Senate Votes to Nullify Minnesota Wild Rice Water Standard
ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Senate has voted 38-28 to nullify a water quality standard that's meant to protect wild rice, a food central to the culture and diet of the region's Ojibwe Indians.
Senators voted Monday to add $500,000 for restoration work to the bill, which passed the House last week, so the legislation will have to go back to the House before it goes to Gov. Mark Dayton. The governor has not publicly said whether he'll sign or veto the measure.
A largely unenforced 1973 state law limits sulfate discharges into waters where wild rice grows to 10 milligrams per liter. Sponsors of the legislation say that standard is based on outdated science and that it would cost mining companies and municipal wastewater plants hundreds of millions of dollars to comply.