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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 217-H.F.No. 2633 
                  An act relating to the environment; providing for 
                  exemptions from environmental review for ethanol 
                  plants; amending Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, 
                  section 116D.04, subdivision 2a. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, section 
        116D.04, subdivision 2a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2a.  Where there is potential for significant 
        environmental effects resulting from any major governmental 
        action, the action shall be preceded by a detailed environmental 
        impact statement prepared by the responsible governmental unit.  
        The environmental impact statement shall be an analytical rather 
        than an encyclopedic document which describes the proposed 
        action in detail, analyzes its significant environmental 
        impacts, discusses appropriate alternatives to the proposed 
        action and their impacts, and explores methods by which adverse 
        environmental impacts of an action could be mitigated.  The 
        environmental impact statement shall also analyze those 
        economic, employment and sociological effects that cannot be 
        avoided should the action be implemented.  To ensure its use in 
        the decision-making process, the environmental impact statement 
        shall be prepared as early as practical in the formulation of an 
        action.  No mandatory environmental impact statement may be 
        required for an ethanol plant, as defined in section 41A.09, 
        subdivision 2a, paragraph (b), that produces less than 
        125,000,000 gallons of ethanol annually and is located outside 
        of the seven-county metropolitan area. 
           (a) The board shall by rule establish categories of actions 
        for which environmental impact statements and for which 
        environmental assessment worksheets shall be prepared as well as 
        categories of actions for which no environmental review is 
        required under this section.  
           (b) The responsible governmental unit shall promptly 
        publish notice of the completion of an environmental assessment 
        worksheet in a manner to be determined by the board and shall 
        provide copies of the environmental assessment worksheet to the 
        board and its member agencies.  Comments on the need for an 
        environmental impact statement may be submitted to the 
        responsible governmental unit during a 30 day period following 
        publication of the notice that an environmental assessment 
        worksheet has been completed.  The responsible governmental 
        unit's decision on the need for an environmental impact 
        statement shall be based on the environmental assessment 
        worksheet and the comments received during the comment period, 
        and shall be made within 15 days after the close of the comment 
        period.  The board's chair may extend the 15 day period by not 
        more than 15 additional days upon the request of the responsible 
        governmental unit.  
           (c) An environmental assessment worksheet shall also be 
        prepared for a proposed action whenever material evidence 
        accompanying a petition by not less than 25 individuals, 
        submitted before the proposed project has received final 
        approval by the appropriate governmental units, demonstrates 
        that, because of the nature or location of a proposed action, 
        there may be potential for significant environmental effects.  
        Petitions requesting the preparation of an environmental 
        assessment worksheet shall be submitted to the board.  The chair 
        of the board shall determine the appropriate responsible 
        governmental unit and forward the petition to it.  A decision on 
        the need for an environmental assessment worksheet shall be made 
        by the responsible governmental unit within 15 days after the 
        petition is received by the responsible governmental unit.  The 
        board's chair may extend the 15 day period by not more than 15 
        additional days upon request of the responsible governmental 
        unit.  
           (d) Except in an environmentally sensitive location where 
        Minnesota Rules, part 4410.4300, subpart 29, item B, applies, 
        the proposed action is exempt from environmental review under 
        this chapter and rules of the board, if: 
           (1) the proposed action is: 
           (i) an animal feedlot facility with a capacity of less than 
        1,000 animal units; or 
           (ii) an expansion of an existing animal feedlot facility 
        with a total cumulative capacity of less than 1,000 animal 
        units; 
           (2) the application for the animal feedlot facility 
        includes a written commitment by the proposer to design, 
        construct, and operate the facility in full compliance with 
        Pollution Control Agency feedlot rules; and 
           (3) the county board holds a public meeting for citizen 
        input at least ten business days prior to the Pollution Control 
        Agency or county issuing a feedlot permit for the animal feedlot 
        facility unless another public meeting for citizen input has 
        been held with regard to the feedlot facility to be permitted.  
        The exemption in this paragraph is in addition to other 
        exemptions provided under other law and rules of the board. 
           (e) The board may, prior to final approval of a proposed 
        project, require preparation of an environmental assessment 
        worksheet by a responsible governmental unit selected by the 
        board for any action where environmental review under this 
        section has not been specifically provided for by rule or 
        otherwise initiated.  
           (f) An early and open process shall be utilized to limit 
        the scope of the environmental impact statement to a discussion 
        of those impacts, which, because of the nature or location of 
        the project, have the potential for significant environmental 
        effects.  The same process shall be utilized to determine the 
        form, content and level of detail of the statement as well as 
        the alternatives which are appropriate for consideration in the 
        statement.  In addition, the permits which will be required for 
        the proposed action shall be identified during the scoping 
        process.  Further, the process shall identify those permits for 
        which information will be developed concurrently with the 
        environmental impact statement.  The board shall provide in its 
        rules for the expeditious completion of the scoping process.  
        The determinations reached in the process shall be incorporated 
        into the order requiring the preparation of an environmental 
        impact statement.  
           (g) Whenever practical, information needed by a 
        governmental unit for making final decisions on permits or other 
        actions required for a proposed project shall be developed in 
        conjunction with the preparation of an environmental impact 
        statement.  
           (h) An environmental impact statement shall be prepared and 
        its adequacy determined within 280 days after notice of its 
        preparation unless the time is extended by consent of the 
        parties or by the governor for good cause.  The responsible 
        governmental unit shall determine the adequacy of an 
        environmental impact statement, unless within 60 days after 
        notice is published that an environmental impact statement will 
        be prepared, the board chooses to determine the adequacy of an 
        environmental impact statement.  If an environmental impact 
        statement is found to be inadequate, the responsible 
        governmental unit shall have 60 days to prepare an adequate 
        environmental impact statement. 
           [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective the day 
        following final enactment. 
           Presented to the governor May 15, 2004 
           Signed by the governor May 19, 2004, 10:10 a.m.