For several years, MESERB has been actively advocating for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to update its woefully outdated Class 3 & 4 water quality standards. The current standards are based on outdated science and have resulted in permit limits for cities that unnecessarily impose costs and interfere with economic development—especially in Greater Minnesota. The most public example of this was Tru Shrimp’s decision to cancel its expansion plans in the City of Luverne, in part as result of the outdated standards at issue.

In response to the concerns of cities and business, MPCA is now in the process of updating these standards in a manner consistent with the most recent science. MESERB has worked closely with MPCA on this effort throughout the rulemaking process. We are largely supportive of MPCA’s proposed rule changes because they will prevent cities from getting permit limits unless there is a site-specific determination that a permit limit based on the updated standards is necessary to protect the environment.

However, several environmental groups are aggressively advocating against MPCA’s proposal to update the standards. We are concerned that unless MPCA hears from all the cities that could be impacted, the agency will be swayed by the environmental groups and decide not to update the standards as proposed. If MPCA fails to update the standards, many MESERB members will likely receive a limits in their next permit cycle based on the outdated standards. Furthermore, any MESERB member could be subject to the outdated standards in the future if they are not updated.

We urge our members to submit public comments calling on MPCA to proceed with the proposed rule changes. Please include any specific information that you would like MPCA and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) reviewing the proposed rule amendments to consider. Please place the letter on city letterhead and save it as PDF.  We highly recommend submitting comments electronically as a PDF.  

Comments must be submitted electronically to the ALJ via the Office of Administrative Hearing’s (OAH) website by February 24, 2021, at 4:30 p.m.

Please note that filing comments with OAH requires a few extra steps, which includes singing up for an OAH account using your email. Detailed instructions for how to submit comments can be found below and here:

Filing electronic comments with the Office of Administrative Hearings:

  1. Create an “eComments” account with the Office Administrative Hearings.
    1. Click to visit the OAH Rulemaking eComments Website.
    2. Click “Sign Up” in the top right corner of the website and follow instructions for creating an eComment account using your email and self-generated password.
    3. After you create an account you should receive a confirmation email from OAH.
  1. Login to your eComments account.
    1. After signing up and activating your account, users will “Sign In” on each subsequent visit to the eComments website. Click “Sign In” in the top right corner of the eComments website. Then login using your email and password.
  1. Submit comments.
    1. You must be logged in to your account to comment on a pending rulemaking matter. After logging into your account, open “Discussions” which will be found at the bottom on the Discussions page.
    2. Click the View Discussions Link.
    3. Select the following “discussion”: 37107 Pollution Control Agency Notice of Hearing (Initial Comment Period)
    4. After you find the rulemaking matter above, scroll to the bottom of the page and find the “Topics” section.
    5. Under the “Topics” section, you will see a topic that reads “Submit a Comment.”
    6. Click the “View Topic” link.
    7. Once inside the “Topic,” you may submit your own comment and read comments made by other members of the public.
    8. You may submit a comment by copying text from a Word document and pasting that text into the text box or by attaching a PDF.
    9. We highly recommend attaching your comments and submitting them as a PDF.

If you have questions or concerns about OAH’s eComment process, please contact OAH at 651-361-7900.

If for some reason you are unable to submit your comment letter via the OAH eComment process, please contact Flaherty & Hood communication staff Kelly Haff at and provide her with a PDF copy of your comments by close of business on Feb. 23, 2021 and we can submit comments on your behalf.

If you have any other questions, please contact Daniel Marx at