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Environmental group challenges Heartland permit


Fri, Jan 3rd, 2003
Posted in Features

Southeastern Minnesotans for Environmental Protection (SEMEP), a grass roots environmental organization made up of Fillmore County residents, has advised the Preston City Council that the conditional use permit they issued on May 20, 2002 to Heartland Energy and Recycling is invalid.

According to Minnesota rules and statutes under the state’s Environmental Policy Act, no governmental approvals, including conditional use permits, can be made until the environmental review process is complete. SEMEP will appear at the Preston City Council meeting on January 6, to recommend that the conditional use permit for Heartland be rescinded.

Heartland has proposed building an energy plant at the Preston Industrial Park that would use tire derived fuel to generate electricity.

The Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for Heartland was made public on September 3, 2002. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is now reviewing the 87 comment letters that were submitted by Fillmore county residents. When this process is complete, the MPCA Citizen’s Board will meet to decide whether or not to order an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The environmental review process is not complete until the decision on the need for an EIS has been made.

A spokesperson for SEMEP said that the Preston City Council made an administrative error in issuing the Heartland permit on May 20 and that the city cannot issue a permit until the environmental review process is complete.

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