Iron Mining Association

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The Honorable Mark Dayton
Minnesota State Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Governor Dayton,

I am writing in support of jobs, the future of our iron mining industry, and the economic well-being of Minnesota communities. Please help us bring the 10-year wild rice sulfate rulemaking process to a resolution.

The legislature has weighed in to move the state on the right path toward a balanced approach to protecting long-standing Minnesota businesses and our communities while maintaining (improving) the state's wild rice habitat. The existing obsolete sulfate standard was enacted based on field observations from the 1940s. It has never been enforced, yet wild rice continues to grow. Enforcing the outdated standard would not improve wild rice growth and would instead have devastating impacts on my community and our economy. We need more research to better understand the naturally occurring threats to wild rice, such as water levels and invasive species, and we need to support wild rice restoration projects in the state.

Wild rice is flourishing in Northern Minnesota, and we all want to continue to protect the sacred state grain and enjoy its history, spiritual significance, and many of its benefits. However, the current standard is obsolete and does not accomplish the intended outcome. Instead, it threatens jobs and Minnesota's iron mining industry and could harm many communities by substantially increasing water treatment costs for residents and businesses.

For these reasons, I respectfully ask that you support eliminating the outdated wild rice standard.


Governor Dayton: Protect wild rice, jobs, and our communities

The Iron Mining Association of Minnesota is asking you to encourage Governor Mark Dayton to find a resolution to the 10-year wild rice sulfate rulemaking process in a way that not only protects wild rice but also protects jobs and the future of communities and Minnesota’s iron mining industry. 

This month, the governor vetoed legislation that had been passed with bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to eliminate the obsolete 10 mg/L wild rice sulfate standard and provide funding for wild rice restoration and management projects.

The principles of this legislation remain important because: 

  • This wild rice standard has never been enforced in Minnesota and was never proven to enhance wild rice.
  • The outdated standard was not based on modern science but on field observations from the 1940s. It fails to take into account key factors affecting wild rice, including water depth, invasive species, and other such naturally occurring factors. 
  • Implementation of this standard would unnecessarily place a major financial burden on Minnesota’s iron mines, municipal wastewater facilities, and utility rate payers. This will create an additional economic burden on communities and a competitive disadvantage for the state’s iron mines and Minnesota’s workforce.

Let’s move forward and take the right steps to protect wild rice, jobs, and the future of our communities.  It’s time the state considers all factors in their pursuit to protect wild rice so we can continue to see it flourish in Minnesota. 


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