FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2011
Official statement from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement on Governor Branstad's commission appointments:
"Members of Iowa CCI are not at all surprised Governor Branstad appointed former Rep. Dolores Mertz, Brent Rastetter, Mary Boote and re-appointed Eugene Ver Steeg to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC). Mertz, Rastetter, Boote and Ver Steeg all have ties to the factory farm industry and will put the interests of corporate agriculture over the interests of every day Iowans," said Iowa CCI's State Policy Organizing Director Adam Mason.
"The EPC makes key decisions related to factory farm construction permits, fines and penalties for factory farm polluters, and also writes rules and regulations protecting our air and water from factory farm manure pollution. During his re-election campaign, Branstad called for more "streamlined" regulations for the factory farm industry. These appointments are part of Branstad's plan to roll-back environmental protections and strip the power of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Commission," Mason said.
Iowa CCI members will continue to push the DNR and EPC to crack down on factory farm polluters and write strong rules protecting our air and water. CCI members have been weighing in across the state at Republican sponsored "red tape hearings" to set the record straight, to amplify the call for stronger and more effective oversight, especially in regards to factory farms and the pollution they create.
CCI will continue to push the current EPC commissioners to advance a strong rule to fully implement enforcement of the federal Clean Water Act. The rulemaking was initiated last year, and will come for a vote before the EPC in April.
"We are calling on the outgoing commissioners to leave a lasting legacy of strong water protections. With 572 polluted waterways and over 700 manure spills in the last 15 years, it is a proven fact that factory farms can pollute, and obvious that they should have Clean Water Act Operating permits." Mason said.