MDA IS DRAFTING A NITROGEN FERTILIZER RULE!
PUBLIC COMMENTS ACCEPTED THROUGH AUGUST 25TH
MAIL: Larry Gunderson
Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Division
Minnesota Department of Agriculture 625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55115
Brief Analysis of the New Rule:
MDA has authority to create this rule through the 1989 Groundwater Protection Act. (Minn. Stat.ch. 103H). The new rule would help implement the first mandatory regulations under the Groundwater Protection Act.
There are 2 main components of the rule. 1. Prohibiting fall and winter applications of nitrogen fertilizers in some areas of the state (with some cases for exceptions). 2. Developing a multi-level regulatory system with voluntary “best management practices” for fertilizer use, which become mandatory if nitrate concentrations increase and too many farmers fail to voluntarily participate.
That’s good, right? Those are steps in the right direction, but there are still some problems. Here are a few things to bring up to MDA in your comments.
Here are some things to tell MDA in your comments
Rural communities deserve safe drinking water. The Groundwater Protection Act charged MDA to prevent nitrate pollution in all unconfined groundwaters. Action should be taken whenever water is at risk, not just when 10% or more of wells are already contaminated.
Best management practices should be mandatory whenever the environment or human health is potentially in danger
When nitrate concentration goes up, the mitigation level of a township should go up.
Slow action is unacceptable. It’s been 28 years since the Groundwater Protection Act was signed. 26 years since MDA has used voluntary best management practices (BMPs). The current draft plan prohibits mandatory requirements for at least another 3 years and doesn’t include deadlines for follow up evaluations in areas of concern.