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917Water Quality and IDALS

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  • Rick Dietz
    Mar 9, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      Those who are concerned about water quality in Iowa will want to read this Legislative Update from the Iowa Rivers Revival organization...

      And you can still submit your comments from the Iowa Environmental Councils webpage at http://capwiz.com/iaenvironment/home/.

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject:IRR Legislative Update 3-9-11
      Date:Wed, 9 Mar 2011 10:36:14 -0600
      From:Iowa Rivers Revival <rlehman@...>

      IRR Legislative Update from Jerry Peckumn, Board Chair

      March 9, 2011


      First funnel ended last week, March 3rd – meaning a bill had to make it out of committee for it to be still considered “alive” during this legislative session.  We still have some work to do!


      The move by Republican legislators and the Governor to move water quality programs from the DNR to IDALS brings thoughts of conflict of interest.  As many of you know I am a longtime farmer and have a long agricultural heritage.  My son and I raise corn, soybeans, hay, and cattle.  Farming is a very competitive business requiring ever increasing production and reducing input costs at every opportunity.  Maximizing profits, essentially on a short-term basis, creates a challenge in conserving soil and protecting water.  The Department of Agriculture cannot promote farming and regulate water quality for all Iowans at the same time.  There is an inherent conflict of interest.


      Last night I tried for an hour to call in Governor Branstad who was on the WHO radio for now scheduled once a month call in.  The phone rang with no answer, then was busy even as I recalled continuously.  No one got through to talk about clean water.  Public input is difficult and this shows the great need to make calls to the Governor’s office and talk to someone about the importance of clean water, clean air, and funding for DNR programs.  The Governor’s budget shows a drastic cut in the DNR budget for 2013-we will not have a functioning DNR if this comes to past.




      1)      Governor Branstad proposes to move the 319 program from the DNR to Iowa Department of Agriculture (IDALS).  The Governor has sole authority to move this program to whatever agency he desires. 

      a.       Clean Water Act (CWA) established the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program under the Environmental Protection Agency.  Section 319 addresses the need for greater federal leadership to help focus state and local nonpoint source efforts. Under Section 319, states, territories and tribes receive grant money that supports a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects and monitoring to assess the success of specific nonpoint source implementation projects.

      ·   http://www.epa.gov/owow_keep/NPS/cwact.html

      ·   http://www.epa.gov/owow/NPS/sec319cwa.html  

      b.      Programs affected by the transfer: moves $2.9 million to IDALS to do monitoring; transfers this function from DNR and all its supported programs:

      ·   Beach Monitoring

      ·   Fish Tissue Monitoring

      ·   Groundwater Monitoring

      ·   IOWATER

      ·   Lake Monitoring

      ·   Project AWARE

      ·   Stream chemistry and biology (fish communities and other organisms)

      ·   Watershed Access/Data Access – technology

      ·   Wetland monitoring


      2)      Transfer of TMDL and water quality programs from the DNR to IDALS.

      a.       This transfer is unprecedented.  No state* in the country has their Secretary of Agriculture delegating water quality responsibilities.

      ·   *Tennessee’s is the only state where the Department of Agricultures runs the 319 program.

      b.      Why IDALS, why now?  DNR has a great staff and does a good job.  At a time when “less spending and government efficiency” is the message coming from legislative leaders – this transfer is unnecessary and costly-requiring planning, hiring and duplication that the taxpayer can ill afford, while turning over water protection to an agency whose primary function is to serve and promote agriculture.

      ·   This transfer would cause at least a 2 year delay in any water quality improvement due to staff development and administrative restructuring.  Iowa’s water resources cannot afford this delay.

      ·   All monitoring would be VOLUNTARY not REGULATORY <is this right?>.

      ·   According to an Iowa Department of Administrations publication, “The object of the [Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship] is to encourage, promote, market, and advance the interests of agriculture, including production practices, such as organic or conventional, that may lead to direct marketing of raw product and value-added goods.”

      1.       What does the IDALS do?  http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/whatWeDo.asp

      ·   The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is the government agency that leads Iowans in caring for their natural resources. It is responsible for maintaining state parks and forests, protecting the environment, and managing energy, fish, wildlife, and land and water resources in Iowa.  The DNR's mission:   To conserve and enhance our natural resources in cooperation with individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life for Iowans and ensure a legacy for future generations.


      3)      YOU CAN HELP!

      a.       Contact the Governor and HOUSE members.

      b.      Message:  DNR are the water quality experts!


      LOBBYIST REPORT from Don Brazelton


      River Programs.  Our request to have the DNR Rivers Program present to the Transportation and Infrastructure Appropriations Subcommittee was turned down.  We will be starting the process of contacting individual members on that subcommittee to seek some funding for the Rivers & Dam Mitigation Program.  This bill will likely be one of the last few bills passed at the end of this year’s session.


      HF 45, TAXPAYER FIRST ACT. Awaits Governor’s signature


      HF 51, REAP SPENDING.  REAP FORMULA CHANGE.  Didn’t get out of HNRC. 


      HSB 74, BOTTLE BILL REPEAL.  Didn’t get out of HEPC.  SF 249.UNIVERSAL RECYCLING & BOTTLE BILL REPEAL.  Didn’t get out of comm.

      -          What does a Bottle Bill have to do with healthy rivers? Blog by Sara Strassman, American Rivers, Director, River Restoration, Upper Midwest


      HSB 180, ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS TRANSFER.  Transfers the Clean Water Act, the Water Resources Coordinating Council, the Manure Application Management, the Total Maximum Daily Loads and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits from the DNR to the Dept of Ag.  HEPC.


      SSB 1126, HSB 148, WATER RESOURCES COUNCIL.  Moves the Water Resources Coordinating Council to the Dept of Ag and makes the Secretary of Ag the chair.  Amended & Passed SAgC.  (could include the following: transfers the Clean Water Act, the Water Resources Coordinating Council, the Total Maximum Daily Loads and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits from the DNR to the Dept of Ag). 


      SF 53, HF 163, WATERSHEDS.  Appropriates $3 mil for watershed planning.  Requires the DNR to establish goals for reducing flood damage through retention structures or wetlands.  Requires the Water Resource Coordinating Council to submit reports to the Legislature on landowner incentives and state watershed programs.  Appropriates $30 million for voluntary watershed management grants.  Appropriates $4.2 million to DALS for watershed project technical assistance to landowners, soil and water conservation districts, county conservation boards and DNR;  $2 million to DNR for floodplain management; $50,000 to DNR to a mentor network program for floodplain managers; and $1.3 million to the Regents for the Iowa Flood Center at UI.  Requires Emergency Mgt Div (EMD) to work with the DNR to educate cities & counties on the community rating system in the FEMA flood insurance program.  Requires EMD to provide matching funds to cities in federal disaster areas due to flooding and to develop a pre-disaster mitigation grant program.  Passed SNRC.  Goes to SAC.  More work needs to be done on bill. 


      HF 500 (formerly HSB 48), EPC & NRC RULEMAKING.  Transfers the rulemaking authority of the NRC and the EPC to the director of the DNR.  Eligible for H debate.


      HSB 190, AG & NATURAL RESOURCES APPROPRIATIONS.  This is the House version of the appropriations for agriculture and natural resources.  Passed HAC.  Bill is to start in the S.


      HF 485 (formerly HF 181), ADMINISTRATIVE RULES.  Establishes a 5-year sunset for all administrative rules. Rescinds all rules in effect on July 1 2011 as of July 1 2016. Allows any House or Senate committee to review any administrative rule and make recommendations.  Passed HEGC.


      SF 7, HF 78, BLOOD ALCOHOL LIMIT - BOATING.  Sets the blood alcohol limit at .08 for motorboats or sailboats operating while intoxicated offenses.  Both bills in HNR subcom-J Smith, Baudler, Steckman.




      Governor Terry Brandstad:   515.281.5211 or http://www.governor.iowa.gov/contact/

      Iowa General Assembly (find a bill):  http://www.legis.iowa.gov/index.aspx

      Iowa Senators and Representatives:  Find your legislators (if you would like a spreadsheet of all the current legislators, please let me know)

      Iowa Senate:  515.281.3371

      Iowa House: 515.281.3221


      Please share this legislative update with individuals, organizations or groups that would be interested in receiving this information.


      Thank you!


      Rosalyn Lehman

      Executive Director

      Iowa Rivers Revival

      PO Box 72, Des Moines, IA 50301


      rlehman@...  |  www.iowarivers.org

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