.mn, rep.jerry.hertaus@house.mn, rep.brian.johnson@house.mn, rep.deb.kiel@house.mn, rep.eric.lucero@house.mn, rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn, rep.carly.melin@house.mn, rep.jason.metsa@house.mn, rep.barb.yarusso@house.mn

Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Membership 2015 – 2016

Meets: Tuesday and Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. in Room 10 of the State Office Building.

Tom Hackbarth (R) Committee Chair
409 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-2439
E-mail: rep.tom.hackbarth@house.mn

Dale Lueck (R) Vice Chair
423 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-2365
E-mail: rep.dale.lueck@house.mn

David Dill (DFL) DFL Lead
311 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-2190
E-mail: rep.david.dill@house.mn

Mark Anderson (R)
579 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4293
E-mail: rep.mark.anderson@house.mn

Tom Anzelc (DFL)
317 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4936
E-mail: rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn

John (Jack) Considine Jr. (DFL)
323 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3248
E-mail: rep.jack.considine@house.mn

Tony Cornish (R)
369 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4240
E-mail: rep.tony.cornish@house.mn

Jerry Hertaus (R)
403 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-9188
E-mail: rep.jerry.hertaus@house.mn

Brian Johnson (R)
421 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4346
E-mail: rep.brian.johnson@house.mn

Debra Kiel (R)
537 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-5091
E-mail: rep.deb.kiel@house.mn

Eric Lucero (R)
515 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-1534
E-mail: rep.eric.lucero@house.mn

Denny McNamara (R)
365 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-3135
E-mail: rep.denny.mcnamara@house.mn

Carly Melin (DFL)
315 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0172
E-mail: rep.carly.melin@house.mn

Jason Metsa (DFL)
313 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0170
E-mail: rep.jason.metsa@house.mn

Barb Yarusso (DFL)
307 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0141
E-mail: rep.barb.yarusso@house.mn

Committee Staff
Administrator: Stephanie Lamphere 651-296-5528
Legislative Assistant: Claire Leiter 651-296-4272
Non-Partisan Staff Assigned to the Committee
Research Analysts: Janelle Taylor 651-296-5039 and Christopher Kleman 651-296-8959