An influential Republican lawmaker has problems with a new proposed state regulation designed to protect Minnesota’s wild rice crop from sulfide pollution from mines and other sources. Roseau Representative Dan Fabian warns municipalities’ cost to implement the standard will be very high. Fabian says, “We’ve heard testimony in committee… [that] the costs for phosphates and so forth, they’re talking about 50, 60 million dollars in cities like Moorhead and Rochester.” Roseville Democrat Jamie Becker-Finn responds it’s too early to jump to that conclusion. “We can care about both things and… if necessary we’re certainly gonna help out our cities to be doing the right thing,” she says.
Top Republicans are urging the governor to delay the new standard until a study is complete. But Becker-Finn says there’s plenty of time for the public to weigh in during the upcoming comment period. Becker-Finn adds she’s a Leech Lake Ojibwe descendant and “wild rice is absolutely critical to the culture of Ojibwe people in northern Minnesota.”
We asked Fabian whether the Republican-controlled House will step in, if the state Pollution Control Agency moves forward with wild rice sulfide pollution regulations. “If we need to have some hearings and draft some bills, we could certainly do that, but I guess we’ll wait to see what happens,” he says.
Rep. Fabian talks about the proposed sulfide standard in this interview:
Response from Rep. Becker-Finn in this Q&A: