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SF 1567

as introduced - 87th Legislature (2011 - 2012) Posted on 02/01/2012 04:06pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to environment; providing for permitting efficiency; modifying
environmental review requirements; amending Minnesota Statutes 2010,
sections 14.05, by adding a subdivision; 84.027, by adding a subdivision;
116.07, subdivision 4a; 116J.03, by adding subdivisions; 116J.035, by adding a
subdivision; Minnesota Statutes 2011 Supplement, sections 84.027, subdivision
14a; 116.03, subdivision 2b.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

ARTICLE 1

PERMITTING

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2011 Supplement, section 84.027, subdivision 14a,
is amended to read:


Subd. 14a.

Permitting efficiency.

(a) It is the goal of the state that environmental
and resource management permits be issued or denied within 150 days of the submission
of a substantially completed permit application. The commissioner of natural resources
shall establish management systems designed to achieve the goal.

(b) The commissioner shall prepare semiannual permitting efficiency reports that
include statistics on meeting the goal in paragraph (a). The reports are due February 1
and August 1 each year. For permit applications that have not met the goal, the report
must state the reasons for not meeting the goal, steps that will be taken to complete action
on the application, and the expected timeline. In stating the reasons for not meeting the
goal, the commissioner shall separately identify delays caused by the responsiveness of
the proposer, lack of staff, scientific or technical disagreements, or the level of public
engagement. The report must specify the number of days from initial submission of the
application to the day of determination that the application is complete. The report for
August 1 each year must aggregate the data for the year and assess whether program
or system changes are necessary to achieve the goal. The report must be posted on the
department's Web site and submitted to the governor and the chairs and ranking minority
members of the house of representatives and senate committees having jurisdiction over
natural resources policy and finance.

(c) The commissioner shall allow electronic submission of environmental review
and permit documents to the department.

(d) Beginning July 1, 2011, within 30 business days of application for a permit
subject to paragraph (a), the commissioner of natural resources shall notify the project
proposer, in writing, of deleted text beginwhether or not the permit application is complete enough for
processing. If the permit is incomplete, the commissioner must identify where
deleted text endnew text begin anynew text end
deficiencies deleted text beginexistdeleted text end and advise the applicant on how they can be remedied. deleted text beginA resubmittal of
the application begins a new 30-day review period. If the commissioner fails to notify the
project proposer of completeness within 30 business days, the application is deemed to be
substantially complete and subject to the 150-day permitting review period in paragraph
(a) from the date it was submitted.
deleted text end This paragraph does not apply to an application for a
permit that is subject to a grant or loan agreement under chapter 446A.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 84.027, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 14b. new text end

new text begin Irrevocability or suspensions of permits. new text end

new text begin Notwithstanding the
suspension of any appropriation to fund programs to protect the air, water, and land
resources of the state, permits granted may not be terminated or suspended for the term of
the permits, nor shall they expire without the consent of the permittee, except for breach
or nonperformance of any condition of the permit by the permittee that is an imminent
threat to impair or destroy the environment or injure the health, safety, or welfare of
the citizens of the state.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2011 Supplement, section 116.03, subdivision 2b, is
amended to read:


Subd. 2b.

Permitting efficiency.

(a) It is the goal of the state that environmental and
resource management permits be issued or denied within 150 days of the submission of a
substantially completed permit application. The commissioner of the Pollution Control
Agency shall establish management systems designed to achieve the goal.

(b) The commissioner shall prepare semiannual permitting efficiency reports that
include statistics on meeting the goal in paragraph (a). The reports are due February 1
and August 1 each year. For permit applications that have not met the goal, the report
must state the reasons for not meeting the goal, steps that will be taken to complete action
on the application, and the expected timeline. In stating the reasons for not meeting the
goal, the commissioner shall separately identify delays caused by the responsiveness of
the proposer, lack of staff, scientific or technical disagreements, or the level of public
engagement. The report must specify the number of days from initial submission of the
application to the day of determination that the application is complete. The report for
August 1 each year must aggregate the data for the year and assess whether program
or system changes are necessary to achieve the goal. The report must be posted on the
agency's Web site and submitted to the governor and the chairs and ranking minority
members of the house of representatives and senate committees having jurisdiction over
environment policy and finance.

(c) The commissioner shall allow electronic submission of environmental review
and permit documents to the agency.

(d) Beginning July 1, 2011, within 30 business days of application for a permit
subject to paragraph (a), the commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency shall notify the
project proposer, in writing, of deleted text beginwhether or not the permit application is complete enough
for processing. If the permit is incomplete, the commissioner must identify where
deleted text endnew text begin anynew text end
deficiencies deleted text beginexistdeleted text end and advise the applicant on how they can be remedied. deleted text beginA resubmittal of
the application begins a new 30-day review period. If the commissioner fails to notify the
project proposer of completeness within 30 business days, the application is deemed to be
substantially complete and subject to the 150-day permitting review period in paragraph
(a) from the date it was submitted.
deleted text end This paragraph does not apply to an application for a
permit that is subject to a grant or loan agreement under chapter 446A.

new text begin (e) For purposes of this subdivision, "permit applicant professional" means an
individual not employed by the Pollution Control Agency, who:
new text end

new text begin (1) has a professional engineer license issued by the state of Minnesota; and
new text end

new text begin (2) has at least ten years of experience preparing applications for environmental
permits issued by the agency.
new text end

new text begin (f) All applicants relying on a permit applicant professional must participate in a
meeting with the agency before submitting an application:
new text end

new text begin (1) during the preapplication meeting, the applicant must submit at least the
following:
new text end

new text begin (i) project description, including, but not limited to, scope of work, primary
emissions points, discharge outfalls, and water intake points;
new text end

new text begin (ii) location of the project, including county, municipality, and location on the
site; and
new text end

new text begin (iii) business schedule for project completion; and
new text end

new text begin (2) during the preapplication meeting, the agency shall provide for the applicant at
least the following:
new text end

new text begin (i) an overview of the permit review program;
new text end

new text begin (ii) a determination of which specific application or applications will be necessary
to complete the project;
new text end

new text begin (iii) a statement notifying the applicant if the specific permit being sought requires a
mandatory public hearing or comment period;
new text end

new text begin (iv) a review of the timetable established in the permit review program for the
specific permit being sought; and
new text end

new text begin (v) a determination of what information must be included in the application,
including a description of any required modeling or testing.
new text end

new text begin (g) The applicant may select a permit applicant professional to undertake the
preparation and review of the permit application.
new text end

new text begin (h) A permit application submitted by a permit applicant professional shall be
deemed complete and approved unless the terms and conditions in the permit application
submitted by the permit applicant professional are clearly erroneous under statute or rule.
The agency shall, within 30 days of receipt of an application, return to the applicant and
submitting permit applicant professional any application the agency deems contrary to
statute or rule, specifying the deficiencies of the application.
new text end

new text begin (i) A person aggrieved by a final decision of the agency under this section has the
right within 30 days from notice of the action to appeal the final action to the district court
in the county in which the facility to be permitted is located.
new text end

new text begin (j) Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify:
new text end

new text begin (1) any requirement of law that is necessary to retain federal delegation to or
assumption by the state; or
new text end

new text begin (2) the authority to implement a federal law or program.
new text end

new text begin (k) Notwithstanding the suspension of any appropriation to fund programs to protect
the air, water, and land resources of the state, permits granted may not be terminated or
suspended for the term of the permits, nor shall they expire without the consent of the
permittee, except for breach or nonperformance of any condition of the permit by the
permittee that is an imminent threat to impair or destroy the environment or injure the
health, safety, or welfare of the citizens of the state.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 116.07, subdivision 4a, is amended to read:


Subd. 4a.

Permits.

(a) The Pollution Control Agency may issue, continue in
effect or deny permits, under such conditions as it may prescribe for the prevention of
pollution, for the emission of air contaminants, or for the installation or operation of
any emission facility, air contaminant treatment facility, treatment facility, potential air
contaminant storage facility, or storage facility, or any part thereof, or for the sources
or emissions of noise pollution.

The Pollution Control Agency may also issue, continue in effect or deny permits,
under such conditions as it may prescribe for the prevention of pollution, for the storage,
collection, transportation, processing, or disposal of waste, or for the installation or
operation of any system or facility, or any part thereof, related to the storage, collection,
transportation, processing, or disposal of waste.

The agency may not issue a permit to a facility without analyzing and considering
the cumulative levels and effects of past and current environmental pollution from all
sources on the environment and residents of the geographic area within which the facility's
emissions are likely to be deposited, provided that the facility is located in a community in
a city of the first class in Hennepin County that meets all of the following conditions:

(1) is within a half mile of a site designated by the federal government as an EPA
superfund site due to residential arsenic contamination;

(2) a majority of the population are low-income persons of color and American
Indians;

(3) a disproportionate percent of the children have childhood lead poisoning, asthma,
or other environmentally related health problems;

(4) is located in a city that has experienced numerous air quality alert days of
dangerous air quality for sensitive populations between February 2007 and February
2008; and

(5) is located near the junctions of several heavily trafficked state and county
highways and two one-way streets which carry both truck and auto traffic.

The Pollution Control Agency may revoke or modify any permit issued under this
subdivision and section 116.081 whenever it is necessary, in the opinion of the agency, to
prevent or abate pollution.

(b) The Pollution Control Agency has the authority for approval over the siting,
expansion, or operation of a solid waste facility with regard to environmental issues.
However, the agency's issuance of a permit does not release the permittee from any
liability, penalty, or duty imposed by any applicable county ordinances. Nothing in this
chapter precludes, or shall be construed to preclude, a county from enforcing land use
controls, regulations, and ordinances existing at the time of the permit application and
adopted pursuant to sections 366.10 to 366.181, 394.21 to 394.37, or 462.351 to 462.365,
with regard to the siting, expansion, or operation of a solid waste facility.

new text begin (c) Except as prohibited by federal law, a person may commence construction,
reconstruction, replacement, or modification of any facility prior to the issuance of a
construction permit.
new text end

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 116J.03, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 1a. new text end

new text begin Agency. new text end

new text begin "Agency" means:
new text end

new text begin (1) a state department, commission, board, or other agency of the state however
titled; or
new text end

new text begin (2) a local governmental unit or instrumentality, only when that unit or
instrumentality is acting within existing legal authority to grant or deny a permit that
otherwise would be granted or denied by a state agency.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 116J.03, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Local governmental unit. new text end

new text begin "Local governmental unit" means a county,
city, town, or special district with legal authority to issue a permit.
new text end

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 116J.03, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Permit. new text end

new text begin "Permit" means a license, permit, certificate, certification,
approval, compliance schedule, or other similar document pertaining to a regulatory or
management program related to the protection, conservation, or use of, or interference
with, the natural resources of land, air, or water that must be obtained from a state agency
before constructing or operating a project in the state.
new text end

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 116J.03, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Person. new text end

new text begin "Person" means an individual; an association or partnership; or
a cooperative, municipal, public, or private corporation, including, but not limited to, a
state agency and a county.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 116J.03, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Project. new text end

new text begin "Project" means a new activity or an expansion of or addition to
an existing activity, which is fixed in location and for which permits are required from
an agency prior to construction or operation, including, but not limited to, industrial and
commercial operations and developments.
new text end

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 116J.035, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Environmental permits coordinator. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner is designated
the environmental permits coordinator and shall coordinate the implementation and
administration of state permits, including:
new text end

new text begin (1) establishing a mechanism in state government that will coordinate administrative
decision-making procedures and related quasijudicial and judicial review pertaining to
permits related to the state's air, land, and water resources;
new text end

new text begin (2) providing better coordination and understanding between federal, state, and local
governmental units in the administration of the various programs relating to air, water,
and land resources;
new text end

new text begin (3) identifying all existing federal, state, and local licenses; permits and other
approvals; compliance schedules; or other programs that pertain to the use of natural
resources and protection of the environment; and
new text end

new text begin (4) recommending legislative or administrative modifications to existing permit
programs to increase their efficiency and utility.
new text end

new text begin (b) A person proposing a project may apply to the environmental permits coordinator
for assistance in obtaining necessary state licenses, permits, and other approvals. Upon
request, the environmental permits coordinator shall provide the requesting person:
new text end

new text begin (1) a list of all necessary federal, state, and local licenses, permits, and other
approvals for the project;
new text end

new text begin (2) a plan that will coordinate federal, state, and local administrative decision-making
practices, including monitoring; analysis and reporting; public comments and hearings;
and issuances of licenses, permits, and approvals;
new text end

new text begin (3) a timeline for the issuance of all federal, state, and local licenses, permits, and
other approvals required for the project; and
new text end

new text begin (4) other assistance necessary to obtain final approval and issuance of all federal,
state, and local licenses, permits, and other approvals required for the project.
new text end

Sec. 11. new text beginRULEMAKING.
new text end

new text begin The commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency shall amend Minnesota Rules,
part 7001.0030, to comply with section 4. The commissioner may use the good cause
exemption under Minnesota Statutes, section 14.388, subdivision 1, clause (3), to adopt
the amendment under this section, and Minnesota Statutes, section 14.386, does not apply
except as provided under Minnesota Statutes, section 14.388.
new text end

ARTICLE 2

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 14.05, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 5a. new text end

new text begin Review and repeal of environmental assessment worksheets and
impact statements.
new text end

new text begin By December 1, 2012, and each year thereafter, the Environmental
Quality Board, Pollution Control Agency, Department of Natural Resources, and
Department of Transportation, after consultation with political subdivisions, shall submit
to the governor; the Legislative Coordinating Commission; the chairs of the house of
representatives and senate committees having jurisdiction over environment and natural
resources; and the revisor of statutes a list of mandatory environmental assessment
worksheets or mandatory environmental impact statements for which the agency or a
political subdivision is designated as the responsible government unit, and for each
worksheet or statement, a document including:
new text end

new text begin (1) intended outcomes of the specific worksheet or statement;
new text end

new text begin (2) the cost to state and local government and the private sector;
new text end

new text begin (3) the relationship of the worksheet or statement to other local, state, and federal
permits; and
new text end

new text begin (4) a justification for why the mandatory worksheet or statement should not be
eliminated and its intended outcomes achieved through an existing permit or other federal,
state, or local law.
new text end