Devastating flooding in many areas of Iowa is causing widespread pollution from industrial agriculture and adds to our long-term problem with water quality. We have over 750 waterways polluted with nitrates and phosphorus and subject to cyanobacteria blooms. Toxic blue-green algae thrive on the Phosphorus and Nitrate fertilizer run-off. As a result, Iowa is a major contributor to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, has many state beach closings and water supplies with dangerously high Nitrate levels.
Our state's solution is the "voluntary" Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The plan contains practices that farmers and landowners can implement to cut down on run-off, soil loss and lessen the amount of nitrate and phosphorus entering state waters. However, the unfortunate truth is this strategy is not working because there is little participation. At present enrollment rate it would take 100 years to clean up our waters using voluntary measures alone.
For all these reasons and more we support the lawsuit filed by Iowa CCI and Food & Water Watch. Voluntary is not working, and our legislature has failed to act on our worsening quality. Corporate ag and those who profit from it will want to say this is a fight between rural and urban, but the truth is everyone has a right to clean water.
We need a moratorium on large-scale livestock operations until a mandatory nutrient reduction plan is in place. This may be the only way we finally realize a clean-up that the state promises but never delivers.
Rosemary & D.G Partridge