Compared to zero in the last three years, members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement are worried about what this means for Iowa’s water crisis

Des Moines, IA – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued 110 “emergency exemptions” allowing factory farms to dump untreated liquid manure and raw feces onto snow covered ground over the past three months. That compares to zero in each of the last years and only 15 in 2014. The winter manure ban is in place because spreading manure on snow covered or frozen ground leads to hog manure contaminating Iowa’s waterways.

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) are worried about what this means for Iowa’s already polluted water as the spring thaw,heavy rainfall, and floods hit the state.

“When the snow melts, it drains off into our waterways, and so does everything that was spread on top of it. That includes the untreated liquid manure from these corporate-owned hogs,” said Barb Kalbach, retired nurse, 4th generation family farmer, and Iowa CCI member. “We already have 750 impaired waterways, and this is not going to help make it better.”

According to the DNR, weather conditions have left factory farm manure pits nearly full. The record number of “emergency” exemptions mean that Iowa’s already polluted water is more susceptible to pollution from factory farm manure.

“Last summer my family and I tried to go swimming at a public beach, but when we arrived there was a sign posted saying the water was too polluted to swim in. With 110 “emergency exemptions” it doesn’t look like water quality is going to improve this next summer,” said Kristyn Arnold, an Iowa CCI member, “The only emergency is the impact that factory farm and industrial agriculture pollution is having on our water in Iowa.”

Currently the state of Iowa is using the nutrient reduction strategy to combat pollution from factory farms and industrial agriculture. The program uses public dollars and is voluntary, meaning that corporate Ag can decide if and how much they would like to participate in the clean up of Iowa’s water ways.

“The factory farm industry claims to be a 112 billion dollar industry. They have the money, they made the mess, and they should be responsible for cleaning it up,” said Brenda Brink, a retired dietitian and Iowa CCI member, “Why are we using public dollars to clean up a mess these giant corporations made?”

The Road to a Green New Deal Tour, a star-studded 9-city tour across the US talking about climate change and good jobs, is coming to Des Moines, IA on Monday, April 22, 2019.

At this event, hundreds of attendees will be treated to a multimedia experience and an emotional journey through the pain of the climate crisis and pollution to the hope of the Green New Deal. The stop in Des Moines will highlight, among other issues, how a better farm and food system can address climate change. The tour will also include over 200 town hall events in churches, classrooms, and union halls across the country.

Speakers for the Des Moines, IA tour stop include:

  • Leading climate luminaries Bill McKibben & Naomi Klein live by video;
  • Rural community leaders Kim Stephens from Nevada, IA & Nick Schutt from Alden, IA;
  • Native & Indigenous leaders Lakasha Yooxot Likipt, Touches Lightning – an enrolled Cayuse member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation & Trisha Etringer, Cax-Sep-Gu-Wiga, Eagle-That-Returns – of the Ho-Chunk Nation;
  • Youth leaders Hannah Dorf from Grinnell College & Shantal Hernandez from Ankeny High School; and
  • Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement Varshini Prakash.

On Monday April 22nd, hundreds of Iowans will gather in Des Moines to listen to stories of loss to climate change and hope that can be found in the Green New Deal. The truth is that most Americans want changes such as clean air and water, jobs in renewable energy, and preparing our infrastructure for the changing planet. As part of a greater American tour, this event in Des Moines will inspire and equip attendees to truly be the change that is necessary to move the Green New Deal forward.

WHAT: A multimedia event featuring political and community leaders discussing the promise of the Green New Deal for Iowa and the Heartland

WHEN: Monday, April 22nd at program at 7:00 pm CT, doors at 6:15 pm

WHERE: Sheslow Auditorium, 2507 University Ave. Des Moines, IA 50311. Tickets are $5 and available at sunrisemovement.org/tour.

WHO: This event is organized by Sunrise Movement and Iowa CCI. We expect hundreds of Iowans to attend to learn more about the Green New Deal and get the tools and resources they need to pressure their policymakers to get behind it.

WHY: In 2018, young people put the Green New Deal on the national agenda and permanently changed the conversation on climate policy in this country. The movement backing the Green New Deal has exploded since. The proposal has the backing of 91 members of the House, 13 Senators, as well as the support of 14 of 19 of the declared 2020 presidential candidates. A recent poll from Business Insider showed 66% of Americans say that each and every component of the plan was somewhat, very, or extremely important. And in Iowa,polling shows 91% of caucus-goers support the Green New Deal.

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Rep. Dean Fisher from House District 72 is single-handedly blocking our moratorium bill, H.F. 203. That’s not right!

Thousand of Iowans are calling for a moratorium and 25 counties have passed resolutions calling for a moratorium, local control, or stronger permitting standards. We know people want change.

Still, Fisher is refusing to assign this bill a sub-committee.A sub-committee would allow for debate, discussion and public input.

Iowans deserve to see this bill discussed and a chance to weigh in. If Fisher does not assign the bill to a sub-committee it will die next Friday, March 8.

Give Rep. Fisher a call at (888) 724-8946!

yellow image box with an icon of a sunrise and black text that says, "GREEN NEW DEAL NOW 
STEP UP OR STEP ASIDE"

Here’s the deal. The Green New Deal that introduced in Congress this month was only a resolution. It is not a full bill with detailed policies.

That’s the beautiful part. This resolution is a starting point. And that’s why we’re so excited about it. 

This is our chance to fight for the climate solutions we need to save the planet and save our communities.

Like all things with the potential to undermine corporate power, Republicans – and even some Democrats – are spreading misinformation to derail one of the most incredible organizing opportunities we’ve seen in our lifetime.

Take action now: join our letter campaign. Write Senator Ernst and your U.S. Representative telling them that you support the Green New Deal and they should, too.

This package is a chance to push for climate solutions we need – for us, our kids and our grandkids. Naomi Klein has a great new piece out in The Intercept called “The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn in the Green New Deal“. It’s about the GND, its relationship to the New Deal, and why we need to use it to grow the power of our movements, now. 

The article recalls that back in October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark reportinforming us that global emissions need to be slashed in half in less than 12 years, or the planet faces dire consequences. 

That is why we have to start organizing now. Our current president is a climate change denier, but we may have a new administration ready to jump into action in January 2021.

If so, meeting the IPCC’s targets may be technically possible, but will be extraordinarily difficult.Losing another four years to a Republican or a corporate Democrat and starting to act on climate in 2026 would simply be a joke. 

That’s why it is so urgent to use the Green New Deal framework as a potent tool with the power to unite and dramatically expand movements. 

But in Iowa, none of our members of Congress have spoken out in support of the Green New Deal (and Joni Ernst is in deep denialabout climate change’s coming impact on our state.) 

We’ve got to start organizing. Today we’re asking you to join the growing call – from the youth to the grandparents – demanding our elected officials support the Green New Deal resolution. 

Take action now: join our letter campaign. Write Senator Ernst and your U.S. Representative telling them that you support the Green New Deal and they should, too.

Local, State and National Groups Unite in Support of Legislation Critical to Protecting Iowans from Factory Farm Pollution

DES MOINES, IA—Today, a coalition of 70 environmental, community and agricultural organizations called on Iowa’s General Assembly to advance a legislative proposal for a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in the state. View the full sign onletter here. 

Currently, Iowa is home to over 10,000 factory farms, which produce more than 22 billion gallons of manure per year. The pollution generated by industrial animal operations has resulted in widespread water contamination and diminished quality of life throughout the state.

“Factory farms are expanding in Iowa at an alarming rate,” said Emma Schmit, Food & Water Watch’s Iowa Organizer. “We can no longer sit back and allow our water, our communities, and our independent family farms to be destroyed by factory farms. Iowa’s General Assembly must act now to address these concerns by enacting a moratorium on new and expanded factory farms.”  

A harsh, unhealthy and environmentally risky form of food production, factory farming employs an unsustainable method of raising food animals that packs together large numbers of animals into confined spaces. Among the destructive results is the production of massive amounts of animal waste, creating risks to the local environment, natural resource contamination, and the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and public health hazards, including respiratory infections, asthma, skin rashes, nausea, and headaches.  

“It’s clear to Iowans that the factory farm industry is out of control. Just last year, they added over 400 new facilities, with local communities having no say over the matter,” said Barb Kalbach of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. “With nearly 25% of counties calling for stricter regulations on factory farms, and thousands of Iowans suffering daily from poor water quality, toxic air emissions, and a monopolized food industry the legislature must take action. The clock is ticking for the future of our state.”

A moratorium will allow legislators and regulators a chance to assess the public health, economic and societal impacts of factory farming. An unchecked rapid expansion of the industry is doing untold damage to our environment, our food, and our health. We must take meaningful action to fully understand the consequences of an industrial agriculture system.

On February 21st, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Food & Water Watch, and Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture members from across Iowa will be gathering at the State Capitol to pressure legislators to take bold action on factory farms.

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Last December, Senators Grassley and Ernst had a chance to stand against predatory payday lenders and stand with hardworking Iowans. Instead, Grassley and Ernst voted to confirm Kathy Kraninger to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal regulator charged with policing Wall Street and predatory lenders.

After just two months on the job Kraninger is proposing to gut consumer protections against payday lending which Richard Cordray’s CFPB spent 5 years working to craft. Kraninger wants to eliminate a requirement that payday lenders confirm that a borrower can repay a loan while managing other expenses as well.  The CFPB’s own research found that 80 percent of payday loans are taken out to pay back earlier payday loans.

She isn’t doing this because they are popular, as payday lenders are despised by Democratic and Republican voters alike. Payday lending costs Iowans millions of dollars per year, and the average payday loan-consumer in Iowa has taken out 20 or more, usually just to pay back their earlier debts.

If there was ever a time for Grassley and Ernst to stand up for working Iowans, it was in December when considering who would head the CFPB. And now that Kraninger is pushing to let payday lenders operate like it’s the Wild West, Grassley and Ernst could speak out against the proposal.

But so far not a peep. Thankfully we have a chance to weigh in, as the CFPB has a comment period before they make a final decision. Please submit a comment. And then, let Grassley and Ernst know that they missed a chance to stand with everyday Iowans by confirming someone who would rather protect predatory loan sharks than their victims.