Don’t end DNR role in regulating water

By Mike Delaney, opinion in the Des Moines Register
7 April 2011

The Raccoon River Watershed Association (RRWA) is opposed to transferring authority for water quality programs from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to the Iowa Department of Agriculture (SF 500). The RRWA board believes that transferring the authority and funding necessary to manage water quality programs would not serve the long term interest of the state.

It is clear to us that the Farm Bureau Federation is behind this move, as it is behind attempts to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico at the federal level. The Farm Bureau is also attempting to reverse the river anti-degradation rules that are now in place in Iowa.

It is clear to many in Iowa that Gov. Terry Branstad and the Farm Bureau are working their plan to protect certain farm interests from restrictions they think would impact profitability. The board and the members of RRWA know it is time to protect the soil, water and animal habitat that remain in Iowa from further degradation.

At this point in time, only the Farm Bureau, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Branstad’s DNR director have signed on to this bill. Farm commodity groups are staying neutral.

– Mike Delaney, vice president, Raccoon River Watershed Association, Des Moines