ACTION: Help protect outstanding Iowa waters

Political journalists tend to write about laws and executive orders, but some of the most important policy decisions take place during the rulemaking process within executive branch agencies.

Last month I wrote about rulemaking at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that will affect the highest-quality waters in Iowa. These rules will determine which lakes and streams receive the "Outstanding Iowa Waters" designation, as well as the level of protection those waterways receive from future polluters.

The Iowa Environmental Council's monthly newsletter arrived today, and it contained the following action alert:

Currently underway at the Iowa DNR is a rule-making package that includes protections for Iowa's very best, few remaining high quality waters. From now through November 10, 2009, they are accepting public comments/letters, which will help them decide whether to designate 6 Iowa lakes and 32 streams as Outstanding Iowa Waters. This designation will provide protections which keep the water quality in these water bodies from becoming degraded. In addition, the Iowa Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee also needs to hear from Iowans about these designations.

Follow this link to learn more about Outstanding Iowa Waters.

Follow this link to learn more about Antidegradation Rules and Outstanding Iowa Waters

Three Ways you can help protect Iowa's Outstanding Iowa Waters...

1) Follow this link to send a comment letter to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and your State Senator and Representative. LINK to ACTION ALERT and SAMPLE LETTER. This letter must be sent no later than November 10, 2009.

2) Attend and speak out at a public meeting in Des Moines on November 10, in the Wallace Building Auditorium, at 1:00 p.m. Public meetings, let the DNR hear directly from local citizens about the value they place on clean water.  At these meetings the public can provide oral testimony on the record demonstrating their support for the designation and protection of the nominated waters.  TALKING POINTS

3) Attend a meeting of the Iowa Legislative Administrative Rules Committee, also on November 10, at the Capitol, at 9:00 a.m., in room 24 (behind the Senate Chambers) and present your comments to the Committee. TALKING POINTS

If you have questions or need help with your comments, contact Shannan Garretson at the Iowa Environmental Council at 515-244-1194 ext 211, email or contact Susan Heathcote at extension 205, email

If the talking points links don't work from here, you can find them on this page of the IEC's website.

Remember, the public comment period ends on November 10. Please take a few minutes to make your voice heard, and pass this link along to friends who like paddling, fishing or are just passionate about Iowa lakes and streams.

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