Processing Magazine

Iowa environmentalists slam new Clean Water Act proposed rules

February 6, 2014

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Iowa's newly proposed water regulation is not adequately designed to protect rivers and lakes from livestock farm pollution, a coalition including several environmental groups has claimed.

The draft Clean Water Act rules, proposed by Iowa's Department of Natural Resources (DNR), were released by the state's Sierra Club, the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) group and the Environmental Integrity Project. Environmentalists stated that by publicizing the draft rules in advance they hoped that public support for tighter rules would ensue, thus prompting state regulators to change their proposals. The coalition wants the department to require permits from livestock farms that already have a history of spills of manure into state water bodies.

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According to Garry Klicker, a member of the Iowa CCI, livestock farms that have a record of polluting waterways are likely to do so in the future as well and that is why the DNR should issue permits to prevent such occurrences. The draft rules do not require permits, creating a "loophole" for manure spreaders, he claimed.

Kevin Baskins, DNR spokesman, explained that the department had only followed state laws when drafting the proposals. A 2010 law states that Iowa's Clean Water Act rules cannot be stricter than the federal EPA regulations, thus giving the DNR the discretion to decide when and if a livestock farm should apply for a permit.