MPCA Begins Process to Amend Water Quality Fee Rules

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MPCA Begins Process to Amend Water Quality Fee Rules

June 26, 2017

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in the June 26 State Register issued a notice that it is planning to begin a process to amend water quality fee rules (Minnesota Rules chapters 7002 and 7083). This could lead to an increase in permit application, annual and/or additional fees.  

This amendment process, said MPCA, will address “a more equitable distribution of permit costs” among affected permittees.  The MPCA said fee revenue now covers only 17 percent of the cost of delivering services associated with those fees. The remainder of the funding comes from the Environmental Fund, Clean Water Legacy Fund, federal funds, and the state General Fund. 

The MPCA said it has not comprehensively increased water fees since 1992.  During the past quarter-century it said it has sought water fee increases several times from the Legislature, without success.  A spokesperson for MPCA said it was open to other forms of revenue, such as General Fund or a combination of other revenue sources that currently are dedicated to the Environmental Fund, or new funding sources, and was open to phasing-in fee changes.  

Today’s notice is the very beginning of the process, said an MPCA spokesperson. The agency said it does not have a new rule for review, nor does it have a “plan” in hand.  Rather, it is asking permittees, stakeholders, and the public to weigh in.  The agency is taking pre-rulemaking comments on-line through August 14. 

MPCA will hold a public meeting on Monday, July 24 concurrently in St. Paul and its six regional offices:  Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Mankato, Marshall, Rochester and Willmar.  This meeting will also be available as a video conference.

MPCA is also planning Listening Sessions in multiple locations around the state.

For more detail, see the MPCA water rulemaking webpage.  

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