Minnesota's environmental regulations impact every community and industry. The Legislature has given the MPCA the authority to develop rules to protect state environmental resources.
In some cases, the Legislature directs state agencies to develop rules to fully implement laws that have been assigned to them. Rules provide clarity and uniformity to fill in details that were not necessary to put directly into statutes.
Rules open for public comment
Developing rules through rulemaking is a thorough and lengthy process with several opportunities for the public to provide comments and feedback.
Initial public feedback opportunity
First, the MPCA must inform the public that it intends to officially begin developing a new rule. A request for comment is published in the Minnesota State Register. This is the public's first opportunity to provide comments and feedback on the proposed rule.
Summary of evidence supporting the rule
The MPCA is required to prepare a statement of need and reasonableness for most types of rulemaking. The statement of need and reasonableness contains a summary of evidence and arguments that support the proposed changes. The statement of need and reasonableness must also:
- Determine if there are less costly or less intrusive methods for achieving the purpose of the proposed rule;
- Describe alternative methods for achieving the purposes of the proposed rule that were seriously considered and give reasons why these alternatives were rejected; and
- Assess the probable costs of complying with the proposed rule
Additional public feedback on the proposed rule
Once the MPCA drafts a proposed rule, it publishes a notice of intent to adopt rules in the Minnesota State Register. In addition to the proposed rule, the statement of need and reasonableness and any technical support documents are available for review and comment. Any people, industries, and facilities that may be significantly affected by the proposed rule receive notification of the proposed changes to ensure they have an opportunity to provide comments.
Thorough legal review and decision
Near the end of the process, an independent administrative law judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings must review all rulemaking documents and rule on whether the agency has fulfilled all legal and procedural requirements, demonstrated the need for and reasonableness of the rules, and has the legal authority to adopt the rules.
If 25 or more people submit a written request for a hearing, the administrative law judge will conduct a public hearing where the MPCA makes an affirmative presentation regarding the need and reasonableness of the proposed rule. The public may testify and ask questions to the MPCA.
If the administrative law judge determines that the proposed rule has not met all of the legal and procedural requirements, the MPCA may not adopt the rule until the defects are corrected. Once the administrative law judge approves the rule, the MPCA may submit it to the governor.
Governor review opportunity
The governor may veto all or a severable portion of a proposed rule at the end of the rulemaking process before the rule takes effect.
New rule adopted
When rulemaking is completed successfully, the agency will publish notice of adopted rules in the Minnesota State Register.
- Minnesota Rulemaking Manual
- Minnesota Administrative Procedures Act
- Minnesota State Register
- Minnesota Administrative Rules (Office of the Revisor of Statutes)
- MPCA Administrative Rules (Office of the Revisor of Statutes)
- Minnesota Rule Archive (Office of the Revisor of Statutes)
- Minnesota rule status (Office of the Revisor of Statutes)
- Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings