News

Sulfate-impaired waters in northern MN as of Dec. 2021

Facing up to the wild rice sulfate problem

December 31, 2021: For a problem to be solved, it must first be named. Given that fact, 2021 marked progress for Minnesota's wild rice waters, many of which are tainted by sulfates. After a nudge from the federal EPA last March, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency started in...

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Chan Lan Chung in her lab

An idea whose time has come

November 16, 2021:  "People see industry and environmentalism as fighting each other," says environmental engineer Chan Lan Chun, "but we can help each other, too."  At Clearwater BioLogic, we agree—and freshwater sulfate reduction is a good example. As a solution for mining-im...

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Rainy River, aerial view

Setback for possible copper-nickel mining on the Iron Range

October 21, 2021:  In addition to iron and taconite, Northern Minnesota has deposits of copper, nickel, and other minerals in high demand. One such deposit is in the watershed bordering on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. At t...

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U.S. Steel’s legal losses may prompt a sulfate cleanup

June 30, 2021:  U.S. Steel is running out of legal options to avoid regulation of the sulfate pollution discharged at its Minntac facility in Mountain Iron, Minnesota.  U.S. Steel's latest legal loss may mark the end of its attempt to block the state's Pollution Control Agency...

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Canoe in wild ricing waters

EPA acts to protect Minnesota’s wild rice waters

April 14, 2021: “Biden's Environmental Protection Agency is emerging as a powerful ally in the years-long fight to get Minnesota to protect wild rice beds from sulfate pollution,” Stephanie Hemphill reported in Minnpost April 13, 2021. “Minnesota tribal and environmental groups...

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More Minnesota wild rice waters designated “impaired” by EPA

  March 30, 2021:  In its latest review of Minnesota’s polluted waters (March 2021), the Environmental Protection Agency  dictated that numerous sulfate-tainted lakes, rivers, and streams be added to the state’s “Impaired Waters” list. These waters do not meet the state’s...

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EPA letter holds MPCA accountable to water quality standards

March 26, 2021:  In a letter dated March 26, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency required the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to include sulfate-laden water bodies on its Impaired Waters list, citing “Minnesota’s federally-approved 10 mg/L standard” for wild rice areas. ...

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Wild rice waters in northern Minnesota

Minnesota tribes pressure governor to clean up mining pollution

January 20, 2021:  Tribal nations from across Minnesota are accusing state regulators of bad faith over their continuing failure to address pollution concerns, many stemming from lax regulation of the Iron Range’s taconite industry.  Read the article online or as a PDF.

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