Dems: Water quality deserves dedicated funding

May 19, 2016
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During the 2016 session, legislators considered several options for improving Iowa’s water quality. The plans floated by the Governor and House Republicans, however, had little or no support in the Senate.

 

The Branstad-Reynolds Administration proposed taking money from schools to pay for water quality improvements. Our schools have faced several lean years and have made significant cuts to make ends meet. Not surprisingly, taking more money from schools met with opposition from families, educators, local communities and state senators from both sides of the aisle. Our students and schools need the money that’s been set aside for them.

 

Water quality is also a priority that deserves dedicated funding. Our economy and quality of life depend on a healthy environment. That’s why we continue to look for a long-term solution to address Iowa’s water quality challenges. Next session, I hope we can take a bipartisan approach to the problem, without shortchanging other priorities.

 

In the meantime, we did approve several initiatives this year that will build on our ongoing water quality improvement efforts, including:

  • Cleaning up the last of Iowa’s Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (HF 2464).
  • Increasing penalties for illegal dumping (HF 2385).
  • Committing $16.7 million from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund for water quality and lake restoration efforts (SF 2324).
  • Providing $3.2 million for soil and water conservation projects through Iowa’s popular Resource Enhancement and Protection program (HF 2454).
  • Approving $18.8 million in the Ag & Natural Resources Budget for water quality and soil conservation projects, research and facilities (HF 2454).

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