IOA brings leaders together for meeting about wild rice water quality standard

Oct 20, 2016

The IOA brought more than 45 Iron Range leaders together on Oct. 19 to continue working toward a science-based water quality standard that safeguards Minnesota’s wild rice and protects the future of the iron mining industry. Local business leaders and representatives from municipalities received a comprehensive briefing on the issue, including information about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) public comment period expected to begin in early 2017.

Speakers Kurt Anderson of Minnesota Power, Rob Beranek of Cliffs Natural Resources, and Chrissy Bartovich of U. S. Steel provided an update about ongoing research that commenced when discussions about the wild rice issue began in 2011. They also presented information about the potential costs to municipalities and industry on the Iron Range of complying with a sulfate water quality discharge standard. According to the speakers, potential costs to individual Iron Range cities could soar to millions of dollars. As a result, individual households could pay hundreds of dollars per year in new wastewater treatment fees.

Kurt Anderson of Minnesota Power presenting a briefing on research regarding the the wild rice issue on Oct. 19, 2016.

Kurt Anderson of Minnesota Power presenting a briefing on research regarding the the wild rice issue on Oct. 19, 2016.

In attendance were federal and state Iron Range lawmakers, including Rep. Rick Nolan, Sen. David Tomassoni, and Rep. Rob Ecklund, who all applauded attendees for coming together to learn more about the issue and work toward a science-based solution.

Chris Masciantonio, Sen. David Tomassoni, Congressman Rick Nolan and John Rebrovich at the wild rice meeting on Oct. 19, 2016.

Chris Masciantonio, Sen. David Tomassoni, Congressman Rick Nolan and John Rebrovich at the wild rice meeting on Oct. 19, 2016.

Click here to read the Mesabi Daily News’ coverage of the event.