ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A rally in support of protections for wild rice will greet Gov. Mark Dayton when he travels to northern Minnesota for the fishing opener.

The Legislature is considering measures that would relax the state’s restrictions on discharges of sulfates into wild rice waters.

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The change is being sought by supporters of copper-nickel mining in northeastern Minnesota, as well as wastewater treatment plant operators. Environmental groups are fighting any change. So are Ojibwe bands that consider wild rice sacred and integral to their culture.

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Robert Shimek, of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, tells Minnesota Public Radio the current stringent standard has worked well over the years. He says proposed laboratory studies on how high the sulfate limit could be raised may not duplicate what actually goes on in nature.

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