Now is the time to clean our waterways

According to recent articles in The Gazette, the American Farm Bureau feels that the Environmental Protection Agency is overreaching in its efforts to regulate agricultural runoff into our rivers and streams.

Iowa’s waterways rate among the worst in the nation for contamination.

Iowans who enjoy using our lakes and streams for recreation have to endure high levels of pesticides, nitrates and bacteria in the water.

Cities have to adopt increasingly costly measures to make our water safe for drinking.

Meanwhile, agricultural runoff, much of which comes from Iowa, has created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that in 2010 was equal in area to the state of New Jersey.

It’s an embarrassment to our state and a hazard to us all. We deserve better.

After pushing for voluntary measures to address the problem, Gov. Terry Branstad vetoed $11.2 million in funding that would have gone to support conservation and water-quality initiatives. So, little gets done.

The state of Iowa spends less than 1 percent of its budget on its natural resources, among the lowest in the country. If we can’t take measures to clean up our waterways when the agricultural economy is booming, when will it happen?

It appears that federal regulations from the EPA are necessary for anything to get done in our state.

The Farm Bureau and Branstad should stop obstructing efforts to give Iowans the clean water we want and need.

They are not acting in the best interests of the people of Iowa.

Michael Meyer

Lone Tree

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