Don't RAPE REAP

(The author has been a Linn County Supervisor since 2009 and previously worked with the Iowa Senate Minority leader. Bleeding Heartland discussed the bipartisan effort to increase REAP funding to $25 million here. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I'm gonna go on a rant…about an attempted RAPE.

Yes, I mean every word and hyperbole I'm uttering on this post. REAP (Resource Enhancement & Protection) is being RAPED! For Agriculture…by agri-business…to correct it's mistakes in a supposedly free and private market of farming. How is this rape of taxpayer funds and DNR license plate fees occurring and for what specifically? Read on My friends. 

The Iowa House of Representatives wants to put REAP dollars toward agri-terrace projects, forestry management (subject to logging), and water nutrient pollution clean-up programs because farmland soil is laden with fertilizer chemicals. These are all worthy issues to be addressed on their own I say, and should indeed be addressed and monies put toward mitigation efforts. The Iowa Dept. Of Ag has jurisdiction on all these problems, and they should since their policies and practices created them in the first place.

This isn't an indictment of farmers, because most are great conservationists of their own free will as it's good business and good citizenship. I commend those Iowa farmers, especially my Linn County ones, who work hard to be responsible neighbors, citizens and conservationists…voluntarily I might add! But I don't give a pass to bad apples, policy-makers, or special interest Ag industry lobbyists.

Agri-business special interest groups and lobbyists in Des Moines don't share the commitment of our local and responsible farmers! I think our responsible local family farmers will be upset to learn that on REAP's 25th anniversary, when in 25 years it's never been fully funded, House Republican Ag Committee Member Jack Drake said “We are taking about $3 million out of the REAP program (which is only funded at $16 million instead of its $20 million preferred budget written into law) for soil conservation & forest management…” Drake said.

REAP is supposed to fund our special PUBLIC park projects, PUBLIC trails, PUBLIC lakes, rivers & waterways, and other PUBLIC recreational programs, to enhance and protect Iowa’s diverse natural and cultural resources and monuments. These environmentally dedicated funds are supposed to help clean up our land, soil and water too, but these REAP DEDICATED funds should not be “redistributed” like some Soviet Communist confiscation scheme to the benefit of a free enterprise industry and it's powerful lobbyists. No, no, no!

Shame on the Iowa House of Representatives. Stealing, yes stealing, from the already under-funded REAP fund which has put millions into public natural areas in Linn County and all 98 other counties for that matter since 1990, where EVERY citizen has been allowed to enjoy natural areas is just plain wrong! REAP funds should NOT be put toward agricultural industry concerns (a private enterprise) and doing so is absolutely unconscionable. What has happened to the Teddy Roosevelt tradition of the Republican Party! Why, WHY have you forsaken me?!!!

As a Republican, sadly I must turn to the Iowa Senate and Bob Dvorsky, Rob Hogg, Joe Bolkcom, Jeff Danielson to protect the already anemic funding proposal AND to work overtime to add an amendment for the immediate restoration of the stolen $3 million onto the original $16 million plan and then increase that proposal $9 million to $25 million, which can be added from the states overflow account for a one-time expenditure, to make REAP funding an even $25 million in honor of the 25th anniversary of the program. It's no gimmick, it's paying back a little owed to past generations you didn't fully invest in and future generations for which you owe a natural and preserved legacy. Just do it! You will be rewarded by the PEOPLE.

Hundreds of wildlife, hunting, & Eco-friendly groups support this $25 million proposal, or at the very least, fully funding the $20 million budget. Governor Branstad's son Marcus, who is an avid hunter and who sits on the DNR Board supports this along with the rest of that board (recorded vote and public record), our Linn County Supervisors UNANIMOUSLY support this, our Linn County Conservation Board unanimously supports this, as do hundreds of other public local officials, non-profit groups, thousands of trail enthusiasts, tens of thousands of Iowa cyclists, and millions of of Iowans who camp, kayak, canoe, boat, fish, hunt, jog, hike, bird watch, swim, ski, snowmobile…and on and on and on! Right Mark Langgin?

Funding of this size could help with not only maintaining trails, paths and nature centers, but also expanding and creating new recreational areas for all to enjoy.

It's a winner issue! Why would you ruin this anniversary Iowa House of Representatives? Democrats in the past have stolen money from this fund for bond funding of the boondoggle Honey Creek Resort & Golf Course, so I'm gonna be bi-partisan in my condemnation of the parties controlling the legislature. Why are you doing this and following that bad practice? For the almighty special interest agri-business Iowa Farm Bureau group and it's lobbyists? Can't you say no to them just once? On this anniversary? Say no dammit! The $25 million funding amount is in honor REAP’s milestone anniversary, it will be those who enjoy the outdoors who will ultimately “reap” the benefits. And it won't even come close to make up for two-and-half decades of underfunding…but it's a start.

On April 25, 1989, all 100 members of the Iowa House of Representatives approved the REAP bill in a non-partisan vote. The bill then went to the Iowa Senate where it passed 40-6.

Gov. Terry Branstad signed the legislation into law on May 27, 1989.

Please, PLEASE keep REAP pure, keep REAP as it was intended, keep REAP for the benefit of the ALL the people to enjoy! Stop the RAPE of REAP and walk away ashamed for not doing right by your children and grandchildren.

That is all. Rant done.

 

  • REAP originally was to be funded at $30 million

    When the REAP program was in its infancy, it was to be funded at $30 million.  Later that amount was reduced to $20 million.

    REAP has funded projects in every county.  It clearly benefits each and every Iowan.  

    Tragically it never ever gets the full funding that it deserves.

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