Judge allows challenge to wild rice protections

A judge is allowing a lawsuit to go forward that challenges Minnesota’s water quality standards for protecting wild rice.

Ramsey County District Judge Gregg Johnson on Thursday denied an environmental group’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. He says WaterLegacy failed to meet the legal thresholds required to get the case dismissed.

Chamber attorney Thaddeus Lightfoot says the ruling means their challenge can go forward.

The Chamber contends the state is improperly applying the wild rice rule, which limits sulfate discharges into waters where wild rice grows. It’s an issue as plans advance for copper mining in northeastern Minnesota.

WaterLegacy attorney Paula Maccabee says she’ll still have ample opportunities to argue the rule is valid and the state is appropriately enforcing it.