Governor Mark Dayton is putting citizen input back into Minnesota’s environmental policy, partially reversing action the legislature took this past session.
Today he signed Executive Order 15-15 creating the Governor’s Committee to advise the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The Committee will provide input and recommendations prior to certain regulatory decisions made by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). It will be chaired by the Commissioner of the MPCA and include eight citizen members serving four-year terms. It will meet on a regular basis to guide the direction and enforcement of the state’s environmental protection laws.
Earlier this year, the legislature eliminated a similar panel after lobbying from big agricultural groups upset with the panel’s vetoing of certain projects. The new panel will not have that power.
Earlier this year, Dayton vetoed the bill that eliminated the panel, but signed a revised version of the bill after a special session.
Press release from Governor Dayton’s office on the new citizens advisory committee.
“As regulators make decisions, and enforce our state’s environmental protection laws, Minnesota citizens need and deserve a seat at the table,” said Governor Dayton. “I am proud to sign this Executive Order today, and look forward to appointing a group of qualified, committed citizen leaders to carry out this important work.”
The Committee will provide recommendations and advise the MPCA Commissioner in four main areas, including:
· Reviewing scoping and adequacy of environmental review documents including environmental assessment worksheets and environmental impact statements;
· Issuance, reissuance, modification, or revocation of certain permits;
· Adoption or revision of agency rules; and
· Requests for a variance from an agency rule.
“Citizen engagement is important for transparent and deliberate decision making,” said Pollution Control Commissioner John Linc Stine. “Ensuring citizens have a voice in how our laws are enforced greatly enhances our efforts to protect and improve the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the land and resources we all depend on to maintain a high quality of life in Minnesota.”
Minnesotans Encouraged to Apply
Governor Dayton encourages Minnesotans to apply to serve on the Committee, by submitting an official application through the Open Appointments process. The Open Appointments process is coordinated by the Secretary of State’s Office, which is required to publish a list of vacancies every month and send applications to the appropriate appointing authority. Applicants complete an Open Appointments Application form and are asked to attach a résumé or biography to the application.