ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed legislation that would have overturned current law regulating water standards in Minnesota wild rice water.
The House and Senate had passed the measure, in place since 1973 but never enforced. The bill would have banned the state from returning to that law.
Dayton vetoed the bill Wednesday, April 9.
"Previously, I have urged Legislators to find a workable solution to Minnesota's wild rice sulfate standards that would bring communities and businesses throughout Minnesota the regulatory certainty they need," the Democratic governor said. "Unfortunately, the bill sent to me, which would abolish any sulfate standard, is an extreme overreach. It would violate the federal Clean Water Act and ensure continued uncertainty from inevitable litigation."
Dayton said that the Legislature directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2011 to develop a new sulfate standard. An administrative law judge recently rejected the MPCA's proposal, a move many lawmakers applauded.
Backers of the legislation said their bill still was needed to prevent the state from regulating sulfate in a way that would hurt mines and other northern Minnesota businesses.
The governor said he hopes in the legislative session that ends in a week and a half "to develop a new sulfate standard, one that would both protect wild rice and also support jobs and economic development."