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.

###

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.

The problems with our current healthcare system are clear: the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are designed to profit off our illnesses, the elderly, and the disabled.

This is wrong, it keeps us sick, and we demand a new system that is publicly-owned, equitably funded, and not-for-profit.

A solution: The Medicare for All Act of 2019.  This bill would replace the inadequate patchwork of private insurance, out-of-pocket payment, and public programs which currently subsidize our healthcare.

An expanded and improved Medicare program would ensure that every single person in our country has guaranteed access to comprehensive health services, including dental, vision, prescription drugs, reproductive health services, and long-term care.

Under this system, patients would not be saddled with out of pocket expenses, meaning the 80 million uninsured and underinsured Americans—who are disproportionately people of color, poor people, LGBTQ, elderly, or disabled—would no longer have to go without healthcare due to the burden of cost.

Put simply, improved Medicare for All would provide better, more comprehensive healthcare for less money than we are currently spending on healthcare.

It’s time for our elected officials to take action.

Call your Iowa Representative today and tell them to cosponsor the Medicare for All Act of 2019:

  • Congressional District 1: Abby Finkenauer

Washington, DC office: (202) 225-2911

  • Congressional District 2: Dave Loebsack

Washington, DC office: (202) 225-6576

Iowa City office: (319) 351-0789

  • Congressional District 3: Cindy Axne

Washington, DC office: (202) 225-5476

Council Bluffs office: (712) 890-3117

  • Congressional District 4: Steve King

Washington, DC office: (202) 225-4426

Ames office: (515) 232-2885

After you make your call, please let us know how it went or what you heard. Contact us here. http://iowacci.org/contact-us/

Read more:

The following post is from CCI Action member Jan Wann from Clear Lake, IA. Jan is currently in Texas joining the resistance to Trump’s border wall. Jan is no stranger to going where the fight calls her – having trekked to Standing Rock during the DAPL fight numerous times.

Jan sent along a GoFundMe link to contribute to Somi-Se’k Village. Give here.

January 24, 2019

Hey Hugh,

I am in Texas at a base camp for border resistance. Just thought I would share. You can share as you like. 

It’s nice and warm here: 66F yesterday, which makes for nice camping weather. We are basically in a backyard of several acres, 35 miles south of San Antonio. It is Juan’s place and there are three houses: Juan and his two sons and their families. I will call their tribe Somi’Sek but that is only a rough try at a new name for me. 

People come and go. One group went to the border yesterday just after I got here. I was asked to fill in here. The border is about 4 hours from here. I will go before I leave.

The plan is to put up three camps at the border to resist the bulldozers as they break ground for the wall right through a butterfly sanctuary and veteran cemetery. One camp is manned already.  

I am, as usual, the oldest. There is a cooking tent. There seems to be no cook so I will pick up that task this week. Joe Plough from CamosARising set up shower and laundry facilities. Very primitive. There are maybe 10 tents and a sweat lodge, port-a-potties, and sacred fire.

There are people from all over, Ohio, Virginia,  Houston, Oregon, and locals. People have many interesting stories. One woman works on death row with inmates, another travels the globe getting kids to make documentaries. Many of these people have been working with the caravan.  

There is a border resistance summit next weekend in Arizona. But there is so much more going on here: 3 LNG [liquid national gas?] plants going up on Sacred Ground near Brownsville; death row inmates; tribes unlisted; hurricane relief in Houston, UNICEF throwing out activists in Tijuana… 

Good water though! And donkeys, not factory farms! I will be here for another week, maybe. More later. 

January 26, 2019

I got to the base camp near Floresville TX on Monday Jan 21. I had tents and personal supplies to hand off and indeed within an hour they were loaded and off they went to the forward camp near the cemetery on the border. I stayed to help hold down the camp with Di and to organize the supply tent. There will be three forward camps. 

Tuesday 1/22: 

People come and go, preparing for the border resistance summit in Tucson. people are from around Texas, Oregon, Virginia, Ohio, Kansas, Nebraska,  North and South Dakota, and Iowa.

Tucker is putting together binders for work with undocumented persons along the border. These will be handed out to other camps to provide unity of data collection. Nate and Tucker have been in Tijuana working with the caravan.

Di is inventorying supplies and counted 87 blankets that were collected for handing out to people crossing at the border.

Hearing about the people convicted of felonies for leaving water for people crossing the dessert made this project take on a new urgency.

Heavy blowing rain and lightning has washed out my tent, so moved to my car.

Wed 1/23: 

Rain ended about 3AM and  the camp fire is nearly got down to coals. Not on my watch, logs are added.

Found my way to Floresville for propane, tent stakes, groceries, laundromat.

Texas in winter is gold and green, with small shrub oaks, cactus, palms, a few flowers and many birds that are new to me.

Di told me of her work with death row inmates and The Prison Show on the radio. 

Thurs 1/23: 

Drove Di to San Antonio for R and R in Houston. This camp plans to rotate people in and out of the forward camps. I attacked the supply room and used my taxonomy skills to organize soap, shampoo, blankets, emergency water, towels, dental supplies, as well as kitchen equipment, hardware such as heaters and lanterns, and tools. Scored a used rain poncho.

Since I have the pick of the camp for sleeping I tried out a cot in the supply tent. Never again, that bar about wrecked my spine. Give me a flat spot on the ground.

Miguel, who lives here and is Juan’s son in law came with his young son Enrique. Being a grannie, we hit it off and found lots of interesting things around camp. 

Fri 1/24: 

Just me here during the day; finished the organizing. The three camp dogs tore through the camp in pursuit of something and all four ended up in the supply tent, knocking over the cots and blankets. All went back in place.

Tried out the solar shower and after much turning of knobs and checking of hoses I feel human again.

The unity of purpose amongst this family compound is touching. Miguel’s family plans to go to the forward camp this werkend, a four hour drive each way. Some protectors from the cemetery camp will come here. I also will go to that camp, but am waiting for the list of supplies to bring along with Di’s duffle bag and cot.

More rain after midnight, but light and short lived, the fire is built up and as I end this, Michael Allen from Houston arrives. 

January 28, 2019

I am at a laundromat washing the camp towels. There is a small hand powered washer at camp but towels are bothersome. Then the clothes line serves to dry. 

I have been able to informally interview the people that pass thru camp. 

Tomorrow I go south to Mission where a six-mile section of the wall will bisect a butterfly sanctuary and then plow right through a cemetery with the graves of indigenous people and civil war veterans. 

I am hearing about eminent domain abuse. Of course it is irritating that many people support Trump but are up in arms when that blessed wall goes through their yard, or in some cases is like Gaza where their whole homestead is on the wrong side of a wall that is miles from the actual border. And well, the government just has to take the whole bit to keep us safe. So there is a possibility for 4 camps plus this base camp. 

There is word of a series of concerts all along the border and Roger Waters is interested in joining in. I had to ask who is he?

I am blessed to be able to be here , and not JUST because it us 71 F… I mean, someone needs to keep the fire burning. 

Do you care about clean water? Do you want to join the movement to create vibrant rural communities in Iowa? One way to do that is by meeting with your elected officials, and communicating the need for a moratorium on factory farms.

We’ve prepared a toolkit you can use when attending attending forums with your legislator. Forums are a great place for your voice to be heard and to raise your concerns with your elected officials. 

The session begins in January 2019, but you can begin reviewing the toolkit now

Iowa, we have a problem:

In Iowa,there are over 10,000 factory farms that produce more than 22 billion gallons of untreated manure which runs off our land and into our water.  In 2013, thanks to the de-delegation petition filed by Iowa CCI members, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)agreed that Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wasn’t enforcing the Clean Water Act for factory farms.

The DNR was given five years to come into compliance.  Their time is almost up, and soon, the DNR will submit a final report to EPA. DNR’s work may look good on paper but nothing has really changed in Iowa.

We still have manure spills, a record number of impaired water bodies and beach advisories, inadequate DNR staffing levels, and not enough data to know what’s really going on.

We deserve to have the Clean Water Act fully implemented in Iowa. 

Click here to download the full overview and timeline.