Know your Factory Farm Five: Nancy Couser

Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commissioner Nancy Couser

Five out of the nine Iowa Environmental Protection Commissioners own, or have a direct financial interest, in factory farms. Despite this blatant conflict of interest, they sit on the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).

The EPC is deciding whether or not to strengthen the Clean Water Act rule on August 19. Strengthening the rule means addressing the factory farm manure pollution that has contributed to Iowa’s 630 polluted waterways. Here’s a closer look at one of those meant to protect our environment, and why she should absolutely recuse herself from a vote.

Nancy Couser

Appointed to the EPC by Governor Branstad on May 1, 2011

  • She runs a 5,200-head factory farm, with 2,500 in a feedlot and 2,700 in confinement, with her husband Bill.
  • Bill Couser, her husband, is a major player in the Iowa corporate ag community. He was previously the Chairman of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, a former President of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Lincolnway Energy, LLC, an ethanol plant near Nevada, since the factory’s founding. Lincolnway Energy’s PAC gives $1,000.00 to Governor Branstad’s campaign committee every two years. Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has given almost $10,000 to Branstad’s last two re-election efforts.
  • Although the Cousers have won a number of industry “environmental stewardship” awards (including being featured in Time’s 2006 “100 people who made a difference” list), the most recent expansion of their cattle factory farm resulted in widespread community opposition. Further, they have received a number of Notices of Violation from the Department of Natural Resources, including a full-fledged Administrative Order.

Nancy Couser needs to hear from more Iowans like you that we want strong rules that protect our water.





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