Letter to the editor: Iowa’s water quality rules a ‘bad joke’

The Raccoon River is polluted with nutrients. Photo courtesy John Norwood

To the editor:

It was 100 degrees on July 4, 1988. My son, son-in-law and I walked up the North Raccoon River from our farm to a cool fishing hole. The river was as low as I have ever seen it from drought.

After catching a nice smallmouth bass, I sank down to touch a boulder in the bottom of the pool at the base of a 70-foot “clay bank.” My head was under water, my arms above my head, only the tips of my finger protruded from the water.

We were not worried about swimming in the Raccoon back then.

Yesterday I visited my rock bar on our farm. I own the bank, rock bar, two sand bars and the river bottom. The water belongs to all Iowans.

Sorry, Iowans, but your water is disgusting — right now — in early June. The water is the color of pea soup. The algae is thick like a farm pond below a CAFO.

Why? We all know by now: nutrients — nitrate and phosphorus.

The previous federal administration stopped Obama’s efforts to reverse the degradation of our waters. There is an anti-degradation provision in the Clean Water Act that is ignored. Our waters were supposed to get better after 1972.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a bad joke.

Because I testified before the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission, I was labeled an “anti-livestock activist” in the Farm Bureau Spokesman. Rush Limbaugh called me and people like me who defend our “Soil, Water, Air, Woods, Wildlife” — the Izaak Walton League slogan — “environmental wackos.”

Now comes the Biden Administration, saying, “The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers will craft a new set of protections for waterways that provide habitats for wildlife and safe drinking water for millions of Americans.”

“This is a gut punch to Iowans,” replied Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). “I will continue to stand up to onerous regulations the administration may seek to impose on our hard-working families.”

Nope! I will tell you what is a “gut punch.” Iowa policy makers who have sold out our state and its people for money and power. I do not believe Iowa should be a “sacrifice state.”

For what? For whom?

Mike Delaney
Windsor Heights


  1. Anyone who refers to a person who cares about the soil, water, woods and wildlife as an ‘Environmental Wacko’ is a heartless, careless person who doesn’t care about the soil, woods, water and wildlife. They don’t care if their own land and water are polluted? They are themselves ‘Wackos,’ A non-sense person.


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