The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) wants to avoid enforcing water quality standards that control pollution from mines, coal plants, and other polluters! MPCA has proposed rules to deregulate Minnesota mining pollution. What would MPCA’s rules do?
- Remove Minnesota’s numeric standards limiting typical mining pollutants, including chlorides, hardness, bicarbonates, conductivity, and salinity.
- Weaken Minnesota water quality standards that prevent excessive sulfate.
- Provide no limits on discharge based on protecting Minnesota waters. Protect water quality only for large downstream appropriators of water (using a minimum of 1 million gallons per year or 10,000 gallons per day).
- Narrow the protection of wildlife to “watering,” treating wildlife like livestock and removing wetlands from wildlife use.
What harms would MPCA’s proposed Mining Pollution Deregulation rules cause?
- High quality waters in the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior watersheds would be contaminated by taconite and copper-nickel mining pollution.
- Salts and conductivity would kill aquatic insects, fish, and amphibians; destroy sensitive ecosystems; and jeopardize the survival of state species of concern.
- High levels of sulfate would release mercury and phosphorus from lake sediments, thus increasing mercury contamination of fish and causing algae blooms in what are now clear lakes.
- Sustainable farms that don’t require appropriation permits would not be protected from water salty enough to destroy soil health and impair sensitive crops.
- Fishing, recreation, tourism, exercise of Treaty rights, sustainable farming, and the developing brains of infants and children would all be harmed.
- An administrative law judge will recommend approval or rejection of MPCA’s Mining Pollution Deregulation rules. The proposed rules and other documents are on MPCA’s website.
ACT NOW: COMMENT ON THE OAH WEBSITE
The Administrative Law Judge is accepting personalized comments here. The Discussion number is 37102, and the OAH docket number is 8-9003-37102. Please click on the discussion and then scroll down to “View Topic” to submit your statement or personal written comments. Detailed instructions for attaching a file to your comment can be found here. Deadline to submit is Feb. 24 at 4:30pm. Please e-mail Waverly@waterlegacy.org for help with the comment submission process.