To the editor:
A bill was introduced this week in the Iowa House by Rep. David Sieck (R-Glenwood) that threatens public lands in Iowa. HF 542 is a direct attack on public lands and conservation in Iowa. It should be opposed in its entirety.
HF 542 handcuffs state agencies, county boards of supervisors and conservation boards, and communities big and small from acquiring land to expand or develop parks, trails, preserves, waterway access, wildlife habitat and even recreational amenities such as new museums or playgrounds.
It makes it more challenging to acquire land for conservation efforts to improve water quality in the state.
This bill strips local control, makes it harder for a private landowner to donate land for public use or do conservation practices on their own land and makes it harder for Iowans who wish to protect and develop treasured public spaces in their communities for the future.
Rural Iowa communities and businesses located along bike trails are seeing development and dollars. Community leaders across the state are talking about the need for outdoor recreation as a workforce recruitment tool.
Now is the time to invest in more conservation and outdoor recreation, not less.
The bill will go before the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Monday, March 4 at 10:30 a.m. Now is the time to contact members of that subcommittee to encourage them to vote against this bill.
Contact legislators on the Natural Resources Subcommittee today and ask that they oppose HF 542.
Angelisa Belden, Iowa Environmental Council