I received this alert from the Sierra Club's Iowa Chapter:
Two years after a coalition, including the Iowa Chapter, petitioned the Environmental Protection Commission for rulemaking to strengthen Iowa's antidegradation rule, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is recommending "softer" language for protecting some of Iowa's waters. Once again, the DNR is succumbing to pressure from polluters to a less protective status for Iowa's water.
At issue is Tier 2.5 protection for Outstanding Iowa Waters. The DNR agreed early in discussions that Iowa's high-quality waters, outstanding state resources with exceptional recreational or ecological significance, needed this enhanced level of protection. Recently, the DNR changed the Outstanding Iowa Waters originally listed. Now only two of the waters listed in the new NOIA receive a pollution discharge. See a map of the proposed Outstanding Iowa Waters here. (pdf)
The DNR also proposes language that will make it more difficult to nominate future waters as Outstanding Iowa Waters. Although any individual or organization can nominate a surface water, the burden of proving that water is worthy falls on whoever is making the nomination. Draft language indicates that the water will by default receive less protection unless it is proven to deserve otherwise.
The Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter believes that the default should be maximum protection and the burden of proof should fall on the polluter.
Your comments about the proposed Outstanding Iowa Waters are important. Let the DNR know your experiences and why they should receive maximum protection.
Thanks for all that you do.
Sierra Club Iowa Chapter
Click here to see the list of creeks and lakes that the DNR designated as "Outstanding Iowa Waters" earlier this year. This Google document is the memo revising the list, removing all lakes and most of the creeks.
The Sierra Club makes it easy for you to e-mail the right people at the DNR with your comment on this issue. It's always better to personalize your message if you can, so you might want to look at this document to see whether any lakes or creeks you have enjoyed have been removed from the Outstanding Iowa Waters list. The Iowa Environmental Council provides much more background here on antidegradation rules and Outstanding Iowa Waters.
If you prefer to contact the DNR without going through the Sierra Club site, the Iowa Environmental Council has contact information for the right person here. Public comments must be received by September 15.
Water quality is a huge problem in Iowa already, so we need strong rules protecting our best waters from increased pollution. Please make your voice heard with the DNR.