Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to receive a report Thursday recommending the state fortify a languishing environmental oversight board and make it easier for the public to follow the review process.
The Environmental Quality Board includes the commissioners of nine state agencies and four citizens. It was created in 1972. But Minnesota Public Radio reports that over the years its staff has shrunk and it seldom has the resources to fulfill its mandate of studying and coordinating on issues that go beyond the purview of a single state agency.
The board was cited this week by Winona County because the board's environmental review of two proposed frac sand mines in Saratoga Township did not pick up an error on the review forms. While the county is taking responsibility for not seeing the error, it said Tuesday the EQB, which published the reviews with the error, was also to blame.
The error has caused Winona County to have the documents re-published, which will result in the extension of the public comment period on the proposals, as much as six weeks.
Dayton directed the board last year to make recommendations for how it could improve overall environmental governance, specifically the environmental review process. The report recommends a revitalized EQB, with as many as 10 staffers, more than double the current level.