Ask for a Hearing on State Proposal to Strip Away “Trout Waters” and Drinking Water Protection

We admit that WaterLegacy doesn’t trust the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to protect high quality Minnesota waters, control sulfate and other mining pollution, or candidly describe its proposed rules.

You can change that. Call for an open hearing in front of an administrative judge on the MPCA’s proposed rulemaking to stop listing “trout waters.” Let the sunshine in.

Here’s what we understand so far about the MPCA proposed brave new rules:

  • No Minnesota waters would be listed as “trout waters.” This term that Minnesotans have understood for decades would be replaced with “cold water habitat.”
  • The entire section of rules (ch. 6264) where trout waters are listed so Minnesotans can see which waters are protected as trout waters would be removed. Tributaries to trout waters would no longer be protected.
  • “Cold water habitat” would be defined to require a new level of proof that the water supported a healthy population of trout and other cold water biota, proof which may no longer even be possible.
  • In fact, when industrial pollution and climate change have affected trout, the MPCA could be required to remove protection for cold water habitat waters.
  • The rule would stop automatic listing of trout waters as Class A drinking waters. Under existing rules, all trout waters have to meet a 250 parts per million limit on sulfate, a standard mining industry polluters have tried to remove.
  • Finally, looking at the changes proposed by MPCA for actual waters, more than 70 percent of the river miles affected by the changes downgrade the designated classification of waters.

The MPCA will only hold a public hearing in front of an administrative law judge if 25 OR MORE MINNESOTANS ASK FOR A HEARING. The Deadline is Nov. 7, 2019.

Please ask for a hearing and your comment today to let the MPCA know you are watching and that you believe that the MPCA’s job is to protect Minnesota’s high quality waters, not its polluters.

See MPCA’s Notice and links to more information here.

Please free to add your own perspectives to the comment letter below. WaterLegacy will make sure that your comment here is also submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The OAH will also accept your more detailed comments here.