Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts: EPC changes will make water quality worse

Having attended the Oct. 18 meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission and a prior Department of Natural Resources meeting on regulations governing factory farms, it’s clear that the DNR is a textbook example of agency capture [Iowa wimps out on animal confinement rules, environmentalists complain, Oct. 18]. Rather than regulating the industrial animal agriculture industry in the public interest, the industry essentially regulates the DNR.

Industry groups were consulted well before the rules review process was even announced, and they told DNR what changes were acceptable to them and which ones were not. Rather than strengthening factory farm regulations to protect our air, water and rural communities, as 90 percent of public comments urged DNR to do, DNR’s changes approved by the EPC will make our state’s water quality situation even worse.

DNR is unwilling to properly regulate the more than 8,000 factory farms in this state to address their numerous and well-documented environmental impacts. We need a moratorium on new and expanded factory farms in Iowa. It’s common sense, expressed well by the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging.

— Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts, Grinnell

Published in the Des Moines Register.