Ag + Environment

Trump signs bipartisan bill to boost number of ag inspectors

BY: - March 5, 2020

President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Iowa GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst that will provide money to hire more agricultural inspectors to check the food supply at the border. The Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019 also would pay for support staff and specially trained dogs needed at […]

Interest groups line up to praise Invest in Iowa Act; lawmakers express concerns

BY: - March 4, 2020

Stakeholders lined up in a State Capitol conference room on Wednesday to sing the praises of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposal to raise Iowa’s sales tax to pay for environmental programs, mental health services and reductions in income and property taxes. Lawmakers, however, aren’t yet tuning up to advance the legislation. A Senate subcommittee heard public […]

Northeast Iowa sand mine renews once-rejected bid to export water

BY: - February 28, 2020

Pattison Sand Co. of Clayton has renewed its bid to export water from Iowa’s Jordan Aquifer to drought-stricken, western states after state officials turned the request down the first time. In a new application, company founder Kyle Pattison wrote that he had been in discussions with DNR staffers about the possibility of exporting 2.8 million […]

State investigates manure spill in northwest Iowa

BY: - February 28, 2020

A manure spill near Kingsley in northwest Iowa’s Plymouth County Thursday afternoon sent 2,000 gallons of waste downstream, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported. Some of the manure reached a small tributary of John’s Creek, polluting about a half-mile stretch. Kingsley Sow LLC reported a pipe between a pit and earthen basin loosened, possibly […]

Owner of closed Atlantic recycling operation fined $150K

BY: - February 25, 2020

A former Atlantic vehicle parts recycler has been ordered to pay another $50,000 for environmental violations. District Court Judge Jeffrey Larson ruled that Jason Wright is liable for future cleanup costs and will be in contempt if he violates a court order. Larson already had fined Wright’s business, Recycling Services LLC, $100,000. Violations included petroleum […]

Aerial view of flooded Hamburg Iowa in 2019

Iowa’s congressional delegation braces for back-to-back flooding

BY: - February 24, 2020

WASHINGTON — Iowans have scarcely had time to recover from last year’s river flooding, which inundated towns from Hamburg to Davenport and points in between, but meteorologists are already warning that flooding is likely this year, too. In response, Iowa’s congressional delegation is focused on short-term concerns, such as making sure that disaster relief efforts […]

COMMENTARY

Reynolds will have to fight GOP for sales tax plan

BY: - February 24, 2020

The centerpiece of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ 2020 legislative agenda — a water-quality and mental-health funding scheme and income tax cut driven by a 1-cent sales tax increase — seems to be bogged down in the GOP-controlled House and Senate. The question is: How hard is the governor willing to fight for her plan? Differences […]

State seeks nominations for farm conservation award

BY: - February 23, 2020

Iowa agriculture officials will accept nominations through May 18 for the Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year awards. The statewide and regional awards co-sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation honor Iowa farmers for their work on soil conservation and water quality improvements. The grand prize […]

Alive or dead?  An update on Iowa legislation after the first funnel

BY: - February 22, 2020

This week marked a key committee deadline in the Iowa Legislature known as the “funnel.” Most policy bills needed approval by a committee in either the House or Senate to remain eligible for debate this year. This so-called “funnel” deadline helps lawmakers prioritize their work by eliminating from consideration lower-priority proposals or those that lack […]

Judge: Lawyer ‘made up’ testimony and undermined landmark pollution case

BY: - February 20, 2020

Two of Iowa’s most well-known attorneys are embroiled in a bitter fight over legal fees and client poaching in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against one of Iowa’s biggest alleged corporate polluters. The case involves allegations of attorney misconduct in the $51 million class-action lawsuit against Muscatine’s Grain Processing Corp. On one side of the dispute is […]

Bill would outlaw trespassing at food production facilities

BY: - February 17, 2020

People who trespass at a food production operation would be guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor under a bill approved by an Iowa legislative subcommittee Monday.  At least one lobbyist attending the subcommittee wondered if Senate Study Bill 3171 was a third attempt by lawmakers to pass an “ag gag” rule to fight protesters who infiltrate […]

Pattison Sand withdraws plan to export Iowa water

BY: - February 17, 2020

Pattison Sand Co. of Clayton has officially withdrawn its permit application to export Iowa water from Jordan wells to drought-stricken western states. The action came after the Iowa Department of Natural Resources announced it planned to deny the permit because the plan would not benefit Iowans or meet the state’s goal to conserve water. Pattison […]