MCEA EQB Shore Comment 032509
3 pages
English
Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres

MCEA EQB Shore Comment 032509

-

Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres
3 pages
English

Description

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy The legal and scientific voice protecting and defending Minnesota’s environment March 25, 2009 26 East Exchange Street, Suite 206 Saint Paul, MN Administrative Law Judge Steve M. Mihalchick via electronic mail 55101-1667 Office of Administrative Hearings 651.223.5969 600 North Robert Street 651.223.5967 fax P. O. Box 64620 mcea@mncenter.org Saint Paul, MN 55164-0620 www.mncenter.org Founding Director RE: Comments on the Shoreland Related Components in the Proposed Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) Amendment to Rules Governing the Environmental Review Program, Minnesota Rules, chapter 4410. Board of Directors Cecily Hines Chair Honorable Judge Steve M. Mihalchick: Kent White Treasurer This letter provides Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy’s (MCEA’s) comments on the shoreland related components of the proposed amendment to Mary Horak Binger Minnesota Rules Chapter 4410. MCEA is the legal and scientific voice protecting Kim Carlson and defending Minnesota's environment for more than 30 years. In recent years, Merritt Clapp-Smith MCEA has been engaged in a number of issues related to conservation, protection, and enhancement of Minnesota’s public waters and aquatic resource stewardship Charles K. Dayton including the DNR’s North Central lakes pilot project, DNR’s revision of Aquatic Robert G. Dunn Plant Management (APM) rules, the current statewide shoreland ...

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Nombre de lectures 29
Langue English

Exrait

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
The legal and scientific voice protecting and defending Minnesota’s environment
March 25, 2009
26 East Exchange Street,
Suite 206
Saint Paul, MN
55101-1667
651.223.5969
651.223.5967 fax
mcea@mncenter.org
www.mncenter.org
Founding Director
Sigurd F. Olson
(1899-1982)
Board of Directors
Cecily Hines
Chair
Kent White
Treasurer
Mary Horak Binger
Kim Carlson
Merritt Clapp-Smith
Charles K. Dayton
Robert G. Dunn
Janet C. Green
Vanya S. Hogen
Roger Holmes
Douglas A. Kelley
Michael Kleber-Diggs
Dee Long
Steve Piragis
Nancy Speer
Martha C. Brand
Executive Director
Administrative Law Judge
Steve M. Mihalchick
via electronic mail
Office of Administrative Hearings
600 North Robert Street
P. O. Box 64620
Saint Paul, MN 55164-0620
RE: Comments on the Shoreland Related Components in the
Proposed
Amendment to Rules Governing the Environmental Review Program,
Minnesota
Rules
, chapter 4410.
Honorable Judge
Steve M. Mihalchick
:
This letter provides Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy’s (MCEA’s)
comments on the shoreland related components of the proposed amendment to
Minnesota Rules Chapter 4410.
MCEA is the legal and scientific voice protecting
and defending Minnesota's environment for more than 30 years.
In recent years,
MCEA has been engaged in a number of issues related to conservation, protection,
and enhancement of Minnesota’s public waters and aquatic resource stewardship
including the DNR’s North Central lakes pilot project, DNR’s revision of Aquatic
Plant Management (APM) rules, the current statewide shoreland rulemaking process,
and participated on the EQB shoreland development advisory committee in 2005.
Previous MCEA comments on the shoreland components of this rulemaking are
included in the record of this process.
At this time, we have the following additional
comments:
General Comments
Separate thresholds for environmental review in shoreland areas are needed and
overdue.
In additional to the needs for the new shoreland related environmental review
thresholds described in the SONAR, the proposed thresholds are consistent with
habitat recommendations 2 and 4 in the Minnesota Statewide Conservation and
Preservation plan (see link to plan at
www.lccmr.state.mn.us
).
This comprehensive
plan recently reviewed the trends in population, land use, and development in
Minnesota, recognized the important functions and values of Minnesota shorelands,
and recommended a more holistic approach to shoreland management.
The
reasonable environmental review standards for shorelands proposed in this rule will
help achieve this recommendation.
In the past, shoreland development projects were
covered under the basic residential development standards in EQB rule which meant
that a project proposed for a shoreland area was considered in the same light as a
project proposed in a farm field or any other area.
The science is clear that shoreland
areas provide important ecological functions and are the last line of defense
protecting public waters from water quality degradation.
It makes good sense and
public policy to review proposed projects in shoreland areas differently than other
MCEA Comment EQB Shorelands
areas.
These shoreland related components were developed in 2005 and have not
changed substantively.
It is unfortunate that almost four years have passed since these
changes were developed.
New thresholds will provide for more efficient shoreland project planning and
implementation with clear environmental review expectations.
The past few years, there are numerous examples of proposed shoreland development projects
that have been unnecessarily slowed by the current environmental review process.
This often
has happened when concerned citizens learn of a development proposal during early or middle
stages of a local government’s (LGU) permitting process and they then effectively put the
process on hold for months while the LGU works through the citizen petition process for
environmental review (as noted by EQB staff on page 41 paragraph 4 of the SONAR, there has
been an increasing frequency of citizen petitions for environmental review).
In most of these
petition situations, more reasonable thresholds like those proposed in this rule would have
resulted in more timely project planning and implementation.
The proposed changes give LGUs
and developers an upfront expectation that the environmental review process will be required for
larger development proposals in shoreland areas.
This upfront expectation will make it much
less likely that a project will be delayed by initiation of a citizen’s petition after LGU permitting
has started.
For projects in need of environmental review, the environmental review process
would then begin prior to the permitting process and public input and comments could be
generated prior to permitting.
This is not only better for developers and LGUs it also gives
citizens a more reasonable assurance that permitting decisions would be made based on some
environmental review.
If these rules do not move forward, citizens are likely to continue to use
the petition process at an increasing rate which may cause additional and often unnecessary
delays in shoreland project planning, permitting, and implementation.
Specific comments on proposed amended rules.
4410.0200 – Definitions
.
The shoreland related definitions are items 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 in this
section.
Except as noted below, we believe that these definitions are needed and reasonable and
that the information provided in the SONAR is based on good information and science.
These
definitions should be as consistent as possible with the current definitions in latest version of the
shoreland rules (M.R. 6120) currently near completion.
Subp. 79b. Sensitive shoreland area.
The list of public waters considered sensitive is
incomplete.
The lists must also include an item F called “shoreland areas immediately
adjacent to impaired waters (excluding mercury impaired waters) listed on the state 303D
list”.
As described in the SONAR, the sensitive waters listed in the definition are those
that “…are especially sensitive to disruption by development projects”.
Waters listed as
impaired on the state’s 303D list clearly also fit this description.
Waters listed as
impaired have been assessed and there is a demonstrated need for them to be listed as
impaired.
These waters do not meet basic water quality standards.
Their impaired
condition makes them particularly sensitive to further water quality degradation which
may be caused by proposed shoreland development.
Lower thresholds for environmental
review of proposed projects in the shoreland area of impaired waters are needed to ensure
that water quality is not further degraded in these waters.
This recommendation to include impaired waters in the definition of sensitive shoreland
areas is consistent with MN Pollution Control Agency policies in stormwater permitting
(attached). As written on page 4:
MCEA Comment EQB Rules Related to Shorelands
Page 2
MCEA Comment EQB Rules Related to Shorelands
Page 3
Discharges to waters identified as impaired pursuant to section 303 (d) of the federal
Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. § 303(d)) where the identified pollutant(s) or stressor(s) are
phosphorus (nutrient eutrophication biological indicators), turbidity, dissolved oxygen,
or biotic impairment (fish bioassessment, aquatic plant bioassessment and aquatic
macroinvertebrate bioassessment), and with or without a U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (USEPA) approved Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for any of these
identified pollutant(s) or stressor(s), unless the applicable requirements of Part III.A.9
are met.”
This policy establishes a clear precedent that impaired waters should be held to higher
standards related to stormwater management than water that are not impaired.
It is
reasonable to apply a similar policy to environmental review thresholds in shoreland
areas of these impaired waters.
4410.4300 and 4410.4400 - Mandatory EAW and EIS categories.
Except as noted below, the
amendments to mandatory EAW categories are needed and reasonable for residential
developments, resorts campgrounds, and RV parks, and land conversions.
In 2005, MCEA was
part of the advisory committee that helped develop these categories and thresholds.
The SONAR
document clearly explains the need and reasonableness for these categories.
Non-metallic mineral mining (4410.4300 subp. 12 and 4410.4400 subp. 9)
. The specified
thresholds are too large.
We recommend that all proposed non-metallic mineral mining
activities require an EAW and that any over 20 acres proposed in a sensitive shoreland
area and 40 acres in a nonsensitive shoreland area should trigger mandatory thresholds
for an EIS.
The shoreland zone is a just a 1,000 foot wide strip of land adjacent to public
waters.
Mining 20 or 40 acres within this area without any environmental review is not
reasonable.
Non-metallic mineral mining at the proposed levels can easily be more
disruptive to landscape functions in the shoreland area than comparable disturbances
from other development categories in these rules.
For example, the potential impacts of a
proposed 25 dwelling unit residential development is highly unlikely to have the same
impacts as mining 40 acres of the landscape in the shoreland area yet it is required to
have an subject have an EAW.
It is reasonable to require additional environmental
review to any mining projects proposed in shoreland areas.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue that affects the long term integrity and
sustainability of Minnesota’s aquatic resources.
Sincerely,
Henry VanOffelen
Natural Resource Scientist
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
50785 Bucks Mill Rd
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
218 – 849 – 5270
Cc: Gregg Downing, Mary Marrow