Law CLE - Standards, Water and Wild Rice: How Science Shapes Policy


How Science Shapes Policy in the Shadow of Sulfide Mining

Date: June 10, 2014, 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Sponsors: Hamline Environmental Law Society, Hamline Native American Law Student Association of Hamline University School of Law, and Hamline Law Alumni Board

Location: Moot Court Room, Hamline Law, 1536 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul

Available via live webcast


In the past several years a quiet war has been waged over standards governing the safe level of sulfate in Minnesota waters. Business leaders say the current sulfate standard is based on old data and could inhibit mining interests; environmentalists and Native American leaders fear increased sulfate levels will harm wild rice stands. Set against the backdrop of multi-million dollar sulfide mining projects that could affect the waters and wild rice stands of Northern Minnesota, the stage seems set for another round of the familiar business-versus-environment debate.

Meanwhile a handful of scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders have been working to formulate a revised standard. This CLE will provide substantive discussion on how science gets translated into policy in light of important competing interests.

Featured speakers:

Shannon Lotthammer, Manager, Water Assessment and Environmental Information Section, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, who oversaw the recent sulfate study. Shannon Manages the MPCA's standards development, effluent limit review and special studies activities, working closely with state and federal partners.

Dr. John Pastor was the study's lead scientist. John Pastor received his Ph.D. in Forestry and Soil Science in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and did post-doctoral research in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has been a Senior Research Associate at NRRI since 1984, Professor in Biology since 1996, and Director of Graduate Studies in Biology since 2000. His research and scholarly interests include the structure and function of northern ecosystems, applications of mathematics to ecological problems, and scientific illustration. He teaches Mathematical Ecology, Ecosystems Ecology, Animal Behavior, The Biological Practitioner, and Biological Illustration. Read more about Dr. Pastor’s study of the impact of sulfide mining on wild rice here:
Contact Information
Primary Contact
Jane Prince
Date & Location
Date: 6/10/2014
Time: 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Location: Hamline Law, Moot Court Room