EQB Mandatory Categories Rulemaking

Mandatory Categories Rulemaking

The Environmental Review Program was established in the early 1970’s under the direction of the EQB. Periodic updates to the mandatory categories have been made since that time, the latest major revisions occurring in 2009. In 2013, the EQB along with other state agencies completed the Mandatory Environmental Review Categories Report (Report), directed by the 2012 Minnesota legislature (Laws of Minnesota for 2012, Chapter 150, Article 2, Section 3). The report provided an analysis of whether the mandatory categories should be modified, eliminated, or unchanged based on their relationship to existing permits or other federal, state, or local laws or ordinances.

Pursuant to a legislative charge to support environmental review efficiency (2015 Special Session Law, Chapter 4, Article 3, Section 2),  the EQB will pursue policy and technical updates to MN Rules Ch. 4410. Specifically, this rulemaking, proposed under Revisor's ID Number R-04157, will focus on select mandatory EAW and EIS categories that were identified in the 2013 report to the legislature and categories identified by the public during rulemaking comment periods.

For more information on the Environmental Review Program visit https://www.eqb.state.mn.us/content/environmental-review-program.

The proposed mandatory categories rulemaking will also encompass the amendments to rules relating to silica sand projects. This includes the mandatory categories related to mining facilities, transfer facilities, processing facilities and storage facilities related to silica sand projects. The purpose of these amendments is to adopt the threshold levels for silica sand projects established by the Minnesota Legislature through Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 114, Article 4, Section 91. In 2014, the EQB began rulemaking for silica sand projects under Revisor’s ID Number RD-4305.

Additionally, the proposed mandatory categories rulemaking will also include the proposed amendments to rules relating to recreational trails. This includes thresholds for different types of recreational trails that require preparation of an EAW. In the 2015 Minnesota legislative session, Laws of Minnesota 2015, Chapter 4, Article 5, Section 33, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation changing the EAW thresholds applicable to motorized trails. In 2015, the EQB began rulemaking for recreational trails projects under Revisor’s ID Number RD-4381.

Public Engagement:

The EQB took the following steps to develop the draft rules, notify interested parties about the draft rules and to solicit their input on rule language:


  • The EQB hosted informational meetings, open to the public, but specifically focused on implications to local units of government on March 18, 21, 22, 2016, at the EQB offices in St. Paul, MN and via WebEx. Recordings of the informational meetings can be found here:




  • On August 15, 2018, EQB staff presented preliminary rule language to the EQB Board. Preliminary language is located here: Preliminary Rule Language 


  • On September 19, 2018, EQB staff presented draft rules and Statement of Need and Reasonableness. Staff requested the Board to adopt a resolution to being formal rulemaking and notice the rulemaking in the State Register: Board packet -- Webex of Board meeting


How to submit written comments:

1) Email us: Denise.wilson@state.mn.us and/or Erik.Dahl@state.mn.us with the subject line: "Mandatory Category Rulemaking: Preliminary Rule Lanaguge"

2) Mail us: 

Environmental Quality Board

Attn: Mandatory Category Rulemaking

520 Lafayette Road North

St. Paul, MN 55155



Tentative Schedule:



Publish Request for Comments

Fall 2016

Publish notice of proposed rules in the State Register


Final adoption of rules:

  • no hearing

  • with a hearing


~3 months after notice
~6 months after notice

Current Minnesota Statutes and Rules:


2013 EQB Mandatory Categories Report

EQB Mandatory Category Power Point

Environmental Review 4410.0200 (Definitions) [Word Document]

Environmental Review 4410.4300 (Environmental Assessment Worksheet Mandatory Categories) [Word Document]

Environmetnal Review 4410.4400 (Environmental Impact Statement Mandatory Catories) [Word Document]

Staff Contacts:

Denise Wilson
Director Environmental Review Program
Phone:  651-757-2523
Email:  denise.wilson@state.mn.us
Environmental Quality Board
520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

Erik Cedarleaf Dahl
Planning Director
Environmental Quality Board
520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone:  (651) 757-2364