Star Lake Concerned Citizens Group | P.O. Box 41, Dent MN 56528 | 218-251-1975

Environmental Review - Star Lake Casino Development:  EAW and EIS

EAW (Completed): On 8-22-2017 OTC Board of Commissioners made a Positive EIS Need Decision.
Upon completion of the EAW process, including review of public comments, OTC determined that a more stringent review of the project is required due to the potential significant environmental effects and other concerns, including socio-economic issues. 

The EAW comment period was from May 22 - June 21, 2017.
To view the EAW, Public Comments and other documents supporting the EIS decision, please refer to the OTC website.

Archived EAW Page

EIS (In Process): On 09-05-2017 OTC adopted the Record of Decision and estimated the EIS Scoping Costs.
Following the Positive Needs Decision, is the scoping period for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Scoping is the process used to determine the appropriate contents of the EIS. Scoping occurs before any analysis of impacts is done, and continues until the EIS is finished. Public participation is an integral part of scoping. The first step is to estimate the scoping costs. By law, these costs are to be paid 100% by the proposer before the scoping work can begin.

The estimate of scoping costs ($29,595) was presented to the OTC Board of Commissioners on Sept 5, 2017. Once OTC receives the proposer’s scoping cost payment, a public meeting will be held to review the proposed scope of the EIS. It will be important that we continue to communicate our concerns and help OTC to define the scope of the EIS.

The EIS Need Decision was posted on Sept 25, 2017 on the EQB Monitor.

To view documents supporting the EIS decision, please refer to the OTC website.

Discretionary Environmental Review

Projects that are not exempt nor require a mandatory environmental review can still go through the EIS process. As outlined in Minnesota Rules 4410.1700, an RGU can order the preparation of an EIS after completing an EAW if the RGU determines that the proposed project has the potential for significant environmental effects, or if the RGU determines that an EIS will provide information needed to determine the project’s potential for significant environmental effects. Discretionary environmental review can also occur when an RGU and project proposer agree to prepare an EIS per Minnesota Rules 4410.2000, Subpart 3 B. This often occurs when both parties recognize that an order for an EIS will likely result from the EAW process and they wish to expedite the process.

EIS Scoping Process Steps for a Discretionary EIS (Minnesota Rules 4410.2000-2100)

This EIS scoping process is the direct result of an RGU making a positive EIS need decision, after the completion of an EAW according to Minnesota Rules 4410.1700, Subpart 2a A or Minnesota Rules 4410.2000, Subpart 3 A. The EIS scoping process occurs before the preparation of an EIS and is intended to reduce the scope and bulk of the EIS by identifying only the potentially significant issues related to the project, outlining the EIS document and preparation timeline, and determining the permits that require information in order to be developed concurrently to the EIS. The flowchart below details the EIS scoping process for an EIS prepared pursuant to Minnesota Rules 4410.1700, or Minnesota Rules 4410.2000.


Tips for Writing EIS Comments

The RGU is required to evaluate and respond to substantive comments. Substantive comments address the content or issue raised in the EIS. For example, “The project developer is a jerk,” or, “I am against this project,” would not be considered substantive. Public comments are particularly valuable and helpful to the RGU when they:

  • List any inaccuracies in the EIS, or other accompanying documents.
  • Show potential environmental impacts that haven’t been identified by the proposer or the RGU.
  • Show that certain environmental impacts have been identified, but haven’t been adequately addressed.
  • Suggest possible mitigation measures that should be added to the proposal.

Clearly written comments are more useful to RGUs and are more likely to get some kind of action. For example, “I’m concerned about water quality,” may express your concerns, but, “My 50 foot-deep drinking water well is within a quarter mile of the proposed gravel mine,” will draw the RGUs’ attention much better. Similarly, “I don’t want a landfill in my neighborhood,” may be a legitimate concern, but the RGU could actually be in violation of state law if it denied the landfill permit for that reason alone. It would be better to identify other potential impacts by saying something like, “The additional traffic from this project creates public safety and air quality issues. There is a public school and two day-care centers along the proposed haul road to the new landfill”.

Source: MN EQB - A Citizen’s Guide: Commenting on Environmental Review Projects