ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule for reducing nitrate levels in groundwater in farm country is formally on hold at least until next year.

The GOP-led House and Senate agriculture committees published notices in the State Register on Monday officially invoking their authority to prohibit adoption of the rule until after next year’s legislative session, which is due to adjourn May 20, 2019.

That means key decisions on whether to proceed with the proposed nitrate restrictions will be up to the next governor’s administration.

The proposal from the administration of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton would create voluntary and mandatory practices to limit seepage of nitrates from farm fertilizer into groundwater. Excessive nitrate levels can be toxic, especially to babies, and are an expensive problem to solve for some communities.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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