Environmental review and compliance are an integral component of all Metropolitan Council transit projects. This page provides information about environmental regulations affecting the METRO Blue Line Extension Project and links to previous environmental studies and reports.
The original documentation was completed prior to August 2020. The new recommended route now requires additional environmental documentation.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Process
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) require that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared for certain actions that affect the environment. The EIS provides a means to analyze environmental, social and economic factors and consider environmental impacts, alternatives and mitigation strategies in the planning and decision-making process.
The new recommended route requires the project team to prepare a new EIS. Between summer 2022 and spring 2023, the project team will prepare the new Draft EIS. During this phase, the environmental team will work closely with the engineering team to guide the design of the alignment and multiple design solutions and their relative impacts and benefits will be compared. After a public comment phase, the team will then prepare the Final EIS in summer 2023 to early winter 2023, which will update the social, economic, and environmental impacts to reflect the refined project design and finalize the mitigation commitments.
More information on the environmental documentation process as well as previously completed environmental documentation for the project can be found below.
Scoping documents were produced during the first step in the NEPA/EIS process. Scoping is designed to engage the public, interest groups, affected tribes and government agencies (including opportunities for public involvement) and to present the purpose and need for the project, the proposed alternatives to address the needs identified, and potential benefits and impacts for public and agency review early in the NEPA/EIS process. The scoping process for the METRO Blue Line Extension was managed by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA).
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) is the initial statement prepared by the project sponsor and circulated for review and comment before a Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) is prepared.
The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) was the project sponsor and Responsible Governmental Unit (RGU) through the completion of the DEIS. HCRRA published the Draft EIS and received comments on the DEIS from April 11, 2014 through May 29, 2014. Upon transfer of RGU authority from HCRRA to the Metropolitan Council, HCRRA transferred the comments received on the Draft EIS to the Metropolitan Council for analysis during Project Development.
Final Environmental Impact Statement
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Metropolitan Council published the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) on July 15, 2016. The Final EIS identifies impacts from the Blue Line Extension Project, including measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate these impacts. The Final EIS also includes the Project’s Section 404 permit application, Amended Draft Section 4(f) and 6(f) Evaluation, Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement, and responses to comments received on the Draft EIS.