WaterLegacy Victory Protects Wild Rice Sulfate Standard in Court of Appeals
WaterLegacy filed a Brief to the Court of Appeals asking the Court of Appeals to affirm the decision of the district court and to dismiss the claims filed by the Chamber on behalf of the mining industry. Oral argument took place on October 10, 2012.
WaterLegacy Counsel explained, “"Little by little, I think we're reclaiming the idea that Minnesota can protect wild rice and other natural resources through regulation, and that's an important thing.” Read MPR- Minn. Court Affirms Wild Rice Protection.
Mineral Leases Conflict with Property Rights & Natural Resources
The pressure for prospecting and exploitation of minerals on both U. S. Forest Service and private property continues unabated.
- In June 2012, the Minnesota State Executive Council approved minerals leases for mining companies beneath both public lands and private homes and businesses. WaterLegacy agrees with landowners that the right of mining companies to condemn private lands is a serious threat to Minnesota’s economy that should be challenged. See Star Tribune Commentary (June 18, 2012).
- In the summer of 2012, the Minnesota DNR announced its 33rd sale of mineral leases in portions of Aitkin, Lake and St. Louis Counties. For the first time in Minnesota history, more than 170 citizens petitioned the DNR to prepare a simple Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) to analyze impacts of mineral leases on trout streams, wetlands, sensitive natural areas, and residential drinking wells before putting mineral leases up for sale. The DNR went ahead with the auction of leases on October 24, 2012 and then decided on November 8, 2012 that no EAW would be provided. See MDNR Denial of Citizen Petition.
- The citizens, led by named plaintiff Matt Tyler, appealed the DNR’s denial of the EAW to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. They then successfully petitioned the Executive Council to delay approval of the mineral leases until the Court of Appeals has a chance to rule on whether the citizen petition for environmental review should have been granted. See Citizens Petition for Environmental Review Before Mineral Lease Sales for more information.