An Administrative Law Judge has extended the amount of time the public has to submit written input on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) proposed Groundwater Protection Rule. Judge Jessica Palmer-Denig issued the order to leave the comment period open until 4:30 p.m. on August 15, or approximately two weeks longer than originally scheduled.
Written comments on the Groundwater Protection Rule can be made on the Office of Administrative Hearings website at www.mda.state.mn.us/gwprhearingnotice.
Public input is important to the rule making process and in addition to submitting written comments online, the public is also invited to testify at hearings on the proposed rule next Wednesday, July 25, starting at 10:00 a.m. at River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota and on Thursday, July 26, starting at 9:00 a.m. at the American Legion in Park Rapids, Minnesota.
Members of the public who wish to testify should plan to arrive at the start of the hearings to ensure their comments are heard. The hearings will conclude after everyone present at the beginning of the hearing has had the opportunity to speak. The formal Notice of Hearings gives an end time, but the hearing is not necessarily open until the end time. The hearing concludes once everyone present at the beginning of the hearing has had an opportunity to speak.
Nitrate is one of the most common contaminants in Minnesota's groundwater; elevated nitrate levels in drinking water can pose serious health concerns for humans. The goal of the Groundwater Protection Rule is to work with local farmers to reduce elevated nitrate levels in groundwater. The proposed rule would regulate the use of nitrogen fertilizer in areas of the state where soils are vulnerable to leaching and where drinking water supplies have high nitrate levels.