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Proposed amendments to feedlot rules are open for public comment

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ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is accepting public comment from now through Aug. 26, on proposed amendments to state rules regulating animal feedlots.

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The MPCA proposes to amend these rules to address law changes made by the Minnesota Legislature in the 2011 special session. The MPCA is also taking this opportunity to remove obsolete rule requirements, address other law changes adopted since Chapter 7020 was revised in 2000, and provide clarification to certain existing rules in Chapters 7020, 7001 and 7002.

The MPCA regulates the collection, transportation, storage, processing and utilization of manure and process wastewaters associated with the operation of animal feedlots. Since the 1970s, the MPCA has regulated feedlots primarily through permits, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, State Disposal System (SDS) permits, and construction short form and interim permits, the latter two also issued by counties under delegation from the MPCA.

The proposed amendments include:

* incorporation of new statutory language eliminating the need to hold an NPDES permit except as required by federal law, while maintaining the requirement for larger feedlots to hold an SDS permit;

* incorporating other new statutory requirements enacted since the feedlot rules were last revised, including new statutory pasture definitions and 10-year terms for SDS permits;

* clarification of administrative requirements for permits, including the processes for issuance or denial of permits by delegated counties and modification of permits; and

* removal of obsolete language, such as provisions governing older forms of permits, and expired transitional requirements, such as the "open lot agreement."

To review the proposed rule amendments and the Statement of Need and Reasonableness, together with the official public notice, which explains how interested persons can comment on the proposed amendments, go to the MPCA's Public Notices webpage at www.pca.state.mn.us/yrwc6a9. Other rule documents are on the agency's Feedlot Rulemaking webpage at www.pca.state.mn.us/tchyffd.

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