Amendments to water quality fee rules

In summer 2017, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency published a Request for Comments and held stakeholder meetings on amending the water quality fee rules. The MPCA received 27 comment letters, with stakeholders providing valuable input on amending the rules. A copy of the comments received is available below under "Rulemaking documents."

The MPCA reviewed and considered all comments and greatly appreciates the input provided. Based in part on the comments received, we believe that before moving forward in the formal rulemaking process, a more focused stakeholder input effort would be helpful to inform this rulemaking. To learn more from stakeholders, the MPCA has created the Water Fee Advisory Committee to provide input to the MPCA Commissioner on this topic. Information about the Water Fee Advisory Committee is available below.

Background

The fees the MPCA charges for water-related permitting only cover 17% of the cost of delivering the programs associated with those fees. The agency has not comprehensively increased its fees in almost 25 years. In addition, the fees charged across programs are inconsistent, and some regulated parties cover more of their program’s costs than others.

The MPCA is planning amendments to the water quality fee rules — Minnesota Rules chapters 7002 and 7083 — that may increase permit application, annual, and additional fees. The amendments will adjust fees to reflect a fairer and more equitable distribution of permit costs among affected permittees. The MPCA proposes to update fees to reflect the actual costs of administering state and federal requirements associated with fee-based water quality programs that protect the state’s water resources. The MPCA will also consider changes to include an inflation factor to enable fees to reflect our increasing costs as well as a schedule for phasing in fee changes.

The MPCA may make rule changes to some or all fees related to:

  • Municipal and industrial wastewater permits
  • Noncontact cooling water permits
  • Stormwater permits
  • Feedlot permits
  • Septic systems
  • Environmental review
  • Variances
  • Laboratory certification

Public input

The Request for Comments on this rulemaking was published in the State Register on June 26, 2017. The MPCA specifically requested comment on the subject of the rules in the Request for Comments, and on the fact sheet for public input available below. A copy of the notice and comments received are available below under rulemaking documents. Formal comments will be accepted when the proposed rules are published in the State Register.

A stakeholder video conference on this rulemaking was held on Monday, July 24, 2017, at MPCA's St. Paul office and regional offices. The purpose of the meeting was to share information about this rulemaking so that stakeholders are able to provide verbal input at the meeting and written comments on this rulemaking. The presentation for the meeting is available below.

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This is a tentative schedule.

Task

Date(s)

Publish Request for Comments

June 26, 2017

Stakeholder engagement

The MPCA held a video conference to share information on this rulemaking:

  • Monday, July 24, 2017, at 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and again at 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at MPCA’s St. Paul office and its regional offices.

Draft the rule language / statement of need and reasonableness (SONAR)

To be determined

Public comment period / Notice of Hearing

To be determined

Adoption of rules

  • with a hearing

Approximate time

~6 months after Notice of Hearing

To honor the comments the MPCA received from stakeholders reflecting many perspectives, and to learn more from those potentially affected by a revised rule, the MPCA formed the Water Fee Advisory Committee to provide input to the Commissioner on this important topic.

The charge of the Advisory Committee, which includes a broad range of stakeholders, is to provide perspective, input, and advice to the Commissioner. This input and advice will inform MPCA decisions on the approach and next steps to address the needs associated with the MPCAs water fee structure.

Meeting resources

The MPCA also prepared the information below as requested by and discussed with the Advisory Committee members. The fee revenue scenarios are not formal proposals. These scenarios were prepared to aid the fee discussions with the Advisory Committee and as noted above, to provide input to the Commissioner on the water fee structure. For more information on the funding data and fee revenue scenarios, please see the Advisory Committee meeting documents above.

Water quality program funding data

Water quality fee revenue scenarios for discussion

For questions about  about the rule process or how to submit comments: