DNR Director decides against overruling Supreme Beef feedlot

Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | June 3, 2021

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Kayla Lyon decided last Friday that she will not use the Director’s Discretion Rule to review an 11,600-head cattle feedlot.

More than 40 groups, individuals, and elected officials sent a letter to Lyon asking her to use the rule to veto the approval of the operation in late May. The Iowa DNR and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office notified the organizations, legislators, and individuals that the initial decision approving the Supreme Beef project will stand.

Environmental groups are concerned about the project due to its proximity to Monona and Bloody Run Creek—a protected waterway. The feedlot will be in the creek’s watershed, presenting the possibility of contaminating the water.

The Director’s Discretion Rule was objected to in the Iowa Legislature in 2006. Any challenge to the rule means the DNR must prove that the rule is not arbitrary, beyond its authority, capricious, or unreasonable. The rule can still be used regardless of the Legislature’s previous objection.

In Lyon’s letter, she said the DNR’s Legal Services Bureau advised her and said a subrule “lacks statutory authority”. Lyon cited chapters 459 and 459A of Iowa’s code as to why she could not conduct an alternative evaluation. The Sierra Club and other environmental groups disagree and are asking the DNR to formally outline how they came to their decision to the public.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, environmental groups can file a lawsuit against the Iowa DNR, but no suits have been filed.

Truck Carrying 40,000 Pounds of Fertilizer Rolled Over

Via Flickr

Maxwell Bernstein | November 6, 2020

On Tuesday, a truck carrying 40,000 pounds of fertilizer rolled over about two miles south of Wadena in Fayette County, killing fish in a tributary of Brush Creek, according to the Iowa DNR

The truck was operated by Nutrien Ag Solutions of West Union, according to the Des Moines Register. DNR investigators found dead fish and high levels of ammonia in the water. 

Nutrien Ag and DNR worked to clean up the spill after damming the tributary to diverted clean stream water. The DNR is monitoring the cleanup while fisheries staff are checking downstream. 

Iowa DNR said that they are continuing to investigate and will consider appropriate enforcement options against Nutrien Ag if needed, according to the DNR and KCRG.