On Thursday, the CGMC Board of Directors discussed and approved filing a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court to appeal a Court of Appeals ruling that upheld recently adopted water quality standards.

In the case (MESERB et al v. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), the CGMC joined MESERB, the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) and the Minnesota Soybean Growers’ Association in challenging the MPCA’s rulemaking process and the validity of its new standards. Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the MPCA and did not address the concerns raised in the appeal.

In response to the ruling, the CGMC and MESERB have decided to file a petition for review with the Minnesota Supreme Court. At this point, it is unknown whether the other two parties in the appeal–LMC and the Soybean Growers–will join in the petition. The petition must be filed by Sept. 10 and sometime thereafter the Supreme Court will decide whether it will review the case or dismiss it. If it is dismissed, the Court of Appeals ruling will stand.

The case is extremely important to many cities and businesses in Greater Minnesota because if the Court of Appeals decision stands, it would essentially make the public comment process a meaningless exercise. It sets a dangerous precedent that could stack the MPCA rulemaking process against those who raise objections during rulemaking, no matter how substantive. If the MPCA or other state agencies don’t need to justify their rulemaking in any reasonable or substantial way then there will be no way for cities, businesses and other organizations to have a meaningful role in the process.