On its way to the governor’s desk is bill that would streamline the environmental permitting process.
Sponsored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), the bill would streamline the environmental review process by creating a 150-day cycle to issue or deny permit applications; create a permit coordinator in the Department of Employment and Economic Development to serve the “permit applicant professionals;” and establish a pilot project to extract iron from ore in northern Minnesota.
The permit coordinator would coordinate a “Minnesota Business First Stop” mechanism to coordinate administrative decision-making procedures with federal, state and local units of government.
The pilot project to mine iron ore concentrate is designed to promote expansion of Magnetation Inc. on the Iron Range. When added by the House, Rep. Tom Anzelc (R-Balsam Township) said a processing plant proposed by the company could create 150 jobs by refining iron ore concentrate. The conference committee report describes the pilot program as an “alternative form of environmental review” that does not require an environmental assessment worksheet.