“Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials warned Tuesday that a bipartisan push at the Capitol to ease state water pollution standards could lead the federal government to assert control of water rules,” writes MPR News political reporter Tom Scheck.

In a bid to help U.S. Steel’s MinnTac plant in Mountain Iron, some lawmakers say they believe Minnesota’s sulfate standard designed to protect wild rice is too strict. They say mining companies, power companies and wastewater treatment plans would be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to meet the standards.

State Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, wants the MPCA to delay enforcing the standard until a scientific review is complete and the state identifies which lakes and streams grow wild rice.

“The industry and municipalities need predictability,” Melin said at a meeting of the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee. “And unfortunately when they don’t even know what’s a wild rice water, it’s really hard for them to plan their treatment facilities.”

Today’s Question: Who should set water pollution standards in Minnesota?

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“The United States is considering slowing its military exit from Afghanistan by keeping a larger-than-planned troop presence this year and next because the new Afghan government is proving to be a more reliable partner, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday,” writes the Associated Press’ Robert Burns.

Carter, on his first overseas trip since starting the Pentagon job Tuesday, also said the Obama administration is “rethinking” the counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, although he did not elaborate.

Today’s Question: Should the U.S. slow down the exit from Afghanistan?

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