Iowa has a clean water problem. Earlier this year the Water Program Associate Director with the Iowa Environmental Council, said, “More than half of Iowa's waters are impaired. We don't see any significant changes from previous reports. This is a trend that has remained steady for the last decade.”
Iowa has been looking for solutions to excess nutrients in our water since 1997. Iowa wants to meet the 45% nutrient reduction goal by voluntary programs, in the hope that more strict water quality criteria could be avoided. It is clear voluntary programs alone are not enough to reach these goals.
Water quality is an issue that impacts all Iowans. Between 2003 and 2017, tests detected elevated levels of nitrate in the tap water supplies of 236 towns and cities in Iowa, serving 1.3 million people. During the research period contamination was getting worse in more than half of these communities. The clean up costs for nutrient pollution is estimated at $4 billion.
Inaction on nutrient pollution has and will continue to impact quality of life for Iowans, burden downstream neighbors, and pose serious health issues including cancers. A water quality report from Iowa State estimates that improving water quality to meet nutrient reduction strategy goals would increase recreational benefits to Iowa lakes by about $30 million per year.
Recognizing the value of clean water and outdoor recreation, Iowa voters approved a constitutional amendment to create a Trust Fund to guarantee more funding for outdoor recreation and water quality. Twelve years later the trust fund still sits empty.
The republican majority revised the state tax code in twice in recent years and twice failed to direct ANY funding to the Trust Fund. Republicans prioritize tax cuts for corporations and wealthy donors over following voters wishes to FUND THE TRUST.
I will prioritize the health, safety and quality of life for all Iowans. It is long past time to fund the trust.