Bills on wild rice, pipeline, nitrates advance at Capitol - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Bills on wild rice, pipeline, nitrates advance at Capitol

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By STEVE KARNOWSKI
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Bills to nullify Minnesota's water quality standard for wild rice, speed Enbridge Energy's proposal to replace its Line 3 crude oil pipeline and block regulations to keep nitrates out of drinking water are advancing through the Minnesota Legislature.

Lawmakers reconvene Monday after their Easter break.

The wild rice bills already have passed several committees and are scheduled for more hearings Monday and Tuesday. They stem from a long fight over a 1973 state law that limits discharges of sulfates into waters that produce rice.

Mining companies say the largely unenforced standard is unworkable and outdated. Environmental and tribal groups say it's necessary to protect a food source that plays a crucial role in Ojibwe culture. An administrative law judge has rejected the Pollution Control Agency's efforts to update the standard.

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