Environmental Council Calls for Governor's Veto of “Irresponsible” Water Quality Legislation

posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 in Water and Land News

The Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) is disappointed by the passage of SF512 in the House today after only 40 minutes of debate. “Our legislature today chose a failed business-as-usual approach to cleaning up our polluted lakes and rivers”, according to IEC Executive Director Jennifer Terry. SF512 is a missed opportunity—lacking a collaborative approach to crafting legislation that protects the health and safety of Iowans. “The legislation passed today lacks a scientifically-proven watershed approach, lacks funding for adequate financial and human capital, lacks required water quality monitoring or assurance of public access to data about Iowa’s water quality,” Terry said.  

Citing SF512 as an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds that gives no assurance of actually cleaning up our lakes and streams, Terry is concerned that legislators will ‘check the water quality’ box and fail to revisit the shortcomings of this bill. “Where are the voices of environment, habitat, conservation, watershed planning, public health and sustainable agriculture in this process and in this bill?” Terry asked.

In 2017, a diverse group of entities opposed this legislation. Iowa Environmental Council member organizations such as Citizens for a Healthy Iowa, Des Moines Water Works, Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Rivers Revival, the Izaak Walton League and the Raccoon River Watershed Association all stood in opposition of SF512. “These groups did not just say “no,” but provided a wealth of resources and real solutions that would have resulted in effective policy.  Today, Iowa’s legislature chose to ignore these common-sense solutions and the voices of the Iowans who are represented by these groups,” Terry said.

Governor Reynolds announced that the water quality discussion is not over, however, Iowans don’t deserve to be kept waiting for effective policy. “Our coalition and many others are eager to sit at the table and discuss real solutions for addressing Iowa’s polluted waterways. We are asking Governor Reynolds to send a message to Iowans that she is not satisfied with the same old practices and policies that have resulted in our degraded lakes and streams.  We are calling on Governor Reynolds to veto this bill and send the legislators back to the drawing board”, Terry said.

Iowans have the right to clean, safe water. Iowans have a right to use their public beaches that are all too often polluted with bacteria and blue-green algae from nutrient pollution. “Our members want to see a bipartisan water quality bill that includes a scientific watershed approach, locally-led, science-based watershed planning, sustainable and adequate funding mechanisms and monitoring with public access to data, Terry said. “We call on the Governor to urge lawmakers to consider the voices of their fellow Iowans and take real, meaningful steps to cleaner water.”

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  5. nitrate pollution
  6. phosphorus pollution
  7. public health
  8. sustainable agriculture
  9. water quality