Does DNR have statutory authority to approve wetland replacement plans in connection with permit to mine? May DNR allow replacement plan reserve credits to apply to future permit to mine activities?

In the Matter of Hibbing Taconite Mine and Stockpile Progression, 888 N.W.2d 336 (Minn. Ct. App. 2016)

Court finds that DNR has statutory authority to approve wetland replacement plans in connection with permit to mine (PTM) under Minn. Stat. § 103G.222, subd. 1(a). Court rejected county’s argument that replacement plan jurisdiction lay with BWSR because replacement plan was properly a wetland banking plan under Minn. Stat. § 103G.2242, subd. 9.

Second court rules DNR’s longstanding practice of allowing replacement plan reserve credits to apply to future permit to mine activities exceeds the statutory authority and DNR was impermissibly allowing internal wetland banks. Court rules that wetlands must go to state wetland bank, although may be held in “single-user wetland bank accounts.”