Minnesota Wild Rice Rulemaking Withdrawn
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is withdrawing the Wild Rice Rule from the rulemaking process that it has been undertaking for nearly a year.
In 1973, Minnesota adopted a sulfate standard to protect wild rice based on studies showing that wild rice was found primarily in low sulfate waters. The MPCA and many other organizations and individuals have been working on revising and updating this standard for several years. In 2011, the Minnesota Legislature directed the MPCA to conduct research on the effects of sulfate and other substances on the growth of wild rice. This research was intended to inform an evaluation of the existing wild rice sulfate standard.
After extensive research, data analysis and discussions, the MPCA proposed changes in the fall of 2017 to the water quality standard designed to protect wild rice from adverse impacts due to sulfate pollution. During the last year, the draft rule went through a public notice and comment period. The MPCA modified its proposal based on that public input, before forwarding the updated draft Wild Rice Rule to an Administrative Law Judge with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings.
“We’ve heard many, many voices, including the Administrative Law Judge on this topic, and the message is clear,” says John Linc Stine, MPCA Commissioner. “Although the science is accurate, when it comes to how best to apply the science and affordably implement the rule, we still have more work to do. So, the MPCA will withdraw it from the rulemaking process. We look forward to working with legislators over the next three weeks to determine an alternative path forward.”