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MEPA at 36: Perspectives on Minnesota's Little NEPA

July 2009

Citation: ELR 10663

Author: Kevin Reuther

I. Background and Context

Two Minnesota statutes, both adopted in the early 1970s, were intended to establish bedrock protections for Minnesota's environment. The first is the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) of 1973, considered the state's little NEPA [in reference to the National Environmental Policy Act2]. The second is the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA), which establishes a general claim for environmental degradation.

MEPA, like NEPA, mandates an environmental review prior to projects that significantly affect the environment: "Where there is a potential for significant environmental effects resulting from any major governmental action, the action shall be preceded by a detailed environmental impact statement [EIS] prepared by the responsible governmental unit." The procedures established in MEPA and its implementing rules are similar to those required under NEPA.

Kevin Reuther is Legal Director at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

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