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7850.2500 EIS PREPARATION.

Subpart 1.

EIS required.

The commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall prepare an environmental impact statement on each proposed large electric power generating plant and high voltage transmission line for which a permit application has been accepted by the commissioner.

Subp. 2.

Scoping process.

The commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the development of the scope of the environmental impact statement by holding a public meeting and by soliciting public comments. The public meeting required under part 7850.2300 satisfies the requirement to hold a scoping meeting. The commissioner shall provide a period of at least seven days from the day of the public meeting for the public to submit comments on the scope of the EIS. The commissioner shall determine the scope of the environmental impact statement as soon after holding the public meeting as possible. Within five days after the decision, the commissioner shall mail notice of the scoping decision to those persons whose names are on either the general list or the project contact list. Once the commissioner has determined the scope of the environmental impact statement, the scope must not be changed except upon decision by the commissioner that substantial changes have been made in the project or substantial new information has arisen significantly affecting the potential environmental effects of the project or the availability of reasonable alternatives.

Subp. 3.

Alternative sites or routes.

During the scoping process, a person may suggest alternative sites or routes to evaluate in the environmental impact statement. A person desiring that a particular site or route be evaluated shall submit to the commissioner of the Department of Commerce, during the scoping process, an explanation of why the site or route should be included in the environmental impact statement and any other supporting information the person wants the commissioner to consider. The commissioner shall provide the applicant with an opportunity to respond to each request that an alternative be included in the environmental impact statement. The commissioner shall include the suggested site or route in the scope of the environmental impact statement only if the commissioner determines that evaluation of the proposed site or route will assist in the commissioner's decision on the permit application.

Subp. 4.

Scope of EIS.

The scoping process must be used to reduce the scope and bulk of an environmental impact statement by identifying the potentially significant issues and alternatives requiring analysis and establishing the detail into which the issues will be analyzed. The scoping decision by the commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall at least address the following:

A.

the issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement;

B.

the alternative sites and routes to be addressed in the environmental impact statement; and

C.

the schedule for completion of the environmental impact statement.

Subp. 5.

Matters excluded.

When the Public Utilities Commission has issued a Certificate of Need for a large electric power generating plant or high voltage transmission line or placed a high voltage transmission line on the certified HVTL list maintained by the commission, the environmental impact statement shall not address questions of need, including size, type, and timing; questions of alternative system configurations; or questions of voltage.

Subp. 6.

Draft EIS.

The draft environmental impact statement must be written in plain and objective language. The draft environmental impact statement shall follow the standard format for an environmental impact statement prescribed in part 4410.2300 to the extent the requirements of that rule are appropriate.

Subp. 7.

Public review.

Upon completion of the draft environmental impact statement, the commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall make the document available for public review by placing a copy of the document in a public library or other governmental office in each county where the proposed project may be located. The commissioner shall send notice of the availability of the draft environmental impact statement to each person on the project contact list maintained under part 7850.2100, subpart 1. The commissioner shall also place a notice in the EQB Monitor of the availability of the draft environmental impact statement. The commissioner shall post the environmental impact statement on the agency's web page if possible.

Subp. 8.

Informational meeting.

The commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall schedule an informational meeting to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft environmental impact statement. The meeting must not be held sooner than 20 days after the draft environmental impact statement becomes available. The meeting must be held in a location convenient to persons who live near the proposed project. The commissioner shall send notice of the informational meeting to each person on the project contact list maintained under part 7850.2100, subpart 1. The commissioner shall also place notice in the EQB Monitor. The informational meeting may be held just prior to the holding of a contested case hearing on the permit application. The commissioner shall hold the record on the environmental impact statement open for receipt of written comments for not less than ten days after the close of the informational meeting.

Subp. 9.

Final EIS.

The commissioner of the Department of Commerce shall respond to the timely substantive comments received on the draft environmental impact statement consistent with the scoping decision and prepare the final environmental impact statement. The commissioner may attach to the draft environmental impact statement the comments received and its response to comments without preparing a separate document. The commissioner shall publish notice of the availability of the final environmental impact statement in the EQB Monitor and shall supply a press release to at least one newspaper of general circulation in the areas where the proposed sites or routes are located.

Subp. 10.

Adequacy determination.

The Public Utilities Commission shall determine the adequacy of the final environmental impact statement. The commission shall not decide the adequacy for at least ten days after the availability of the final environmental impact statement is announced in the EQB Monitor. The final environmental impact statement is adequate if it:

A.

addresses the issues and alternatives raised in scoping to a reasonable extent considering the availability of information and the time limitations for considering the permit application;

B.

provides responses to the timely substantive comments received during the draft environmental impact statement review process; and

C.

was prepared in compliance with the procedures in parts 7850.1000 to 7850.5600.

If the commission finds that the environmental impact statement is not adequate, the commission shall direct the staff to respond to the deficiencies and resubmit the revised environmental impact statement to the commission as soon as possible.

Subp. 11.

Cost.

The applicant for a site permit or route permit shall pay the reasonable costs of preparing and distributing an environmental impact statement. The costs must not be assessed separately from the assessment under part 7850.1800 unless that assessment is inadequate to cover the commissioner's reasonable costs of considering the permit application.

Subp. 12.

Environmental review requirements.

The requirements of chapter 4410 and parts 7849.1000 to 7849.2100 do not apply to the preparation or consideration of an environmental impact statement for a large electric power generating plant or high voltage transmission line except as provided in parts 7850.1000 to 7850.5600.

Statutory Authority:

MS s 116C.66; 116D.04; 216E.16

History:

27 SR 1295; 28 SR 951; L 2005 c 97 art 3 s 19

Published Electronically:

September 10, 2018