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.
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
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