Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement has scheduled a tour of community meetings across the state to gather input from Iowans on how to strengthen the Master Matrix. The first stop on the tour was in Charles City on March 2. Twenty community members from Floyd, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, and Howard counties attended the meeting to brainstorm how the Master Matrix could better protect their communities and environment from factory farm pollution.

The Master Matrix is one of the few tools counties and citizens have to weigh in on factory farm construction. However, it is far from perfect and doesn’t go far enough in protecting Iowans or the environment from factory farm pollution. Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to learn more and discuss the Master Matrix, as well as provide input on how it should change.

Counties across the state are beginning to take a stand on factory farms. In January, Allamakee and Winneshiek counties passed resolutions calling for a suspension on factory farm construction until the Legislature fixed the Master Matrix. Floyd County passed a similar resolution that called for changes to the Master Matrix. In late 2016, Webster and Pocahontas counties wrote letters to legislators and the Iowa DNR calling for a moratorium and more local control. This shows growing momentum for local control and a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in Iowa.

Questions? Contact Erica at EricaB@iowacci.org. And check out our calendar to RSVP to these upcoming meetings!

Master Matrix Community Meetings Tour

Wednesday, March 15 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Hotel Greenfield
110 E Iowa St, Greenfield, IA
RSVP

Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Lohrville Public Library
609 2nd Ave, Lohrville, IA
RSVP

Thursday, March 30 at 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Ames Public Library, PEO Room
515 Douglas Ave, Ames, IA
RSVP

Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Solon Public Library
320 W Main St, Solon, IA
RSVP

Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 to 11:00 AM
Le Mars Public Library
46 1st St SW, Le Mars, IA
RSVP

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

February 20, 2017

Today, members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) spoke at the Des Moines City Council meeting to oppose HF 316, a bill introduced last week that would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board of directors and distribute the utility’s assets and power to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW lawsuit. Members blasted council members for supporting the bill behind closed doors without constituents’ knowledge.

“I feel betrayed. The city council shut us out of the process. Clearly, they didn’t want us to know that they’re caving to Big Ag,” said Barb Lang, a CCI member from Des Moines. “It seems to me that Councilperson Hensley is bending over backwards for corporate ag and putting her political aspirations ahead of the people of Des Moines. Whose side is she on?”

At the meeting, members demanded that each councilor publicly reveal if they support or oppose HF 316. They called on the council to immediately withdraw their support of the bill.

Des Moines Water Works is an independently operated public utility. If passed, the bill would transfer voting power and $250 million in assets away from the City of Des Moines to surrounding suburban customers. HF 316 was introduced in the House Agriculture Committee by Representative Jarad Klein – a republican from Keota who has taken over $20,000 from corporate ag interest groups in recent years.

“This is nothing short of a power grab by the Farm Bureau and corporate ag,” said Jeanne Schwendinger, a CCI member from Ankeny. “This is an attempt to silence Bill Stowe and the board and stop any meaningful change to clean water regulations, plain and simple. Any other explanation is just putting lipstick on a pig.”

“Once again, we’re seeing the Republican legislature trying to take away local control,” said Larry Ginter, a CCI member from Rhodes. “What right do they have to taking away anyone’s right to clean water?”

The DMWW lawsuit is currently scheduled for mid-June this year in Sioux City. The outcome will determine whether or not drainage districts should be considered point sources under the Clean Water Act. In 2015, DMWW ran its nitrate removal facility for a record-breaking 177 days, costing millions of dollars.

 

TAKE ACTION: 

ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move

RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette. 

What: Emergency CCI Clean Water organizing meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW President Graham Gillette
When: Thursday, February 23 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Where: Iowa CCI Headquarters, 2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
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Legislators and Des Moines City Council members can say whatever they want – but we know HF 484 (formerly HF 316) is a corporate power grab aimed to punish the Des Moines Water Works for their lawsuit against Big Ag and their mess. 

Who’s directly behind this bill?

  • This bill was introduced by Rep. Jerad Klein (R – Washington County). Klein has taken over $20,000 from Big Ag donors in recent years. Locals tell us Klein owns multiple factory farms in the Keota area, though it’s hard to track as they are registered under multiple names and LLC.

Why was this bill introduced in the House Ag Committee and not in Local Government?

  • This shows the power and influence of the Farm Bureau to move on bills quickly that directly impact their bottom line. A better question is why is the State Legislature taking up this local matter? Again – they are specifically targeting Des Moines Water Works lawsuit that challenges corporate ag’s bottom line and status quo.

Does HF 484 (formerly HF 316) change all water utilities in the state?

  • Nope! This bill has a clear bias at targeting the Des Moines Water Works, which serves over 500,000 people and would affect 1/6 of all Iowans. Again, it’s clearly a corporate power grab aimed to let Big Ag off the hook for the mess they’ve created.

Who else supports HF 484? (formerly HF 316) 

  • Right now, four lobbyists for the City of Des Moines, who take direction from the Des Moines City Council, are registered in support of this bill.  Shame on the City Council members that support this Farm Bureau power grab over their own constituents! There has never been a public council vote or discussion on this issue.
  • These lobbyists, hired by the city of Des Moines, also represent the Iowa Drainage District Association. The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit directly  ties in with the drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun, and Sac counties where this lawsuit stemmed from.

HF 484 is another anti-local control, anti-local democracy measure designed to silence fearless truth-tellers like DMWW CEO Bill Stowe, the Des Moines Moines Water Works Board, and quell the growing citizen demand to crack down on corporate ag and factory farm polluters.

They are trying to shut down a truly meaningful attempt to hold corporate ag accountable under the Clean Water Act.

Take Action to say clean water not corporate water!

Join the Clean Water Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

LIKE & SHARE for a clean water Iowa:

A a new Statehouse bill (HF 316) would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board and distribute the utility’s assets to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW’s lawsuit.

But here’s the kicker: We’ve heard Des Moines City Council supports the bill and even helped draft it. They turned their backs on their own constituents and caved to corporate ag interests.

TAKE ACTION: 

  • ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move
  • RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette. 

HF 316 is another anti-local control, anti-local democracy measure designed to silence fearless truth-tellers like Bill Stowe and quell the growing citizen demand to crack down on corporate ag and factory farm polluters.

We’ve seen what happens to our water when elected officials side with corporate interests instead of everyday people — it looks like Flint, Michigan.

But CCI members aren’t ones to stand by and just let things happen. RSVP to join us here.

What:     Emergency CCI Clean Water organizing meeting with

                  Bill Stowe and DMWW President Graham Gillette

When:    Thursday, February 23 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Where:   Iowa CCI Headquarters, 2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines

 

Join us Thursday to learn more – RSVP here.

 

This bill is an obvious Farm Bureau power grab.  We’re hearing lots of excuses about why we should compromise and support this bill.  Here’s how you can respond.

Don’t Dismantle the Des Moines Water Works Talking Points

 About the bill, HF 316:

  • HF 316 would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board and distribute the utility’s assets and power to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW’s lawsuit.
  • HF 316 is another anti-local control, anti-local democracy measure designed to silence fearless truth-tellers like Bill Stowe and quell the growing citizen demand to crack down on corporate ag and factory farm polluters.
  • This bill is purely a retribution bill. They are trying to shut down a meaningful attempt to hold corporate ag polluters accountable under the Clean Water Act.
  • A corporate ag shill, Rep Jarad Klein from Keota (not DES MOINES), introduced this bill and is trying to call the shots for Des Moines residents. Klein has taken over $20,000 from corporate ag groups in recent years.
  • Four lobbyists, hired by the city of Des Moines, also represent the Iowa Drainage District Association. The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit directly  ties in with the drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun, and Sac counties where this lawsuit stemmed from.

 

Des Moines City Council demands and talking points:

  • 4 members of the Des Moines City Council support the bill. Shame on City Council members that support this Farm Bureau power grab over their own constituents. There has never been a public vote on this issue.
  • We’ve heard Des Moines’s own City Councilor Christine Hensley – on the board of Farm Bureau’s front group “Partnership for Clean Water” – is colluding with Big Ag to push and draft this bill. That ain’t right.
  • Withdraw your support.  We want to know which of you are siding with corporate ag.

 

Clean Water talking points:

  • Iowa has 754 impaired waterways in 2014 – up 15% from 2012. And, Des Moines Water Works had to run it denitrification machine 177 days in 2015.
  • Iowa has over 9,000 factory farms that produce 22 billion gallons of manure.
  • We need mandatory regulations, not voluntary. The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit seeks mandatory regulations through the Clean Water Act.
  • We’ve seen what happens to our water when elected officials side with corporate interests instead of everyday people — it looks like Flint, Michigan.

Take Action

  • ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move
  • RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette.

Join the Clean Water Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

LIKE & SHARE for a clean water Iowa: 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

This morning, the Floyd County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that petitions the Governor and Iowa Legislature to fix the failings of the Master Matrix. Mark Kuhn, a former Iowa state representative who helped develop the Master Matrix, introduced the resolution.

“The Master Matrix is a joke,” said Marilyn Jorgensen of Rudd and an Iowa CCI member. “It has done nothing to really protect the environment or the community. It’s just smoke and mirrors to make it look like the industry is doing its job. In reality, factory farms are running roughshod over our neighbors, our water, and our air.”

This makes Floyd the third county in Iowa to pass such a resolution. Allamakee and Winneshiek counties also passed similar resolutions recently calling for not only changes to the Master Matrix, but also a suspension on factory farm construction. Late last year, both Webster and Pocahontas counties wrote letters to legislators and the DNR calling for a moratorium on factory farms and changes to the Master Matrix. In addition, Johnson County wrote a letter to legislators and the DNR calling for more local control.

“This industry is out of control, and people across the state are fed up,” said Erica Blair, an organizer for Iowa CCI. “Changing the Master Matrix is a good step toward cleaning up Iowa’s water, but that alone won’t get us there. We need mandatory, not voluntary, regulations. And Big Ag, not taxpayers, should pay to clean up their own mess.”

At the end of this month, Iowa CCI will begin a series of community meetings across the state to hear what changes Iowans want to be made to the Master Matrix.

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight. !Hablamos español!
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This morning, two boards of supervisors in north central Iowa voted to recommend denial of two huge factory farm applications.

In Mitchell County, supervisors voted 2-1 to deny an application for a 5,000-head Iowa Select contracted factory farm in Lincoln Township. In Cerro Gordo County, supervisors voted unanimously to deny an application of an existing factory farm in Union Township to expand from 1,864 total head to 9,154 total head. After community input and review, both boards deducted points from the Master Matrix and gave the applicants a failing grade.

“I’m happy with the decision my supervisors made today,” said Penney Morse, a resident of Mitchell County and a CCI member. “We need more leaders standing up to this industry that destroys our water, our air, and our quality of life.”

These factory farm denials add to a growing list of supervisors across Iowa who are taking a stand against factory farms in their communities. In recent months, Webster County and Pocahontas County wrote letters to legislators and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources calling for a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms. Cerro Gordo County also passed a resolution in January to send notification to neighbors within a one-mile radius of proposed factory farms.

“The Master Matrix is a flawed system. Where else can you score fifty percent and get a passing grade?” said Tom Willett of Mason City and a CCI member who also attended the meeting. “It doesn’t provide adequate protections for community members or the environment. What we really need is true local control so that the supervisors and the public get to decide what developments go into their community.”

Following the approval of the Prestage Farms mega-slaughterhouse in Wright County, north central Iowa has seen an influx of factory farm applications. The Globe Gazette reported in October 2016 that factory farm applications to the DNR field office in Mason City could triple by the end of 2016. This influx of applications is expected to continue growing, in spite of overwhelming community opposition and uncertain hog markets.

“The reason we fought so hard to keep Prestage out of Mason City was because we knew it would mean more factory farm pollution,” said Jan Wann of Mason City and a CCI member. “Now that it’s going to Wright County, we’re going to have to remain vigilant and do everything we can to stop this expansion. We’re need a moratorium on factory farms.”

 

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight. !Hablamos español!
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.