Citizens' guide

Environmental review is an information gathering process, it is not an approval or final decision on whether a project will happen or not. When the review identifies unacceptable environmental impacts, the proposers of a project can modify it to avoid problems. The information is also used to establish permit conditions that will protect our environment.

Environmental review has two primary objectives:

  • To give the public access to decision makers, to help ensure public awareness and meaningful input into public and private decision making.
  • To inform the decision makers so they can write better permits and better protect the environment before the project is built.

The MPCA uses the EAW, written comments, permit applications, and other relevant documents to decide whether the project's environmental effects should be studied closer, through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The MPCA Commissioner makes the final decision, documented in a Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law and Order. If the MPCA Commissioner decides an EIS is not required, environmental review is complete.

After environmental review is complete, citizens may find opportunity to stay involved with a project’s planning through permits and approval processes. For example, often projects need a county conditional use permit.

How to participate

The public comment period for all environmental review projects are published in the Environmental Quality Board's EQB Monitor. You can participate in the environmental review process in a number of ways.

  • Stay informed through the weekly EQB Monitor publication. It announces environmental review documents, public comments periods and other information.
  • Comment on the environmental impacts of projects under MPCA review.
  • Petition EQB for environmental review of a project.

For more information, visit EQB's guidance for citizens webpage.

How to get more information on a specific MPCA project?

While a project is under MPCA environmental review, contact the staff person listed for more information. However, after environmental review is completed, or for more general data requests, please submit an Information Request through our Records Management Department.