Push to Block Water Quality Standards that Protect Wild Rice in MN
Wild Rice Bill Could Hurt MN Mining Industry
A Minnesota House committee is considering a bill that would prevent the state from enforcing water quality standards designed to protect wild rice for at least two years.
Rep. Carly Melin, a Hibbing Democrat sponsoring the bill, said enforcing the standard for sulfate discharges would devastate the taconite mining industry.
But American Indian activist Winona LaDuke, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, told the panel wild rice is sacred to the Ojibwe and a critical part of their culture.
Rebecca Flood, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said the bill prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to strip the state of its ability to enforce clean water rules and might delay permitting for mines.
The committee plans to continue the discussion Wednesday.