Minnesota Environmental and Energy Update - March 4, 2011


It was a busy week in the environmental and energy arenas at the Minnesota Legislature. On Thursday, Governor Dayton signed into law HF 1, the environmental review bill chief authored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria.). Among its notable features, the bill, now Chapter 4 of Minnesota Laws 2011, accelerates and simplifies the permitting process at both the Department of Natural Resources and the Pollution Control Agency, allows direct appeal to the Court of Appeals of agency decisions on environmental permits and provides for environmental assessment documents to be prepared by contractors of project proposers, rather than contractors of the reviewing governmental body. Additional legislation on this topic may still be considered this session.

The Governor signed the bill just one day after the Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) released its report on environmental reviews of private-sector projects. The OLA evaluation focused on the timeliness and efficiency of the state's environmental review and permitting practices, noting lengthy delays in the review of certain projects.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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