Funding for Clean Water - It's just common sense....

Nobody will dispute the fact that Iowa's distinct character and our quality of life are directly tied to our state's natural resources. Iowa's land is the most heavily altered in the nation. Agriculture plays an INCREDIBLY important role in the state's economy and clean water touches everyone – in the form of drinking water, water to recreate in, and water to feed our crops/livestock. Iowa's parks and lakes receive more than 25 million visits each year, and our fertile soil provides the backbone to our economy.

It's time to get engaged and start motivating the public about this important resource.

The issue goes “hand-in-hand” with progressive priorities such as:

Farm to School
Local Foods
Sustainable Agriculture
Clean Water
Outdoor Education/Recreation
Climate Change

And many others.  This is an opportunity to engage the public on a meat and potatoes prioritiy for ALL Iowans.

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Simply put, protecting Iowa's water and soil is at the heart of this amendment. Specifically, we need a reliable and accountable revenue source to improve water quality and natural areas in Iowa.

Funding needs include fish and wildlife habitat and parks, trails, in addition to aiding in conservation of agricultural soils and restoring wetlands to protect against future flooding.

In 2008 and 2009, more than 90 percent of Iowa's state legislators overwhelmingly approved legislation that would establish the constitutionally protected Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. Why? Because Republicans and Democrats alike understood the need to protect our natural resources. Recent data from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows that 53% of Iowa's water sources rate “poor,” and Iowa currently loses an average of five tons of soil per acre each year due to erosion. Over 400 of Iowa's waters are deemed “impaired” and the number continues to rise.

The measure passed the legislature, but it still requires an affirmative vote by Iowans at the polls in November 2010.  

Funding to protect our natural resources remains at near historic lows. As of today, Iowa ranks 47th out of 50 states in funding for conservation, despite the fact that more than 27,000 Iowa jobs are supported by outdoor recreation.

The stakes for Iowa's natural resources are incredibly high, and future generations of Iowans are counting on us to do something. We must act now. We can prevent the permanent loss of land, water and wildlife and retain Iowa's quality of life and natural beauty so our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can enjoy the state the same way we do, but we need to act. The good news is, by cleaning up our water supply and conserving Iowa's soils, we have the opportunity to actually leave the state to future generations better than we found it.

Investing in clean water and Iowa's other natural resources provides quality of life opportunities close to home where Iowans can enjoy and appreciate healthy activities, natural areas and Iowa's beauty. Enhancing and developing more competitive outdoor “destinations” will attract visitors and businesses to the state and create jobs here at home.

In 2008, voters in Minnesota passed a similar Amendment with 56 percent of the vote. More than 30 years ago, Missouri provided constitutionally protected funding for its conservation programs and later reauthorized this funding after 20 years of progress. The time is now to start investing in Iowa's natural resources.

We have a proud history of farming, biking along the Heritage Trail, hiking the Loess Hills, fishing in Big Creek, and teaching our sons and daughters to appreciate wildlife. We must protect and enhance these opportunities to preserve our state's rich legacy. Several states and communities across the country are taking proactive measures to preserve their natural surroundings. The quality and condition of our natural resources is the responsibility of all Iowans.

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  • I'm voting No

    It’s wrong to set tax details or spending priorities in the constitution.  It’s about as bad as setting marriage rules in the constitution.

    • because it is hard to amend the Iowa constitution

      we are not in danger of ending up like California, with fiscal issues micromanaged through the ballot initiative process.

      I view this amendment as a last-ditch attempt to get adequate levels of funding for natural resources in Iowa. We have nearly the worst water quality in the country, and our state legislature has shown again and again that they just aren’t up to the task of confronting the issue (no matter which party is in control). A natural resources trust fund has worked well in other states and would be an asset to Iowa.

      I don’t agree with your marriage analogy, because no one’s civil rights are limited by setting up a Natural Resources Trust Fund.

    • agree to a certain extent, with caveats...and I'm voting YES

      There are no wealthy special interests with incredibly high paid lobbyists working to secure adequate funding levels for water quality and conservation programs.  This is an opportunity for us to speak up on clean water.  We will never make significant progress unless we let government know this is a priority.

      I agree with desmoinesdem – this isn’t taking any rights away…plus, it gives average citizens a voice in the appropriations process.

      Progressives (including myself) regularly talk about how politicians aren’t responsive to their issues.  This is an opportunity to “flip the script” and tell our elected officials that clean water is a priority, it has been neglected for FAR too long, and we need to approach this in a comprehensive fashion.

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