St. Paul, MN: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has scheduled a series of public informational meetings throughout the state during May and June to present information about the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule (GPR) and the rulemaking process. The public is invited to attend these meetings. It is important to note that these meetings are informational only; they are not part of the official rulemaking process.

The informational meeting schedule is as follows:

Thief River Falls
Wednesday, May 30
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Northland Community and Technical College
1101 Highway One East
Thief River Falls, MN 56701

Fergus Falls
Wednesday, May 30
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Minnesota State College Fergus Falls
1414 College Way
Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Little Falls
Thursday, May 31
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Initiative Foundation
405 1st Street SE
Little Falls, MN 56345

Red Wing
Tuesday, June 5
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Minnesota State College Southeast
308 Pioneer Road
Red Wing, MN 55066

Kasson
Wednesday, June 6
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Kasson-Mantorville High School
101 16th Street NE
Kasson, MN 55944

Pipestone
Monday, June 18
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
1314 North Hiawatha Avenue
Pipestone, MN 56164

Hutchinson
Tuesday, June 19
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Ridgewater College
2 Century Avenue SE
Hutchinson, MN 55350

St. Paul
Thursday, June 28
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Orville L. Freeman Building
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155

The process to submit formal comments and testimony that will become part of the rulemaking record is a separate process from the informational meetings. Members of the public wishing to make formal comments about the rule can do so by submitting comments online and/or by providing testimony at one of the Administrative Law Judge Hearings to be held this summer. More information about the formal comment process is here www.mda.state.mn.us/gwprhearingnotice.

The goal of the Groundwater Protection Rule is to work with local farmers to reduce elevated nitrate levels in groundwater and ensure Minnesota residents have clean, safe, and reliable drinking water supplies. 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 proposed rule, which is based on the input of the farmers and landowners who the rule would apply to, 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.

Source: Minnesota Department of Agruculture