Iron Range Leaders gather to discuss wild rice sulfate standard

Jan 18, 2016


Nearly 50 Iron Range leaders recently gathered to receive updates on the status of Minnesota’s water quality standard to protect wild rice. As part of the East Range Community Advisory Panel’s regular meeting on January 14, presenters gave an overview of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) rulemaking timeline, as well as a summary of recent research that found that sulfate and sulfide are not toxic at levels that typically exist in Minnesota’s wild rice waters. Meeting attendees included representatives from Congressman Rick Nolan’s office, several state legislators, Saint Louis County commissioners, elected officials from eight Iron Range cities, the IRRRB, and other community leaders including USW’s John Rebrovich, co-chair of the Iron Ore Alliance.

Minnesota is the only state with a rule limiting how much sulfate can be discharged into wild rice waters. This 42-year-old standard (10 milligrams per liter) is not consistently enforced and there has been significant discussion on whether the standard is scientifically supported. The MPCA intends to move ahead with rulemaking regarding the wild rice sulfate standard to reflect the most up-to-date science and to identify wild rice waters.

Click below to review the PowerPoint presentations that were provided at the January 14 meeting.