Air permits and environmental review

A new industrial facility or a modification to an existing location may help the economy or bring new jobs. It could also cause an increase in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Minnesota.

Many new and existing facilities require air permits to operate within the state of Minnesota. The MPCA requires that most of those facilities report their GHG emissions to us each year. This helps us ensure that they aren’t violating the terms of their permit, to better track statewide emissions trends, and to develop more effective GHG policies that work for individual Minnesotans and our business community.

Greenhouse gases in air permits

The MPCA developed an air permitting and environmental review initiative related to GHGs and their impact on climate change. As part of this effort, the MPCA has begun to collect GHG data with certain air emission permit applications and environmental review submittals. To collect the data, the MPCA requests that project proposers conduct and submit a GHG emissions inventory for their proposed project, which is then included with their air permit application.

For certain projects, an evaluation to consider various possibilities for decreasing overall GHG emissions – like using alternative fuels, incorporating energy efficiency standards, or adjusting up/downstream operations – may be requested as part of the application. Such an evaluation may include:

  • GHG emissions overview
  • Fuels used
  • Upstream and downstream factors that affect GHG emissions
  • Alternatives that were considered

For information about when to do a GHG evaluation for certain types of air permits:

Environmental review

The MPCA is the Responsible Government Unit for environmental assessment worksheets (EAW) and environmental impact statements (EIS) for various types of projects. These include ethanol plants and manufacturing facilities, among others.

Certain EAW projects must include an assessment of expected GHG emissions. For an EIS, the scoping process will determine what GHG-related information to include.

For more information about the MPCA’s environmental review program and its guidance on when to include GHGs:

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