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March 31, 2020
MPCA’s flexibility regarding environmental compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently announced that it will work with regulated businesses to devise alternative means of complying with environmental regulations, where necessary in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knowing the operational challenges you currently face, we have summarized below the process for requesting relief from the MPCA if COVID-19 is preventing you from complying with an environmental law, regulation, or permit requirement. The types of alternative compliance measures the MPCA may consider include extending reporting deadlines, extending operator certifications, and other forms of regulatory relief. 

1.    Email the MPCA with a specific request for relief and reasons for the request.

The MPCA has a specific email address for these requests:

At a minimum, your email should:

  • Identify the party requesting the relief by name and permit number;
  • Include a phone number(s) of the person to contact regarding the request;
  • State the specific statute, rule, or permit condition from which you are seeking relief;
  • Include the reasoning/rationale for your request. You should give a 1-paragraph summary of (1) why the peacetime emergency makes the relief necessary and (2) what actions the company took to meet the regulatory requirement before making the request;
  • Include bulleted points of the measures the company will take to mitigate or minimize the potential environmental impacts (if any); and
  • Specify the length/duration of the request for relief, including giving a reason for the requested duration.

The MPCA will monitor this email address daily and will try to quickly respond to requests. 

MPCA approval is required before implementing any alternative compliance measures. 

2.    What to do if your request is granted.

If the MPCA authorizes alternative compliance options, you must keep records documenting your implementation of the authorized alternative compliance options, and your activities related to the noncompliance.

Remember that you are still obligated to take all available actions necessary to comply with environmental laws, regulations, and permit requirements.

3.    Seeking an amendment or extension of your request.

If you need to amend your request, change your approved compliance options, or request an extension of time, you can email the MPCA at the above email address. Include in your email the specific reasons for the requested amendment or extension. 

Please contact our team with any questions regarding environmental compliance measures or any other COVID-19-related issues. 

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