Judge Disapproves Changing Sulfate Standard for Wild Rice Waters

Renee Passal
Updated: January 11, 2018 10:43 PM

The judge's opinion has been posted. And it's a victory for the fair regulatory process, according to Jobs for Minnesotans.

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After review and public hearings, the administrative law judge has ruled she disapproves with the MPCA's proposal to change the sulfate standard for wild rice waters.

She also disapproves the equation based sulfide standard that the state was hoping to do, and the proposed list of 1300 wild rice waters.

According to her conclusion, the reason she disapproves is: "The Agency's failure to establish the reasonableness of the repeal, and because the repeal conflicts with the requirements. In addition, the proposed equation-based sulfate standard is not rationally related to the Agency's objective in this proceeding, and is unconstitutionally void for vagueness."

Jobs for Minnesotans and leaders on the Range had been fighting this proposal, saying it could devastate communities who run their own waste-water treatment facilities and the mining industry.

The Iron Mining Association sent a statement, saying, "The IMA and our supporters are pleased that the Administrative Law Judge heard our message and understood that the MPCA's proposed rule is flawed and would result in dire consequences for the iron mining industry and Minnesota communities," said IMA President Kelsey Johnson.

Mining advocates also don't believe the current standard of 10 parts per million is a good one either. For now, it looks like that one will remain in place.

The MPCA sent this statement: "We just received the ALJ report. We will need to read and evaluate what the ruling says before offering any public comment." 

If you'd like to look at the full report:


Renee Passal

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