Environmental Group Moves to Block Proposal to Privately Export Iowa Water to Dry Western States


Via Flickr

Nicole Welle | October 15, 2020

The Sierra Club opposed the Pattinson Sand Co’s. permit application to export water from part of the Jordan Aquifer in Clayton County, Iowa by train to Western states.

The state rejected the permit application previously, but Pattinson Sand Co. continued to appeal. The Sierra Club filed an intervention with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals, which will hold a hearing Nov. 9-10, and the DNR has already denied the request three times, saying that Pattinson did not provide enough information on where and how the water would be used, according to an article in the Telegraph Harold.

The Sierra Club opposes the use of public resources like the Jordan Aquifer for private profits. The group also contends that the plan could hurt Iowans who get their water from the aquifer, and it could be harmful to pump extra water from a source that is so slow to refill. The state has already restricted use of certain parts of the aquifer where it is heavily used and slow to refill, and the Sierra club cites Iowa law that classifies water as a public resource, according to an Iowa Capital Dispatch article.

Pattinson Attorney James Pray argued that the company has rights to the parts of the aquifer that exist under the land it owns. He also stated that Pattinson wants to use the resource for purposes that will benefit both Iowa’s and people in other state’s who experience droughts and water shortages. In a statement earlier this year, he said that hiring a transportation company to ship the water by rail would also help to rehire workers needing job security during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pattinson has sent letters to both the DNR and the Governor’s office requesting a different outcome. If the appeal is approved in the future, it could open the door for other private companies to profit from water as well.

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