Many people want to improve their lives right now and don’t have the patience to wait for investments to mature. The same is true of some business people who trade long-term success for short-term gain. By not paying attention to the consequences, companies may grow unabated. But at what expense and who pays for it?
In Iowa we have allowed hog facilities to exponentially grow and, as a result of waste and runoff, roughly 60 percent of our waterways are highly polluted making clean drinking water a serious concern. The same is true of oil pipelines which have cut across many of our counties’ farms. Instead of enforced regulations, we have let oil and agribusiness concerns have the run of land/water protection with limited enforcement. I conclude that the public’s concerns and those of business are not the same.
Many of the solutions offered by Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Utilities Board and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey put the responsibilities for clean water on the taxpayer and/or are rob Peter to pay Paul schemes that hurt other priority programs such as public education. State legislators know clean water is a priority for Iowans. Iowans will pay for toxic cleanup eventually. If we don’t stop opening up new lots and pipelines, don’t enforce regulations, and continue to allow industry to carry on as “usual,” we will have water we can’t drink and demanding to know how it happened, like the folks in Flint, Michigan.