Iowans ask to halt CAFO construction until water is clean


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Large livestock feeding operations often pollute local waterways with organic waste. (Waterkeeper Alliance/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | January 19, 2017

Local, state and national organizations showed up at the capitol in Des Moines this week to ask lawmakers to halt Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) construction until fewer than 100 of Iowa’s waterways are impaired.

Called Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture, the coalition rallied behind Independent Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan as he introduced a group of 15 bills designed to tighten environmental regulations on large hog farms. At present, 750 of the state’s waterways are polluted to the point of impairment due to industrial agriculture byproducts.

Bill Stowe, CEO of the Des Moines Water Works and member of the coalition, said that industrial agriculture is making Iowa’s “rivers, lakes and streams filthy — filthy with nutrients, filthy with bacteria, filthy with organic matter,” according to the Register.

He added, “Iowans need to push back on this and join together with leaders here in the Legislature to stop the status quo.”

There are 13,000 CAFOs in the state of Iowa and that number continues to grow. The current regulatory document for new hog facilities was developed in 2002 and only requires CAFOs to meet 50 percent of its requirements to be approved for construction.

Senator Johnson’s package of bills would also require CAFO applicants to notify nearby landowners and give county supervisors the power to determine CAFO locations. Johnson said, “It’s time to get tough on the poor siting of hog confinements, including those being built in environmentally sensitive areas, where the smell and sound of someone else’s money is in your bedroom every night.”

A spokesperson for Gov. Reynolds has said that she would consider the legislation if it reaches her desk.

Iowa House & Senate pass pro-ethanol resolution


Photo by InspiredInDesMoines; Flickr

Both the Iowa house and Senate have passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reject its proposed rule which would reduce the amount of ethanol produced in the country.

The resolution passed both the house and senate without a dissenting vote. Continue reading

Iowa Congressmen meet with EPA leader on RFS mandate


Photo via Loebsack office

On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Terry Branstad led off his annual Condition of the State address with a call for a coordinated campaign to preserve the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates a certain level of renewable fuel production each year.

On Wednesday, Iowa Democratic U.S. Reps. Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack, and several other members of Congress added their voices of opposition to the reduced mandate in a meeting with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

To learn more, head over to the Des Moines Register.