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Benson denies MPCA request

Fri, Feb 2nd, 2001
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By John TorgrimsonMonday, February 5, 2001

On Thursday, February 1, Fillmore County District Judge Robert Benson denied a request from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to reconsider his decision of December 22, where he ruled against the regulatory agency.

At that time, Judge Benson found that the MPCA erred when it made the decision that an Environmental Impact Statement was not necessary for the proposed Reiland Farms dairy feedlot in Spring Valley Township.

In a letter dated January 10, attorneys for the MPCA asked Judge Benson to allow the agency to file a motion for reconsideration because there were compelling circumstances supporting such action.

Under Minnesota law, a motion for reconsideration cannot be filed unless the Court grants permission, which is granted only under compelling circumstances.

In its letter, MPCA attorneys argued that the Court had found that the MPCAs administrative record was deficient regarding a few specific environmental issues that required further study and evaluation. The MPCA requested that they be allowed to gather additonal information regarding those specific issues.

In turning down the MPCAs request, Judge Benson wrote: The MPCA was given an opportunity to argue its case and submit any evidence it wanted at the original hearing. A remand was not sought as a form of relief. The decision was made by the MPCA to pursue a summary judgement motion; they cannot come in after the Court has made its decision and ask for a different form of relief. The letter submitted by the MPCA raises arguments that could have been made at the original hearing. The Court therefore denies the MPCAs request.

The MPCA has 60 days from the December 22 ruling to appeal Judge Bensons origianl judgement.

By John Torgrimson

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