The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower-court ruling that upholds the state’s limit on sulfate in wild rice waters. In its decision, the appellate court said it lacked jurisdiction in the case but that it still affirmed a state district court decision in May to dismiss the case. The original lawsuit was filed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce in 2010 asking the court to throw out the state’s 1973 sulfate rule, claiming it was unfounded, based on poor science and overly restrictive, especially for the state’s mining industry. In May 2012, a district court judge ruled in favor of the state, the state sulfate limit of 10 mg/L was appropriate.
The 10 mg/L limit also was the subject of a 2011 state law that attempted to block enforcement of the state regulation. But the federal Environmental Protection Agency overruled state lawmakers, saying the sulfate limit had to be enforced under the federal Clean Water Act unless the state could prove it wasn’t necessary.