# Water

IA-Sen: Patty Judge highlights support from women in first batch of endorsements

Claiming to have “a broad, statewide network that can work together to defeat Chuck Grassley,” former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge today released a list of nearly 60 prominent Iowa Democrats supporting her candidacy for U.S. Senate. I enclose below the full campaign statement, which highlighted endorsements from:

• “every living Democratic woman to hold a statewide office in Iowa,” namely former Attorney General Bonnie Campbell, former Secretary of State Elaine Baxter, and former Lieutenant Governors Sally Pederson and Jo Ann Zimmerman. Gender will be a factor for many Iowa Democrats weighing their choices in the four-way IA-Sen primary.

• “activists and community leaders,” such as LGBTQ advocates Nate Monson, Cecilia Martinez, and Bobbi Fogle; Jill June, the longtime leader of Iowa’s largest Planned Parenthood chapter; Joe Henry, national vice president of the League of United Latin American Citizens; and former Secretary of State nominee Brad Anderson.

• “current and former elected officials,” including former U.S. Representative Leonard Boswell, Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald, former Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, and former Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran.

• former Iowa Democratic Party chairs Rob Tully and Michael Kiernan (and Bonnie Campbell), along with current and former county party chairs.

Also worth noting:

• While Judge’s list is heavy on Iowans who backed Hillary Clinton for president, it includes some well-known Bernie Sanders endorsers like Gluba and Henry.

• Judge has not peeled away any of the 61 Democratic state lawmakers (including 25 women) who endorsed State Senator Rob Hogg for IA-Sen earlier this year, before the former lieutenant governor and Iowa secretary of agriculture was known to be considering this race.

Any comments about the Senate campaign are welcome in this thread. With all respect to Judge and the women and men named below, someone who aligned herself with the Iowa Farm Bureau against efforts to clean up waterways will never get my vote in a Democratic primary.

P.S.- I got a kick out of seeing both Joe Henry and Des Moines activist Sean Bagniewski on Judge’s supporter list. Less than two weeks ago, they were key players on opposite sides in the epic drama also known as the Polk County Democratic Convention.

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Time for Tom Vilsack to show leadership on weed control

Commenting on the latest evidence of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" spreading in Iowa, Drake Law Professor Neil Hamilton argued in an editorial this week that we must not embrace "solutions" offered by biotech companies that "will simply repeat our mistakes."

Hamilton's appeal was not addressed to any specific person. Yet one Iowan is uniquely positioned to heed his warning: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. As the USDA considers the biotech industry's "next silver bullet solution" for herbicide-resistant weeds, Vilsack should think hard about the risks, "rather than just believing people who have some shiny new product to sell," in Hamilton's words. Vilsack's record raises doubts about whether he is up to this task.

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Iowa House Democrats afraid to stand up to Big Ag

Although the 60-40 Republican majority leaves Iowa House Democrats few opportunities to block legislation, the Democratic caucus has taken a high-profile stands against some GOP proposals this year. House Democrats spoke passionately against preschool cuts in the first major bill of the 2011 session. Democrats fought the GOP's bill to restrict collective bargaining at public rallies, all night in the House Labor Committee and for days on the House floor. The ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee spoke out against the GOP's income tax cut bill, and Democrats tried to redirect that proposal toward middle income Iowans.

In contrast, House Democrats have made little noise about bills that elevate the needs of agribusiness over the public interest. Earlier this month, nearly a quarter of the Democratic caucus voted to protect factory farms from undercover recordings to expose animal abuses. I saw no public comments from House minority leaders opposing that bill, which may well be unconstitutional.

Last week state representatives approved House File 643, which transfers several water quality responsibilities from the Department of Natural Resources to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. After minimal floor debate, seven Democrats voted with all the Republicans present for a bill that would impair efforts to limit water pollution. I saw no public comments or press releases from House minority leaders criticizing the bill or decrying its passage.

Follow me after the jump for more on House File 643 and its implications.

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Lots of Questions for Branstad Regarding Water Quality

Water quality monitoring and other water programs at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources–some federally mandated–are meant to protect the public health.  Yet a proposal to transfer several of these programs to the Department of Agriculture, say legislators, comes from Governor Branstad and is about making the programs “more efficient.”  How will these programs actually be more efficient if operated by IDALS? No one, who understands the actual operations of each program, seems to know.

With the potential public health impact, where are the studies that show that, unlike every other state in the nation, Iowa's water programs will be run “more efficiently” AND still be protective of public health if overseen by an elected official whose mission is “Advancing Iowa's Agricultural Interests,” when many of Iowa's agricultural groups have historically and actively lobbied against water quality protections?

Bill numbers are currently being assigned to these study bills, which passed out of Senate and House Committees last week. 

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House Bills Would Give IDALS Responsibility of Protecting Iowa's Water Quality

Governor Branstad and legislators are considering transferring Section 319/Clean Water Act compliance functions, water monitoring and other water quality protection programs from the DNR to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).  The 319 section of the Clean Water Act deals with non-point source pollution.  Agricultural practices are the primary source of non-point source pollution in Iowa. 

Secretary Northey and his department are very capable and trusted advocates for Iowa’s agricultural economy.  But the primary mission and priorities of his department are not about protecting water quality.  If transferred to IDALS, water quality would take a back seat to agricultural economic priorities.  Given the historical resistance to water quality restrictions by some groups representing agriculture, moving our water protection programs to IDALS could put politics before sound science. 

Also important to note is that Section 319 deals with urban sources of non-point pollution and IDALS does not have experience or expertise in addressing urban stormwater management issues.  Transfer of this responsibility will put protection of water quality for all Iowans at risk.

You can find an action alert and a sample message to send to Gov. Branstad and legislators at http://capwiz.com/iaenvironment/home/  

UPDATE from desmoinesdem: I posted background information from Iowa Rivers Revival and the Iowa Environmental Council after the jump.

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RALLY For Iowa's Water & Land Legacy - February 9, 2011

As many of you know, I work for Iowa's Water & Land Legacy Coalition in addition to my lucrative high paying career as a blogger under the tutelage of desmoinesdem.

Details are below, but we will be holding a public rally at the Iowa State Capitol on the morning of February 9th, 2011 to publicize Iowans support for fully funding the Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that was created through a vote of 63% of Iowans on November 2nd.

In addition to supporting the funding of the Trust Fund, we are also pushing back against efforts to ban public land acquisition by the Iowa DNR and cuts in REAP (Resource Enhancement & Protection).  These are important programs with water quality, soil conservation, and wildlife habitat benefits.  

You can visit www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org to learn more, but information about the rally is below. 

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