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Lawmakers welcome plan; researcher doesn't March 23, 2015 

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Early reviews are positive from some key Iron Range lawmakers to a proposed site-specific approach from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for protecting waters where wild rice grows against sulfates.

Minnesota's current law sets the sulfate limit at a flat 10 milligrams per liter for all lakes and streams that support wild rice. The new plan, rather than relying on a single limit, proposes a complicated mathematical formula for calculating allowable sulfate levels for individual waters, based on how much iron and organic carbon are in the sediments.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, who represents an Iron Range district, says he's pleased that regulators backed away from the flat standard.

But a prominent wild rice researcher, John Pastor of the University of Minnesota Duluth, calls the MPCA's equation "scientifically indefensible."

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