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PCA responds to decision on wild rice sulfate rule

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Friday responded to last week's decision by an administrative law judge rejecting the agency's plan to change how it regulates sulfate pollution in waters that hold wild rice. The PCA "is continuing to ev...

 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Friday responded to last week’s decision by an administrative law judge rejecting the agency’s plan to change how it regulates sulfate pollution in waters that hold wild rice.

The PCA “is continuing to evaluate all available options following the recent administrative law judge report pertaining to the agency's proposed revisions to the wild rice sulfate rule,’’ the agency said in a statement. “While we are disappointed with the ALJ disapprovals in the report, we are pleased that the ALJ agreed the proposed revisions were based on sound scientific evidence.”

The judge rejected both the end of the current statewide sulfate limit to protect wild rice and the agency’s plan to go to a lake-by-lake, river-by-river system to measure each water's ability to handle different sulfate levels, saying the new plan didn’t meet federal Clean Water Act rules.

The agency said it was simply moving at the Legislature's order to develop an alternative to the current, statewide sulfate limit which is opposed by the state’s mining interests, municipal waste treatment plants and northern lawmakers who say it would be too costly to enforce.

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PCA officials say they will follow state law in responding to the judge’s decision in an effort to move forward.

“We believe this exchange can lead all parties to a workable solution, and we remain strongly committed to achieving that ideal outcome,’’ the agency said in a statement released to media.

The PCA noted that the 2018 Minnesota Legislature is expected to weigh-in on the issue.

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