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Monday, January 24, 2011

Landwehr could mean land wear

On MPR today, Mike Edgerly asked Dayton’s new DNR commissioner Thomas Landwehr if he favors letting companies do their own environmental impact statements. Landwehr answered that it should be ok, as long as the contractor provides the same report to the state that they do to the company. I’m not reassured that he’s reassured.


At Mon Jan 24, 08:51:00 PM CST, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

Mike Edgerly: Now, this executive order seems to track some legislation already that’s been introduced that would do the same thing: Increase the pace of permitting. One piece that’s not in this is that people seeking permits should be allowed to do their own environmental impact statement. Do you favor that?

Thomas Landwehr: Well, I think we need to look at that pretty closely. The way the statute reads right now, and that’s why the governor can’t change it ‘cause it’s in statute so it has to be a statutory change. The Department of Natural Resources when we’re going into an EIS review, the company that wants the permit gives us the funding and we hire a contractor to do the EIS. Under the proposal in House File 1, the company that wants the permit could hire the contractor to do the EIS and provide that to us. Now you know, for the person sitting outside watching this, they probably believe that the contractor’s going to give a different product to the DNR than they would to the company. So what we need to make sure is that that isn’t the case. That no matter who the contractor is doing the EIS report for, you get the same document. So if they do it for a company or they do it for the DNR it’s the exact same document. Now there are similar processes where that is in fact the case. For instance when the Department of Natural Resources buys a piece of property, we use what is called a state certified list of appraisers, and those appraisers have met certain standards, and we know that they are going to give us the same product that they would give the landowner when they produce a report. If they fail to then they fall off that state list. So we should be able, I think, get a similar process for EIS documents, that company that provides the documents meets certain standards and if they fail to do that, you know, as a regular basis they will fall off that state certified list. But we should be able to say that if you are on this list, you are a company that can meet the standards that the state needs for an EIS and it doesn’t matter if you’re doing it for the state or the company and you know if we can get to that point there shouldn’t be any problem with that kind of a provision.

At Fri Mar 04, 08:52:00 AM CST, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

Dayton signs on to big shift in environmental oversight

Dayton signed a bill letting businesses drive the assessment of a project's environmental toll.

By ERIC ROPER and MIKE KASZUBA, Star Tribune staff writers
Last update: March 4, 2011 - 6:16 AM

Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation Thursday that hands the responsibility for environmental assessments to the corporations pushing the projects, drawing sharp criticism from environmentalists and giving a solid victory to the state's business community.



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