Letter to the editor: Water polluters should pay to clean up own mess


To the editor:

Gov. Branstad recently proposed we divert a portion of the sales tax currently earmarked for our kid’s education to help clean up Iowa’s highly polluted water. While it was heartening to hear the governor finally acknowledge that the much ballyhooed “Voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy” is a miserable failure, it was deeply disappointing to hear his solution was to make our kids suffer in order to fix it.

Almost all of the nitrogen run off in Iowa is the result of agricultural activity. Research conducted at Iowa State University leaves no doubt about this. So why would the Governor propose all Iowans pay for a solution rather than make the polluters and those who directly benefit from the pollution pay for it?

Why not build a nitrogen fund with a tax levied on the sale of John Deere tractors, a tax on the pork products sold at the grocery store, a tax on fertilizers sold to farmers and a hefty tax on the multinationals that own the majority of Iowa’s hogs?

Iowans already foot the bill for agricultural pollution. Water customers will likely soon have to pay millions to have the burgeoning nitrate load removed from our water. Why not ask the polluters and those who benefit from the pollution to pick up the tab?

Joe Monahan


  1. Joe from Boone is correct. Iowa’s original prairies had little free nitrogen. Iowa’s original efficient ecological system recycled nutrients and captured water in huge, complex root systems. When we look at native and reconstructed prairies, we only see 1/3 of the plant growth. 2/3 of the prairie grows underground, storing carbon and nitrogen and intercepting rainfall so there are few flood events. Iowa’s historic “flood” events are a function of a disrupted landscape.

    When politicians and industry-owned “agriculture scientists” blame the weather, it is a lie fabricated to distract an uninformed public from the real criminals – those who pump chemicals and pig sewage onto the landscape, externalizing their costs, making the rest of us pay with our health and at the tap for cleaning the water before we dare drink it.

    Sadly, all of our wildlife species do not have access to treated water. These community members are at the mercy of politicians, Terrace Hill and the Monsanto cheerleaders. Citizens must say to the puppet governor, “Sir! Have you no Shame?!”.


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