FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 10, 2011

Contact: Natalie Snyders, Environmental Justice Organizer 515.282.0484, Natalie @ iowacci.org

CCI Members to Rastetter: We’ll be back

On Thursday, the Iowa Ethics and Disclosure Board voted to scrap members’ August 16 conflict of interest ethics complaint against Rastetter

 

Des Moines, Iowa –  On Thursday, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board voted to put factory farm polluters before environmental protections and dismiss an ethics complaint filed by members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) against Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) member Brent Rastetter.

CCI members say Rastetter’s private role as the owner and president of the multi-million dollar factory farm construction company Quality Ag, Inc, creates a clear conflict of interest with his public duty as an EPC commissioner to stand up for clean air and water and crack down on factory farm polluters.

Iowa CCI members filed the ethics complaint after Rastetter’s June 21 vote to scrap a Clean Water Act rulemaking package that would have brought Iowa into compliance with federal law after nearly 40 years of noncompliance. The new rule, if passed, would have directly impacted Rastetter’s business.

An official copy of the complaint can be viewed here.

“Brent Rastetter’s service on the EPC is like the fox guarding the chicken coop, and doesn’t pass the common-sense test.” Said CCI member and family farmer Larry Ginter from Rhodes, IA, “The Campaign and Ethics Disclosure Board just gave good government a black eye.”

Iowa Code 68B.2A, “Prohibited outside employment and activities — conflicts of interest” states:

Any person who serves or is employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not engage in…outside employment or an activity that is subject to the official control, inspection, review , audit, or enforcement authority of the person, during the performance of the person’s duties of office or employment.

“It is the mission of the EPC and DNR to protect our environment, and we will continue to push EPC commissioners and DNR staff to stand up for clean air and water, and to crack down on factory farm polluters” Said Barb Kalbach, a nurse & 4th generation family farmer from Dexter. “And whether it is rulemaking or cracking down on factory farm polluters, we will be there to make sure that DNR & EPC are taking a tough stand. If they don’t, we will continue to pursue every option available to stand up for the environment and everyday Iowans.”

There have been more than 750 manure spills since 1995, including more than two dozen since Governor Terry Branstad was elected to office last November. Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.

For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit www.iowacci.org

 

Iowa Campaign Ethics & Disclosure Board to meet on our conflict of interest complaint

 

Brent Rastetter is the owner CEO of Quality Ag, Inc- a factory farm construction firm that rakes in $5-10 million a year in profits building factory farms around the state.

Rastetter is also Governor Terry Branstad’s newest appointee to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) – the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) citizen oversight board.

EPC commissioners have a duty to stand up for clean air and water and crack down on factory farm polluters. Having Rastetter sit on the EPC diminishes public trust in the EPC and DNR and creates the appearance of unethical conduct.

That’s why in August, CCI members filed an ethics complaint with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board against commissioner Rastetter. As citizens, we shouldn’t have to wonder if he’s protecting our environment or his own bottom line.

Tomorrow (November 10, 2011), the Iowa Ethics Board will make a decision on our complaint and whether to move forward with an investigation on Rastetter.

Take Action today!

Join us for the meeting Thursday – meet us at 10:30 am at the CCI office (2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines) and we will head down to the meeting at Noon (Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board office, 510 East 12th, Suite 1A, Des Moines) They will have time for public comments at the meeting.

Make a comment to Ethics Board director Megan Tooker-she will make a recommendation to the board about our complaint. Click here to send her a message.

Thanks for all that you do. We’ll keep you updated as this moves forward.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2011
Contact: Natalie Snyders, Organizer 515.282.0484 natalie @ iowacci.org

 

CCI members to DNR: Crack down on multiple manure spills

Manure spills in Butler and Hamilton County mark seven manure spills in last five months, in five different counties across Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa – Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) are calling on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to levy stiff fines and penalties against two factory farm operators that spilled nearly 20,000 gallons of manure in Hamilton and Butler County over the weekend. This brings the total number of manure spills to seven in just five months.

“We know that factory farms are inherently unsustainable and are not surprised at the high number of manure spills,” said CCI board president Vern Tigges, “Every factory farm in the state is a ticking time bomb ready to go off and release thousands of gallons of manure into our waterways.”

Last Saturday, a 9,500 gallon manure tanker owned by Nick Strohbehn Farms LLC, tipped over and spilled its entire contents near Williams in Hamilton County. Manure spilled into a tile line and flowed to a waterway and killed 200-300 hundred minnows pooled in the water. In Butler County, a second manure tanker owned by Agri-Zone tipped and spilled 9,500 gallons of manure into a ditch.

This is the second manure spill in Hamilton County in the last few months. In August, a factory farm operator caused a manure spill killing 27,456 fish in the South Skunk River. According to DNR sources, there have been seven manure spills in the last five months in Hamilton, Butler, Lee, Benton, Clay and Dubuque counties.

Iowa has the largest concentration of factory farms in the country and some of the most polluted water. Factory farms have caused more than 700 manure spills in the last 15 years in Iowa, resulting in more than 572 polluted waterways.

“CCI members are calling DNR to crack down on factory farm polluters and protect our water. We also must warn the general public to stay vigilant and watch out for spills during the Fall months,” said Tigges, “Due to the number of factory farm operators spreading right now and Governor Branstad gutting DNR funding and enforcement, we need to be the watchdogs out in the field.”

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.

For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit www.iowacci.org