600+ comments delivered tell DNR to throw out ABI rule
Corporate lobby group’s proposed rule would weaken enforcement of environmental laws
Today, nearly 40 members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) delivered more than 600 public comments to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today demanding the DNR drop a rulemaking petition that would weaken enforcement of clean water laws and signal to the factory farm industry that the DNR is taking a “hands-off” approach to compliance.
A big-moneyed corporate interest group, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), has petitioned DNR to pass a new rule that will weaken the DNR’s ability to enforce Iowa law against factory farm polluters. The proposed rule will make it more difficult for everyday people to ensure strong and effective public oversight of factory farm polluters in the future by formally codifying already lax enforcement policies in writing, even if priorities shift in two years with a new governor and a new DNR director.
“The proposed rule basically tells factory farm operators that they will not be fined or penalized for a manure spill, fish kill, or other environmental violation, which could lead to more risk-taking, more manure spills and, ultimately, more water pollution,” said CCI member Barb Kalbach, a 4th generation family farmer from Dexter. “We need strong deterrents if we are serious about cleaning up our polluted watersheds and the DNR absolutely must not kowtow to the influence of big ag money if they want to preserve what little credibility they have left with everyday Iowans.”
CCI members also met with ABI president Mike Ralston earlier today and pushed him to withdraw the proposal.
Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways, and there have been more than 800 manure spills in the last 15 years, according to DNR and CCI records. A 2007 study by the Iowa Policy Project stated that factory farm manure “may be the largest agricultural polluter of Iowa’s streams and lakes”.
Join hundreds of fellow Iowans in telling the DNR to crack down on factory farms and say NO to the ABI’s proposed “hands off” rule. Take action here: http://j.mp/TelltheDNR
- This rule comes as Iowans are battling one of the biggest surges in new and expanding factory farm construction in years. Read the latest news and actions on our factory farm organizing.
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