Over nine years, and how many of those years going to St. Paul for meetings, how many hours of editing and commenting, of group meetings to go over changes, proposed suggestions, meaningful public participation…

… ha… ha… ha… ha… sigh…

Well, here’s the Minnesota Public FUtilities Commission in action:

WHEW!  Got over the hurdle!  Goodhue Wind Truth’s Petition for Rulemaking for Wind Siting, Minn. R. Ch. 7854, has been accepted by the Public Utilities Commission.  But even better, Notice came out today of a Comment Period:

Here’s the full notice:

Notice of Comment Period – 20188-145500-01

Now’s the time to get this rulemaking moving, it’s only 23 years overdue!

There’s a rulemaking afoot, and rulemaking hearing.  Usually rulemakings are the not-so-blind leading the blind, because by the time there’s a rule to comment on, the fix is in.  It’s been decided how it will go, and the public comment period is just a box to check off.  All the action occurs before it is released, the wrangling about language, the focus, all that is done by the agency in consultation with “stakeholders” who are typically the corporate sort that agencies regard as their “constituents” and there’s little public or advocate participation.  That’s how it works.  If we’re (we the people) are lucky, or if we really push for it, there’s an Advisory Committee, as authorized by Minn. Stat. 14.10:

14.101 ADVICE ON POSSIBLE RULES.

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.

I don’t see any evidence that it happened here.  So…  we have a proposed rule, and the comment period is now open, and hearings are being held in various spots in Minnesota.

There’s a hearing now scheduled for Red Wing (links to docs below), which was not in the original list:

Red Wing Nitrate Hearing
Tuesday, June 5

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Minnesota State College Southeast
308 Pioneer Road
Red Wing, MN 55066

Here’s the original schedule:

1:00-6:00 PM on Monday, July 16, 2018
Robert Boeckman Middle School
800 Denmark Ave
Farmington, MN 55024

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Stewartville Civic Center
105 1st St E
Stewartville, MN 55976

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Thursday, July 19, 2018
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
1450 College Way
Worthington, MN 56187

10:00 – 4:00 PM on Wednesday, July 25, 2018
River’s Edge Convention Center
10 Fourth Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM on Thursday, July 26, 2018
American Legion
900 1st St E
Park Rapids, MN 5670

The “draft” rule has been released for public comment, but there was a first draft rule from June 2017.  Below is the official draft, revised in April, 2018:

Draft Groundwater Protection Rule

Groundwater Protection Rule (PDF: 328 KB / 26 pages)
Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) (PDF: 3.18 MB / 164 pages)
Notice of Hearing (PDF: 85 KB / 3 pages)
SONAR Appendixes (PDF: 15.73 MB / 208 pages)

COMMENT PERIOD:

  • Initial Comment Period closes on July 31, 2018 at 4:30 p.m
  • Rebuttal Comment Period: August 1, 2018 through 4:30 p.m. on August 7, 2018

Here’s where to send comments (note SEND TO OAH, and not Dept. of Ag):

https://mi1111esotaoah.granicusideas.comldiscussio11s/

or

Administrative Law Judge Palmer-Denig

Office of Administrative Hearings

P.O. Box 64620

Saint Paul, Minnesota 55164-0620

There are more specific instructions for filing comments on the OAH site:

Instructions: To comment, scroll down to “Topic: Submit a Comment” and click “View Topic.”Please make sure that your comments:

  • Identify the specific part or subpart of the rule you are addressing;
  • Specify whether you support or oppose the proposed rule language;
  • Give reasons for your views; and
  • Be specific and offer language changes to solve the problems you identify.

Attachments: Commenters may attach up to three documents to a comment. Allowed attachments include PDFs, spreadsheets, and word documents. Please include your name and contact information on all attachments.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be specific, and to refer to parts of the rule that you’re commenting about.  Vague rah-rah OR blah, blah, comments will have no impact, nor will form letters or postcards.  Once more with feeling, be specific, and to refer to parts of the rule.  Have at it!

Coal ash, remember that big impoundment release, photo above, not all that long ago?

Good grief, it was a DECADE ago, and it’s still a mess.  From the EPA page:

EPA’s response to the TVA coal ash release in Kingston, TN

And another ash impoundment failure, our friends at Duke Energy, from EPA page:

EPA’s response to the Duke Energy coal ash spill in Eden, NC

It’s an issue in Minnesota too:

Who cares?  Well, once a rule is proposed, there’s not much variation, because if there is, then it has to start all over again and go through this process.  This is proposed to “amend” the 2015 final rule, so it can’t be good.  Speak up NOW!  Go to EPA’s Regulations.gov and make Comments under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2017-0286 — open for 45 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, which is/was when?  Figure it’s published NOW, and just do it.

From the EPA’s site, here’s the rule proposed to gut the 2015 final rule, because gutting regulation, that’s what this administration does:

View a pre-publication version of the proposed rule

And here’s the poop cut and pasted direct from the source:

Proposed Amendments to the National Regulations (Phase One)

On March 1, 2018, EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, signed the first of two rules that proposes to amend the April 2015 final rule. The proposal:

  1. Addresses provisions of the final rule that were remanded back to the Agency on June 14, 2016 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit;
  2. Provides states with approved CCR permit programs (or EPA where it is the permitting authority) under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act the ability to set certain alternative performance standards; and
  3. Addresses one additional issue that has arisen since the April 2015 publication of the final rule.

EPA is proposing six provisions that would allow states or EPA the ability to incorporate flexibilities into their coal ash permit programs. These flexibilities would also be available to facilities with U.S. EPA-issued CCR permits.

Additionally, the proposal:

  • Clarifies the type and magnitude of non-groundwater releases that would require a facility to comply with some or all of the corrective action procedures set forth in title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in sections 257.96 through 257.98 in meeting their obligation to clean up the release.
  • Adds boron to the list of constituents in Appendix IV of 40 CFR part 257 that trigger corrective action.
  • Determines the requirement for proper height of woody and grassy vegetation for slope protection.
  • Revises the current regulations to allow the use of CCR in the construction of final cover systems for CCR units closing pursuant to 40 CFR section 257.101 that are closing with waste-in-place.
  • Adds a new paragraph to 40 CFR section 257.103 to allow facilities to qualify for the alternative closure provisions based on the continued need to manage non-CCR wastestreams in the unit.

EPA will be accepting written comments on this proposal through Regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2017-0286 for 45 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

Additionally, EPA will hold a hearing on this proposed rule. Additional information about the hearing will be posted in the docket for this proposal and on this website in the near future.

And more, cut and pasted from EPA: