EPC votes to add 20% more nitrates to Iowa’s water
CCI members shutdown meeting in protest
The Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) citizen oversight board, the Environmental Protection Commission, voted today to maintain a 100 pounds per acre limit on the application of liquid manure on soybean ground, a bad environmental practice that Iowa State University studies show increases the amount of nitrates in water by 19 percent.
Nearly two dozen members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) testified for a full ban on the spreading of manure on beans and protested the EPC decision, forcing EPC chair David Petty to adjourn the meeting with only half the agenda completed.
“I’m a corn and soybean farmer and putting manure on ground going to soybeans is ridiculous,” said George Naylor, an independent family farmer and CCI member from Churdan, Iowa. “Beans won’t use the nitrogen so it will enter the surface and ground water. If manure was applied the year before corn, there will be plenty of phosphorus and other nutrients for a soybean crop already in the soil. We need to ban the application of liquid manure on ground going into soybeans.”
Studies presented by Iowa State University scientists at the EPC meeting today clearly stated that the current limit of 100 pounds of liquid manure per acre of soybeans increased nitrate runoff into water by 19 percent.
Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways, and there have been more than 800 manure spills in the last 15 years, according to DNR 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”.
60% of Iowans say “we need stronger laws to stop factory farms from polluting our air and water,” according to an September 27-29 telephone poll of 572 active voters conducted by Public Policy Polling.
Who spoke in favor of the ban:
Dozens of Iowa CCI members, the Iowa Sierra Club, the Iowa Environmental Council, and a representative from the Des Moines Water Works, the largest municipal water treatment system in the state.
Who spoke in against the ban:
Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Corngrowers Assoc.
Now it’s not a battle of farmers and against environmentalists. Several CCI farmers spoke out in favor of the common sense ban.
It was a battle of corporate ag profits against the common good.
- History of the rule to ban liquid manure [factory farm] on soybean ground here.
- Also related to the DNR: Read more about the EPA’s damning report on the DNR’s factory farm enforcement program and how the DNR responded here, here and here. The Des Moines Register and the Iowa Policy Project weigh in on the issue: EPA Letter should be a wake up call and Op-ed calls for full funding of our DNR.
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