The major reason for comment is the recent Final Determination of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that the project will result in “no adverse effects to historic properties” (the Afton Effigy Mound). Consulting parties, that is those tribes and other entities who were allowed to consult over the last few months, will have until that deadline of September 1, 2016, to comment on this finding. These consulting parties include the following Sioux or Dakota communities or reservations: Shakopee, Upper Sioux, Lower Sioux, Prairie Island, and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Other Native groups include the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the White Earth Nation, and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.
During the recent field work for evaluation of the effigy mound, known as the Rattlesnake Mound (21WA10), the site was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A, C, and D, though those doing the evaluation stated their opinion that the site would not be affected by the project. In response, Sarah Beimers of the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office wrote to the MPCA stating that while the SHPO did not agree that the project would have “no effect” on the site it did agree that the a finding of “no adverse effect” might be warranted. Beimers did condition that statement on some aspects of the project design, and further insisted that “all consulting parties currently participating in the Section 106 review of this project will be provided adequate opportunity to review and provide meaningful comment.”
This is that opportunity, though it is not known if it is adequate. It is believed that the consulting parties were notified on or about August 1, and were given until September 1 to submit their comments. Copies of such a lettter have not been made public. Now is the time to go on the record. The MPCA has provided a pdf which contains information on how to submit comments. It is located at: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/d…
While members of the public are not given the opportunity to comment, it is certainly within the power of the public to contact these consulting parties and urge them to submit a comment by the deadline.