Officials with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are hosting public meetings throughout the state in June to present information about the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule and the rulemaking process. The public meetings will be held prior to the five other public hearings that will take place before an administrative law judge in July.
“The additional informational meetings were not required as part of the rulemaking process,” says Susan Stokes, MDA assistant commissioner. “We want to ensure that everyone who wants to have input on the proposed rule understands what is in the rule and how to participate in the rulemaking process.”
MDA officials say the goal of the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule, which farmers know as the proposed nitrogen fertilizer rule, is to reduce elevated nitrate levels in groundwater and ensure that Minnesota residents have clean, safe and reliable drinking water supplies.
The proposed rule, which included input from farmers and landowners to whom the rule would apply, as well as other interested persons, would regulate the use of nitrogen fertilizer in areas of the state where soils are prone to leaching and where drinking water supplies are threatened.
A few meetings were already held in late May. The remaining informational meetings are scheduled for these dates and locations:
• Red Wing, 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 5, Minnesota State College Southeast, 308 Pioneer Road
• Kasson, 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 6, Kasson-Mantorville High School, 101 16th St. NE
• Pipestone, 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 18, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, 1314 N. Hiawatha Ave.
• Hutchinson, 8 to 9:30 a.m. June 19, Ridgewater College, 2 Century Ave. SE
• St. Paul, 8 to 9:30 a.m. June 28, Orville L. Freeman Building, 625 Robert St. N
Following these informational meetings, the formal hearings required on the proposed rule will be held before an administrative law judge in July:
• Farmington, 1 to 6 p.m. July 16, Robert Boeckman Middle School, 800 Denmark Ave.
• Stewartville, 1 to 4 p.m. July 18, Stewartville Civic Center, 105 First St E.
• Worthington, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 19, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, 1450 College Way
• St. Cloud, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 25, River’s Edge Convention Center, 10 Fourth Ave. S
• Park Rapids, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 26, American Legion, 900 First St. E
More information about the formal hearing and comment process is online.
To learn more about the groundwater protection rule, visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.