SE Minnesota farmers: Input is needed on potential nitrate study in karst region

At the end of Governor Mark Dayton’s term, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner John Linc Stine submitted a formal request to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to order a generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) to study and address nitrates in groundwater in southeast Minnesota’s karst region.

As a part of his proposed budget, Governor Tim Walz included a request of $643,000 for MPCA to conduct a scoping project as the first step in a GEIS focused on nitrates in groundwater for southeastern Minnesota. If the legislature decides to appropriate money for the GEIS scope, the EQB must also vote on whether or not to conduct the study.

MCGA is encouraging corn farmers who are from southeast Minnesota to complete the short public survey and submit your feedback on a potential GEIS on nitrates in the karst region.

With that, the EQB is getting a jumpstart on this process. EQB held a public meeting in Red Wing on March 25th to get input on need and opportunities, as well as challenges for conducting this study. The EQB is also requesting public input via an online survey for those who could not attend the meeting.

Complete the survey here before April 5. EQB will be using the input gathered via survey, in addition to input provided at the March 25th meeting, to decide whether or not to proceed with the GEIS scope. The survey is short but asks about concerns and opportunities for conducting a GEIS and whether or not EQB should approve it.

Here are a few items farmers could consider in their responses to the survey questions:

  • Examples of the practices used on his/her farm to manage nitrogen efficiently and effectivity, including those that meet or exceed best management practices.
  • The impact of additional regulations where strong regulations already exist or potentially could soon, including future regulations on nitrogen fertilizer applications through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s proposed Groundwater Protection Rule.
  • The benefits of education and incentives for the adoption of practices or increased investment in research to discover new and better water and soil health practices.

Additional background on the study:

MPCA factsheet on proposed GEIS
Request letter for a GEIS from the MPCA to EQB
Learn more the GEIS process and what is included visit EQB’s website 

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