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Applications open for wild rice task force

ST. PAUL--Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, who has led the effort to replace the state's sulfate standard to protect Minnesota's state grain wild rice, is asking citizens to join in the process.

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Harvested wild rice. Forum News Service file photo.

ST. PAUL-Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, who has led the effort to replace the state's sulfate standard to protect Minnesota's state grain wild rice, is asking citizens to join in the process.

While the governor vetoed two bills Lueck wrote to update the 45-year-old water quality sulfate standard that is outdated and has never been implemented, the governor has issued an executive order establishing a Governor's Task Force on Wild Rice. The application process for appointment to the task force is now underway. Lueck encourages qualified individuals to apply.

"Wild rice is native to most of Minnesota, thus this issue has a far-ranging impact on our region, as well as the rest of Minnesota," Lueck stated in a news release. "For over a decade, the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) has been solely focused, yet has been unsuccessful in replacing the outdated sulfate standard. It's time we had outside eyes examine what this agency is doing and take a more compressive approach to protecting, enhancing and where appropriate restoring natural wild rice."

Here is a list of vacancies on the panel:

• Electric utility representative, 1 seat.

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• Independent scientists with expertise in wild rice research and plant-based aquatic toxicity, 2 seats.

• Labor representative (statewide labor organization), 1 seat.

• Mining industry-Ferrous mining representative, 1 seat.

• Mining industry-Non-ferrous mining representative, 1 seat.

• Minnesota Chippewa tribe representative, 1 seat.

• Minnesota Indian Affairs Council representative, 1 seat.

• Municipal wastewater discharger representative, 1 seat.

• Nongovernmental environmental organization representatives, 2 seats.

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• Non-native wild rice harvester, 1 seat.

Applications may be submitted online at https://commissionsandappointments.sos.state.mn.us . Paper applications may be emailed to open.appointments@state.mn.us or by mailing Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, 180 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul, MN, 55155.

Contact William Seuffert by calling 651-757-2766 or emailing will.seuffert@state.mn.us for more information. The first application review date is June 22 and the task force is set to sunset April 7, 2019.

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