ST. PAUL  (AP) — The new head of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says he believes voluntary efforts by farmers can help the state move closer to cleaning up the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.

John Linc Stine also acknowledges that may not be enough, but he says the state is prevented by federal law from forcing farmers to take action.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Stine also said Wednesday he believes copper-nickel mining can be done responsibly. And he defends the push by Gov. Mark Dayton to streamline the environmental permitting process.

Stine became MPCA commissioner two weeks ago after serving as deputy commissioner. The 54-year-old has spent nearly his entire adult life in state government, including high-ranking posts in the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.