Our response to Gov. Branstad’s State of State

Iowa CCI Action Fund blasts Governor Branstad’s “false choices” proposals in State of State speech

Governor seeks to divide Iowans rather than lead with bold People & Planet First Proposals

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund (CCI Action) today blasted Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) for laying out a false choices narrative to Iowans when it comes to funding Education Infrastructure and water quality efforts.

“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, and is simply another attempt from Branstad to divide Iowans rather than invest in priorities we all share.”

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);
  • Requiring Manure Management Plans for medium feedlots (500 Animal Units (AU) – 999AU);
  • Striking Iowa’s ‘no more stringent than’ law because it has become a significant barrier to clean water progress
  • 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 tried to justify his false choice narrative highlighting that he believes the clean water crisis pits Des Moines against rural areas of the state.

“Branstad’s second false choice is to divide rural and urban.” added Mason. “he forgets that over 60 communities across Iowa – both rural and urban – have faced no drink orders due to nitrate pollution in the last year. This is not an urban vs. rural issue – it is an issue all Iowans agree on: we need Clean Water now.”

Branstad’s false choices point 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.

“Corporate Ag and the business community have floated a number of ideas to clean up Iowa’s water crisis, including increasing the sales tax by 3/8 of a cent. The IWILL Fund was supportede by voters as a way to invest in natural resources, not continue to underwrite big ag’s profits.” 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 spend this legislative session pushing policies that put People and Planet first, push back on Branstad’s failed false choices, and seek to change business as usual politics at the Iowa Statehouse.

 

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