The MPCA offers free fact sheets to assist the regulated community. For a list of available fact sheets, contact the MPCA or access it on the MPCA website at www.pca.state.mn.us under Publications within the program pages. In addition, the MPCA publishes an “Environmental Guide for Small Business in Minnesota,” created to give small manufacturers a user-friendly guide to Minnesota’s environmental regulations. That publication addresses air quality, hazardous waste, water quality, emergency response, storage tanks, cleanup and remediation, pollution prevention, OSHA, and agriculture issues. Copies are available by contacting the MPCA’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program at the address and telephone number listed in the Resource Directory section of the Guide. Copies are also available on the internet at www.pca.state.mn.us.
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)
This business assistance program helps industrial-waste generators improve process efficiency while minimizing their impact on human health and the environment. MnTAP is a nonregulatory program that offers free, confidential assistance to help business comply with environmental regulations by evaluating pollution prevention strategies before offering other waste management suggestions. For more information, contact MnTAP at the telephone number listed in the State Government section of the Resource Directory section of this Guide.
Superfund and Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC)
The federal and state Superfund programs deal with hazardous-waste sites where contamination threatens public health and the environment. The Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act (MERLA), Minnesota’s Superfund law, gives the MPCA the authority to require those responsible for the contamination to undertake investigation and cleanup.
The Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup program provides guidance and technical assistance to parties who want to voluntarily clean up a property contaminated with hazardous substances. For more information about the state or federal Superfund programs or the VIC program, call the number listed in the Resource Directory for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The MPCA One-Stop program helps businesses navigate through the various environmental regulations they may face in the expansion or creation of their business. The goal is to make regulatory compliance in all environmental medias a smoother, friendlier, more efficient experience for Minnesota businesses. The program includes multimedia assistance in hazardous waste, air quality, stormwater, wastewater, and pollution prevention. This program offers environmental assistance at all stages of planning. However, the greatest environmental benefit can be achieved if environmental considerations (such as low impact development, green building design, water and energy conservation, waste and pollution prevention) can be incorporated into the earliest design stages of a new or expanding business possibly resulting in less burdensome regulations or permits.
Small Business Environmental Assistance Program/Environmental Rules and Regulations
Small businesses with limited resources can get help understanding Minnesota’s environmental rules and regulations through the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program at the MPCA. The purpose of this program is to help small businesses understand the environmental rules and regulations that may apply to their business; assist in completing permit applications; inform the businesses of their rights and responsibilities regarding environmental rules and regulations; and provide assistance so that the businesses may comply with environmental rules and regulations even when a permit is not required.
Businesses requesting this confidential service should contact the MPCA’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program at the address and telephone number listed in the Resource Directory section of this Guide.
Small Business Ombudsman
The Small Business Ombudsman serves as a representative, or a liaison, for small businesses in their interactions with the MPCA. The Ombudsman offers the following services: confidential assistance to small businesses involving regulations and compliance; resolution of complaints or disputes involving regulations and small businesses; help in identifying funding sources to purchase equipment that meets or exceeds environmental regulations; and coordination of small business input during rule development. The Ombudsman also solicits feedback from small businesses and trade associations for the development of assistance activities tailored to small business needs.
The ombudsman is located at the MPCA at the address and telephone number listed in the Resource Directory section of this Guide.
The Small Business Environmental Improvement Loan Program
For existing businesses, the Small Business Environmental Improvement Loan Program offers low interest loans of up to $50,000 for financing environmental projects such as equipment or process upgrades and costs associated with the investigation and clean-up of hazardous materials. More information and an application are available by calling the Small Business Ombudsman at PCA at the address and telephone number listed in the Resource Directory section of this Guide.
CREDITS: This is an excerpt from A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota, provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Small Business Assistance Office, Twenty-eighth Edition, January 2010, written by Charles A. Schaffer, Madeline Harris, and Mark Simmer. Copies are available without charge from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Small Business Assistance Office.