Environmental groups are accusing Governor Terry Branstad of favoring agricultural practices over water quality and the environment.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Iowa Sierra Club filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents about negotiations between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The documents show that Brandstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds bypassed the regional EPA office when writing to Washington. The letter in question pressures the EPA to back off of their proposal to investigate large livestock farms.
Since 1995 the state has had about 800 manure spills. The state also has seen its number of polluted lakes, rivers and streams increase. The EPA listed more than 600 impaired bodies of water in Iowa in 2012, up from 594 in 2010.
Last July, Iowa’s environmental regulation of livestock farms didn’t meet federal requirements, and since then, the EPA as been pressing Iowa to better enforce the Clean Water Act.
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