Ernst and Branstad: The #DirtyWaterDuo

Ernst and Branstad:  The Dirty Water Duo 


While Branstad vetoes REAP funding and packs environmental boards with industry insiders and big money donors, Ernst advocates abolishing the EPA and the Clean Water Act


Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund members have labeled Governor Terry Branstad and GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Joni Ernst “the Dirty Water Duo” and say everyday Iowans need to know that the GOP’s premier statewide candidates – who campaigned together across Iowa last week – both vigorously oppose stronger and more effective oversight of the corporate ag polluters who are destroying Iowa’s water quality.

“Iowans need to know that Terry Branstad and Joni Ernst are a dirty water duo who care more about factory farm profits than they do about clean water for all Iowans to drink, fish, and swim in,” said Barb Kalbach, a fourth-generation family farmer from Dexter and the board president of the Iowa CCI Action Fund.

Despite more than 630 polluted waterways, Iowa GOP’s premiere statewide candidates refuse to even acknowledge Iowa has a water quality problem, and continue to insist that state-based voluntary solutions work better than strong and effective public oversight, despite all evidence to the contrary.

During a primary debate May 1, Ernst said if elected she would “shut down the federal EPA,” and later said the Clean Water Act was one of the most damaging laws for businesses at a May 29 debate.  National media analysts from the Daily Beast to the New York Times have remarked that the comments may hurt Ernst in November’s general election, with a Times columnist going so far as to call Ernst a “dirty water fighter”.

Governor Branstad, in turn, recently vetoed millions of dollars in REAP funding, or Resource Enhancement And Protection, and has appointed factory farm industry insiders to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and its citizen oversight board, the Environmental Protection Commission.

Branstad has also played a key role in weakening Clean Water Act enforcement by vigorously advocating on behalf of the industry during work plan and rulemaking negotiations, at times even guaranteeing corporate ag lobbyists a seat at the table while state and federal hash out a deal.

Thousands of factory farms housing millions of hogs, chickens, and cattle across Iowa produce billions of gallons of toxic manure every year, and there is no longer any question that manure spills, tile lines, and heavy rains funnel much of it into rivers, lakes, and streams.

The booming factory farm industry also contributes to more and more acres of farmland being taken out of conservation and into active crop production in order to feed more and more animals produced in confinement, rather than raised on pasture, which in turn requires even more fertilizer and other inputs, ultimately fueling even more water pollution, whether from manure or anhydrous ammonia.

Both rural and urban Iowans are negatively impacted by factory farm pollution.  Hundreds of rural Iowans fight new construction in their country communities every year and are concerned about their air and water quality, property values, country roads, tax base, and quality of life.  Urban ratepayers in Central Iowa have started to pay more because Des Moines Water Works struggles at times to clean up pollution coming downstream into the state’s capitol city.  Both urban and rural Iowans want to drink, fish, and swim in clean water.

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