Citizen Advisory Committee for
the Generic Environmental Impact Statement
on Animal Agriculture
Room 302 Centennial Building, St. Paul, Minnesota
Facilitator: Roger Williams, Office of Dispute Resolution
Attendees: Robert Ferguson, Don Farm (for Tim Tracy), Tina Rosenstein, George Raab, Andy Steensma, Roger Dole (for Ed Hegland), Ken Albrecht, Brian Buhr, Amy Fredregill, Harold Stanislawski, Helen Palmer, Troy Gilchrist, Gary Allen, John Holck, Chris Radatz, Roger Gilland, Kris Sigford, Pat Henderson, Mark Schultz, David Preisler, Donna Peterson, Suzanne McIntosh, John Hart, Tom Cochrane (for Paul Christ)
EQB members present: Rod Sando, Gene Hugoson, Paul Toren, Bruce Bomier
Staff present: Susan Schmidt, Gregg Downing, Mike Sullivan, Andrea Glass, Susan Eichhorst
Meeting was convened at approximately 10:00 a.m. by Susan Schmidt, GEIS Project Manager.
Susan Schmidt introduced the GEIS project team, explained the revised meeting agenda and meeting logistics. She introduced Roger Williams, Director of the Minnesota Office of Dispute Resolution, as the meeting facilitator.
Roger Williams asked members and staff to introduce themselves.
Background on the GEIS
Susan Schmidt provided a brief history of the GEIS on Animal Agriculture. She explained the Environmental Quality Board and their actions to date on the GEIS. Gregg Downing, GEIS Research Coordinator, summarized the law and rules governing the GEIS process.
Timber Harvest GEIS
Susan Schmidt introduced Mike Kilgore, Director, Minnesota Forest Resources Council, who was project manager for the GEIS on timber harvesting.
Mike Kilgore explained the process and outcome of the timber harvest GEIS. He also explained the role of its 10-member Citizen Advisory Council and the facilitator for the timber harvest GEIS. The entire process took four and one half years to complete; scoping took one year to complete.
Mike Kilgore gave recommendations to the advisory council on the GEIS process.
Question: How are the budgets for the feedlot GEIS and timber GEIS different?
Answer: The budgets are different. Mike Kilgore explained that the direct cost of the timber GEIS was about $1 million. The consultant ended up spending well beyond the $1 million using other funds. Susan Schmidt stated that the estimated cost of the GEIS on Animal Agriculture is $2.7 million.
Question: How contentious is the timber issue compared to feedlot issue?
Answer: Both issues are contentious; feedlots may be more so.
Question: Was the timber harvest study worthwhile?
Question: What was the timeframe?
Answer: Four and one half years; one year for scoping.
Comment was made that the timeframe is too short to complete the animal agriculture GEIS; especially the scoping process. Mike Sullivan, EQB director, advised the committee that it shouldn’t be assumed that the schedule set for completing the GEIS is set in stone. Representative Ted Winter, who attended the meeting, confirmed that the legislature wants the committee to take as much time as is necessary to do the job right. Paul Toren, EQB citizen member, also confirmed the importance of a deliberate scoping process.
Question: Was the timber harvest GEIS the first and only GEIS?
Answer: The timber harvest GEIS was the first full-fledged GEIS.
Question: What was the committee process for the timber GEIS? Was there major consensus throughout the process?
Answer: Mike Kilgore stated that the goal was consensus. All members had to agree or they could not continue on to the next step. Consensus was achieved; however, one member dropped out of the process.
Question: How did you define consensus?
Answer: No dissent during final scoping decision. We had unanimity; however, it was not a thumbs up/thumbs down decision. We posed a “can you live with it” test to members.
Comment: The Citizen Advisory Committee should think about how we ensure more or better implementation of this GEIS relative to the forestry GEIS.
Question: Do other states conduct Generic Environmental Impact Statements?
Answer: I`m not sure; there may be similar comprehensive studies under a different name or title.
Citizen Advisory Committee Role
Rod Sando, EQB Chair and DNR Commissioner, addressed the group. He explained the EQB considered interest group balance when it selected the advisory committee for the GEIS.
Rod Sando thanked members for their commitment to the process. He emphasized the importance of attending all CAC meetings and keeping constituents informed. Finally, he stated that the EQB hopes that the Citizen Advisory Committee process will be based on consensus.
Gene Hugoson, Department of Agriculture Commissioner and member of the EQB, addressed the group and thanked members. Paul Toren and Bruce Bomier, EQB citizen members, echoed earlier comments and emphasized the importance of the Citizen Advisory Committee in this GEIS process.
Overview of GEIS Process
Susan Schmidt explained that the EQB would like to complete the GEIS in two years. She referred members to a draft workplan explaining key GEIS phases and decision points. The EQB acknowledges that the workplan is ambitious; however, the importance of this issue to the state demands a timely product. Susan explained that the Citizen Advisory Committee will probably need to meet on a monthly basis except that the compressed scoping process will mean a compressed committee meeting schedule in August through November 1998.
Susan Schmidt explained that members should put forward names of alternates. Rod Sando, EQB chair, will confirm alternates in the next month or so. The Citizen Advisory Committee will determine the role and function of alternates as part of its ground rules.
Susan Schmidt also explained the status of finding a professional facilitator to work with the Citizen Advisory Committee. She stated that we have asked for names of interested groups and firms. Committee members are encouraged to submit suggestions. A Request for Proposal will be sent to all of these groups in early July. The Department of Administration has stated that we need not publish notice of the Request for Proposal in the State Register, given this alternative means of "casting the net" for expert facilitators and the short GEIS timeline.
Comment: Will the committee have input on the facilitator selection? Discussion followed about the selection process. Suggestion was made to form a sub committee. This idea seemed to be dismissed by the large group. The group agreed that EQB staff would forward the top candidates to all committee members to see if any believe a candidate is unqualified for the work. This input would be sought in late July. The EQB hopes to have a facilitator on board by the next committee meeting in mid-August.
Overview of the Scoping Process
Gregg Downing described the theory and purpose of scoping. He distributed a copy of the forestry GEIS scoping document. Susan Schmidt referred to the draft workplan which highlights the scoping process and scoping decision points.
Susan Schmidt briefed the committee on the public pre-scoping meetings and schedule. Members discussed the purpose of these meetings and the role of advisory committee members at the meetings.
Susan Schmidt suggested advisory committee meeting dates for the scoping work. Members discussed the dates. The committee agreed to the following dates:
August 17 and 18
September 21 (optional)
November 16 and 17
November 30 (optional)
The August 17 and 18 meeting will be dedicated to establishing advisory committee ground rules and beginning the scoping discussion.
Initial Research Needs
Gregg Downing explained that conducting research on agreed-to animal agriculture topics might take place parallel to scoping. He asked members to respond in writing to the question about "expedited research" topics.
Discussion took place on the proposed GEIS Technical Committee. Some members commented that they did not want an entity which would be duplicative of the Citizen Advisory Committee process. Others stated that the committee needs expertise but not a group that would review all information prior to committee review. Some members would be concerned if the technical entity would just be made up of the state agencies. Members stated that a technical "resource team" was more appropriate than a "committee" per se.
Members also discussed the idea of conducting an inventory of feedlots. Some expressed that there is inadequacy in the present agriculture statistics. The committee also discussed the proprietary nature of this inventory information.
One member requested a list of working definitions to be used for advisory committee discussion. Another asked for background information on the EQB.
Susan Schmidt provided an overview of committee member compensation and expense reimbursement, per M.S. 15.059. Each member is eligible to receive $55.00 per diem and is eligible to be reimbursed for meals when on the road, and mileage and hotel accommodations when necessary.
Question: Will alternate members have a vote?
Answer: The role of alternates will be determined at the next advisory committee meeting as part of the ground rules discussion.
Members confirmed advisory committee involvement in the selection of a facilitator. Some members feel the committee shouldn’t be involved in the selection process. Other members want to be involved. The group confirmed that the short list of possible facilitators will be forwarded to members so that they can express any concerns about the top candidates.
Committee Ground Rules
Roger Williams stated that ground rules would be discussed at the next advisory committee meeting.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 4 p.m.