Water Legacy Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Scheduled for March 24
Saturday, March 12 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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WaterLegacy, a grassroots environmental organization based in Minnesota, has been granted the right to intervene as a party in a lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce (MCC) to prevent application to its mining industry members of the water quality standard protecting wild rice from sulfate pollution.
On December 17, 2010, the MCC filed a lawsuit to block the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) application of the water quality standard protecting wild rice by limiting sulfate pollution in wild rice waters. WaterLegacy served a notice of intervention/motion to intervene as a party to the lawsuit and a motion to dismiss the MCC's complaint on Jan. 6, 2011.
No party objected to WaterLegacy's intervention and WaterLegacy has been informed that Judge Gregg Johnson has signed an Order granting WaterLegacy the right to intervene and act as a party to the lawsuit.
"Now that WaterLegacy has been allowed the right to intervene as a party, we can defend the wild rice protection rule," says Paula Maccabee, attorney for WaterLegacy. "The water quality standard limiting sulfate pollution is critical to protect natural wild rice and the fish, mammals and waterfowl that depend on wild rice for food and habitat. Preserving MPCA authority to regulate this pollution in the face of mining industry attacks is vital to tribal and non-tribal ricers, anglers and hunters across Minnesota."
WaterLegacy argues in its motion to dismiss that the lawsuit filed by the polluting industries has no merit. Industry's claim that the wild rice protection rule should only apply to "irrigation" and not to natural stands of wild rice contradicts the plain language of the rule and its history. Industry's request that the court order the MPCA into rulemaking is moot, since the MPCA is already reviewing the wild rice protection rule under a three-year process required by federal regulations. Claims that the MPCA is applying the wild rice protection rule incorrectly do not belong in court since MPCA permitting and administrative review have not been completed.
WaterLegacy's motion to dismiss all of the claims in the CMCC's lawsuit will be heard Thursday, March 24 at 9:30 am in Room 1230 of the Ramsey County Courthouse, located at 15 W. Kellogg in St. Paul. The hearing is open to the public.

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