Does your project need environmental review?

The Environmental Quality Board (EQB) issues rules covering environmental review.

Mandatory review

Discretionary review

  • Sometimes, a petition is sent to the EQB by citizens requesting an EAW on a project. When this happens, the Responsible Governmental Unit (RGU) decides whether the project has the potential for significant environmental effects. If so, the project must go through the environmental review process before it may proceed.
  • An RGU may also order a discretionary EAW if it determines that the project may have the potential for significant effects.

Responsible Governmental Unit (RGU) determination

The RGU is the government entity such as a county, city or state agency that is responsible for preparing the environmental review documents. For mandatory reviews, the RGU is typically listed in rule. For other cases the EQB selects the RGU.

For RGU determinations, mandatory category applicability determinations, or process-related questions, contact the EQB at 651-757-2873 or env.review@state.mn.us.

Before you begin

Before proceeding with the permitting process, use the PDF icon Environmental review pre-screening questionnaire to determine if the project needs environmental review by the MPCA. Note: The questionnaire only applies to mandatory EAW categories where the MPCA is the RGU. You will need to determine if other mandatory review is required.

Request a meeting with MPCA environmental review staff early in the project planning. Contact Dan Card, P.E. at dan.card@state.mn.us or 651-757-2261.

Timeline

Expect MPCA environmental review to take four to six months to complete, however, controversial projects often take longer.

Submitting your draft EAW

If it’s determined environmental review is required, gather information about the project’s potential environmental effects and ways to avoid or minimize them. No permits or approvals may be issued until environmental review is complete. MPCA's environmental review and permitting staff work together to ensure consistency and coordinate public notices. Permit applications must be submitted at the same time as the draft EAW. (An exception is the construction stormwater general permit since its issuance is automated.)  

The draft EAW must include:

  • A county map showing the general project location.
  • A topographic map showing project boundaries.
  • A site map that clearly identify existing operations/structures (if present) and the proposed operations/structures.
  • A Natural Heritage Review, completed within the last year.
  • State Historic Preservation Office’s information on nearby historic properties, completed within the last year.

You may also need:

Helpful tips:

  • Work with the community early in the process.
  • Use plain language and active voice in your draft EAW.
  • Ensure permit applications match the draft EAW.
  • Be consistent in labeling structures/operations throughout the draft EAW and attachments.   
  • Make sure to reference all attachments within the draft EAW. Also, order the attachments as they appear within the draft EAW.
  • Use recently completed MPCA EAWs as an example for completing your draft EAW.

Complete the draft EAW

Submit the draft EAW

Dan Card, P.E.
Supervisor, Environmental Review Unit
520 Lafayette Road
St. Paul MN 55155-4194
dan.card@state.mn.us
651-757-2261

Guidance