Expanding Operations – APT P.E.A.T. Projects in McGrath and Aitkin, Minnesota

Pioneering | Environment | Agriculture | Technology

American Peat Technology (APT), a peat harvesting company, has been manufacturing value-added products from reed-sedge peat since 2003. Our products are sold into agricultural and water remediation market sectors. In the agriculture industry, our products are essential to cultivating healthy field crops in many parts of North America. For water remediation, APT’s products help to remove contaminants in water and are used primarily in stormwater treatment throughout the country.

The peat industry in Minnesota is widespread and growing. Most harvesters are producing peat for horticultural uses. We are the only company manufacturing granular peat carriers and media in Minnesota today, and we’ve grown tremendously over the past fifteen years. We are nearing full production capacity at our location outside of Aitkin, Minnesota. We must expand our operations to meet the demand for our peat products.

In 2018, we pursued and received two peat leases from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). One lease is for 670 acres immediately east of our current location in Aitkin. The second lease is for 3,500 acres on a peatland northwest of McGrath, Minnesota. We are actively pursuing environmental review and permitting on the McGrath lease, with the intention of permitting the Aitkin parcel at a later date.

Our Plans for P.E.A.T. Project in McGrath

We want to continue to deliver high quality peat products to our growing customer base. We plan to develop a new plant and harvest area at the McGrath site, using a wet harvest method to extract peat. Our activities in McGrath will primarily be regulated by the Minnesota DNR and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We anticipate the amount of peat harvested in the McGrath location over the next 25 years will be about 600 acres.

A new plant in McGrath offers:

  • Stable, good-paying jobs
  • Opportunities for innovation
  • High-quality, in-demand peat products
  • Economic activity

In Minnesota, any facility for the extraction or harvesting of peat that exceeds 320 acres of land requires the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which must be completed prior to issuance of any permits. The scope of the EIS will be determined through the development of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW). We plan to submit an EAW to the DNR in 2019. That submittal will be followed by numerous deadlines and documents, with multiple opportunities for public comment.

On Tuesday, September 25, 2018 the Aitkin County Board held an open public hearing to discuss a proposed land exchange as part of our expansion. APT proposed to exchange a 40 acre parcel of timbered land for a 40 acre parcel of county-owned land that was previously a gravel pit. The former gravel pit is the potential site for the new processing plant and is a critical piece in the proposed project expansion. The county board voted unanimously to accept the land exchange. As a condition of the exchange, APT will pay the county the difference in value between the two parcels. The land exchange was finalized in 2018.

American Peat Technology hosted an open house at the McGrath Fire Hall on Thursday, October 25, 2018 to engage with the local community and share more details regarding APT’s investment in pioneering the environmental and agricultural applications of peat technology – the P.E.A.T. Project in McGrath.   There will be more opportunities to learn about this exciting process and project; we will continue to notify the community of the multiple public comment periods and open houses in the future.

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University of Minnesota Economic Impact Study Summary – download HERE

Anticipated project area map – download HERE

Didn’t make it to the open house? Have questions, comments or concerns? Please contact us at any time by phone or email at info@americanpeattech.com

Anticipated P.E.A.T. Project McGrath Timeline

Estimated Permitting and Environment Review Process

Q2 - Q4
  • APT field studies and data collection conducted
Q1 - Q2
  • APT leases obtained
Q3 - Q4
  • APT land exchange with Aitkin County approved
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) informal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pre-scoping begins state environmental review process
2019 We are here
  • DNR continues informal EIS pre-scoping process
  • APT submits filled-out Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) form to the DNR to initiate formal EIS scoping
  • DNR publishes the Scoping EAW and Draft Scoping Decision Document (DSDD)
  • DNR conducts public review/comment period and public scoping meeting
  • DNR publishes Final Scoping Decision (FSD) which sets scope and schedule for the EIS
  • DNR releases public notice of preparation of EIS
  • DNR begins preparation of the EIS
Q1 - Q2
  • DNR releases public comment period and meeting for EIS
  • DNR responds to public comments and revises the draft EIS if deemed necessary
  • DNR publishes final EIS
  • DNR releases public notice following publication of the final EIS
  • DNR makes final EIS adequacy determination and issues public notice, if EIS is deemed adequate
  • DNR reviews final EIS if deemed inadequate; DNR re-issues final EIS, makes final adequacy determination, and issues public notice.
  • APT begins submittal of environmental permit applications
  • APT continues ongoing submittal of environmental permits applications
  • APT anticipates decisions and receipt of permits and approvals
Q3 - Q4
  • APT anticipates activites begin on new plant and harvest site
  • APT anticipates site clearing and hiring begins
Q1 - Q4
  • APT begins year one of peat harvest
Q1 - Q4
  • APT processing plant (phase 1) becomes operational

Disclaimer: This estimate reflects APT's understanding of the State Environmental Review Program's Requirements for completing an EIS from start to finish. DNR will issue a proposed EIS schedule in the Final Scoping Decision. It is possible the EIS may take longer due to factors unknown at this time.