MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency kicks off a week of public hearings across the state Monday on changing a water quality standard that's meant to protect wild rice, a proposal that has managed to anger environmentalists and industry alike.

It would change Minnesota's 1973 standard for sulfate discharges into waters where wild rice grows from the current flat limit to a more complicated formula. MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine calls the proposed changes "an innovative and precise approach to protecting wild rice.''

The iron mining industry says there's no proof the new rules would protect wild rice, while the costs to mining companies and wastewater treatment facilities of complying would exceed $1 billion.

But environmental groups and tribes say the state should keep and enforce the existing standard.