CCI members say Governor Branstad and Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp have failed everyday Iowans and must now reverse course on failed de-regulation and “voluntary compliance” strategies

The list of polluted waters in the state of Iowa has grown from 606 in 2010 to 628 in 2012, according to new data released by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and analyzed by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) members.

“The total number of impaired waters in Iowa’s 2012 Integrated Report is 628, with 482 Section 303(d) waters [Category 5:  impaired and TMDL needed] and 146 waters in Category 4 [impaired but TMDL not required],” reads a new Clean Water Act draft report prepared by John Olson, a DNR Senior Environmental Specialist.

The DNR will present the findings to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) at their monthly meeting on January 15 in the Henry A. Wallace Building west of the state capitol.  That same day, the EPC will also consider a “hands-off” rule proposed by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry to weaken enforcement options and “ensure compliance within the least restrictive means possible”.

The new numbers mark the largest number of polluted waterways in Iowa since the state began keeping records sixteen years ago.  In 2008, there were 542 polluted rivers, lakes, and streams, according to the DNR.

I want to live in a state with clean water, but the DNR is now scheduled to weaken factory farm enforcement on behalf of a corporate interest group, on the same day they hear new data that our water quality continues to get worse,”

said Lori Nelson of Bayard, the Iowa CCI Board president, who is surrounded by 5,000 corporate hogs within a half mile of her home.

“This kind of irony isn’t funny.  Shame on DNR Director Chuck Gipp for letting this happen.”

Iowa CCI members say that the recent water quality findings also puts renewed pressure on Governor Terry Branstad to end his opposition to strong and effective public oversight just days before his 2013 “Condition of the State” address next Tuesday.

“Governor Branstad has spent the last two years trying to de-regulate and defund environmental protections while promoting a failed voluntary compliance approach that benefits the corporate ag industry at the expense of everyday Iowans and the environment,” Nelson continued.

“In the short-term, we need a fully-funded DNR and strong new Clean Water Act rules that ensure operating permits for all of Iowa’s 8,000 factory farms, with a three strikes and you’re out policy for habitual violators.  In the long-term, we need local control, stronger permitting standards, and increased separation distances.”

There have been more than 800 documented manure spills since 1995.  In 2010, former DNR Director Rich Leopold told a crowd of Scott County CCI members that the real number could be 10 times that high.

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Join us on January 15th for our Kickoff at the Capitol to fight for clean water and public policy that protects Iowa!

Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum Calls on Secretary of State Schultz to Withdraw Voter Purge Rule Targeting Immigrants

Senator from Dubuque says Schultz’s proposed rule “exceeded the authority of the secretary’s office” and should be withdrawn and proposed as legislation


Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) called on Secretary of State Matt Schultz to withdraw a proposed voter purge rule targeting immigrants today during a meeting of the Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC).

Jochum said Schultz should withdraw the rule and submit it as a legislative proposal that can be fully vetted and debated by the state legislature during the 2013 session.

“I believe this rule has exceeded the authority of the secretary’s office,” Jochum said.

More than a dozen members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) joined the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens at the ARRC meeting and testified against the proposal.

“Schultz’s potentially illegal power grab will unfairly target Latino immigrants, intimidate voters from exercising their rights, and could result in voters being purged from the rolls without cause,” said Ana Belén Mancebo, 21, a CCI member from Des Moines who is also a naturalized citizen after immigrating from Nicaragua.  “Voter fraud is not a real problem in the state of Iowa and devoting resources to bullying immigrant communities already in the shadows is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

“Iowa CCI members demand ARRC stand with everyday people and hardworking families from across Iowa and block this bad rule from being implemented.”

ARRC also held a special hearing today on new Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines that prevent immigrants protected under President Obama’s “deferred action” executive order from receiving an Iowa driver’s license.

Iowa CCI members say that deferred action immigrants have a legal right to obtain a valid driver’s license.

“I’m here on a work visa and I have a drivers license.  Why can’t my deferred action brothers and sisters who are also here legally get one?”  said Vanessa Carolina del Valle Marcano Marin, 27, a CCI member from Des Moines who is originally from Venezuela.


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Meeting will focus on community, legal objections to proposed Maschhoff Pork factory farm


Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) members from Linn County will meet with top officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Center Point Tuesday night to press their demands that a construction permit for a giant factory farm near Center Point be denied.

The meeting will be held at the Center Point Public Library at 7pm Tuesday night.

“Matt Ditch and Maschhoff Pork’s proposal does not meet the legal requirements for a construction permit and the DNR must stand up, do their job to protect the environment from factory farm polluters, and deny the construction permit for this bad proposal,” said Regina Behmlander, a CCI member from Center Point who has helped galvanize community opposition to the proposal.

See also:

Linn County CCI Wins First Step Victory

Linn County Factory Farm Fight Heats Up

Calling Linn County Factory Farm Fighters

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On Monday, October 29 more than 30 people who live near Center Point, Iowa held a planning meeting organized by local Iowa CCI members to plot strategy to continue the community fightback against a factory farm that has been proposed in the area by Maschhoff Pork and a local hog janitor named Matt Ditch.

On Friday, October 26, the Linn County Supervisors voted 4-1 to recommend that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) deny a construction permit for the site.  As part of their recommendation, county government challenged 175 points on the applicant’s submitted Master Matrix score, giving them a failing grade.

The fight now moves to the Iowa DNR, who must decide if they will stand with everyday people and the environment over an out of state factory farm corporation like Maschhoff Pork.

Residents at the October 29 planning meeting were fired up and ready to continue mobilizing community opposition against the plan by putting pressure on the DNR, the applicant Matt Ditch, and local legislators like Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen and Iowa Senator Liz Mathis.

See also:

Linn County Factory Farm Fight Heats Up

Calling Linn County Factory Farm Fighters

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Letter to the editor: Thanks to CCI for fighting factory farming


Sept 26, 2012   |


Regarding the big profile on Iowa CCI (“Right Way To Fight?” Sept. 25): I’m surrounded by 5,000 corporate hogs; the company spreads liquid manure right up to my fence post and dead hogs sit outside my house in a dumpster for weeks before being disposed of.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship refuse to help. Only CCI members have been there for me and my family.

I’ve never seen a front-page Register story questioning whether industrial factory farming — which destroys rural communities — is the right way to do agriculture.

Sometimes when you’re under corporate attack, the only proper thing to do is stand up and fight back. God bless Iowa CCI for doing just that.

— Lori Nelson, Bayard

[new Iowa CCI Board President]


Learn more

  • Read the Des Moines Register’s full front and back page profile our work here.
  • Iowa CCI has been “Putting People First” for decades. Dive into more of our organizing history here.

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