Branstad’s plan to take education money to fund the Nutrient Reduction Strategy kicks the can down the road

Branstad’s plan to take education money to fund the Nutrient Reduction Strategy kicks the can down the road

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund (CCI Action) say Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s plan to take money from education infrastructure to fund Iowa’s failing voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy is the wrong approach to clean up Iowa’s polluted waters.  Today, Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced an economic study of their bold and innovative SAVE for the Future Proposal currently making its way through the legislature.

“Governor Branstad would have us believe we can’t afford to fund both education and water quality efforts in Iowa.” said State Policy Organizing Director Adam Mason. “Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth, the money is there – it’s in corporate agriculture’s pockets.  We need tough regulations coupled with tough enforcement to change business as usual agriculture.  Anything else is kicking the can down the road.”

Take action and tell your State Legislators to vote no on Branstad’s plan to steal from education to fund the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

CCI Action members pointed to a number of water quality solutions that either are cost neutral, or force polluters to pay the cost of addressing Iowa’s water crisis, including:

  • Mandating DNR factory farm inspections that find problems and fix problems
  • Issuing tougher fines and penalties for polluters
  • Issuing Clean Water Act permits to all factory farms in Iowa
  • Increasing MMP filing fees to fully fund DNR implementation of the Clean Water Act workplan (inspections);
  • Strengthening Iowa’s manure on snow ban to be year round, include Highly Erodible Land (HEL), and water-saturated ground;
  • Forcing corporate ag interests to bear the burden of paying to clean up Iowa’s polluted waterways
  • A moratorium on new factory farm construction or expansion

Branstad’s plan points to continued reliance on Iowa’s failed voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This strategy has given us:

  • a record number of 725 impaired polluted waterways
  • a record number of Iowa beaches closings in 2015
  • a record 60+ communities that at some point in 2015 faced nitrate issues, most notably Des Moines, which was forced to run its side-stream nitrogen removal system for 177 days in 2015, surpassing its previous record of 106 days.
  • 67 manure spills in 2015

“Corporate Ag and the business community have trapped farmers in a cycle of debt and servitude.  They reap the profits while Iowans suffer with the impacts.” said Mason. “We’ll fight tooth and nail against any proposal that allows polluters to continue with business as usual while everyday Iowans foot the bill of cleaning up their mess.”

CCI Action members will be attending the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission meeting in Ankeny next Tuesday, March 15 to address Branstad’s proposal as well as other bad funding bills in front of the 2016 Legislature.

Take action and tell your State Legislators to vote no on Branstad’s plan to steal from education to fund the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

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