Thursday, September 23, 2021

Play

States are poised to help resettle Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military exit; efforts emerge to help Native Americans gain more clean energy independence.

Play

Sen. Mitch McConnell refuses to support raising the debt ceiling; Biden administration pledges $500 million of COVID vaccine doses globally; and U.S. military says it's taking steps to combat sexual assault.

Play

A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Iowa Supreme Court to Hear Raccoon River Lawsuit in 2020

Play

Wednesday, December 4, 2019   

DES MOINES, Iowa – A lawsuit over nutrient pollution in a portion of Iowa's Raccoon River will stretch into 2020 as arguments are heard by the Iowa Supreme Court.

A district judge has rejected the state's request to dismiss the lawsuit, brought by two nonprofits – Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food and Water Watch. Instead, the state's high court will determine if the suit moves forward.

Brent Newell of California-based Public Justice, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said he believes a common law known as the "public trust doctrine" has been violated.

"What this lawsuit does is, it sets out legal arguments for why that right exists in Iowa law, and why the state has a duty to protect the public's right to clean water," Newell said.

Iowa CCI and other groups have tried for years to slow the growth of the hog industry in Iowa. The lawsuit asks the court to order mandatory limits on nitrogen and phosphorous pollution entering the Raccoon River watershed. The portion of the river mentioned in the suit is between the Des Moines River confluence and the Dallas/Polk county line.

The suit also asks the courts to issue a moratorium on new and expanding hog-confinement facilities in the watershed. Abby Landhuis, a lobbyist with the Iowa CCI's Action Fund, said Iowans deserve clean water.

"There's a lot of factory farms upstream from the Raccoon River, and so, it is one of the most polluted waterways," said Landhuis. "And it's significant because it provides drinking water to all of the metro surrounding Des Moines, so that's half a million people."

Two years ago, a similar lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Water Works over high nitrate levels was dismissed by a federal judge who suggested Iowa's water quality is an issue for the Legislature. State lawmakers implemented the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy – but Newell argued that, because it's only voluntary, it isn't enough.

"And clean water shouldn't be a blue issue, it shouldn't be a red issue," he said. "It is the right of Iowans to have clean water, and that's what we hope the Iowa Supreme Court will ultimately recognize."

Iowa's high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus contribute to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone each summer and exacerbate toxic blue-green algae blooms in Iowa's lakes.

Details of the lawsuit are online at publicjustice.net.


get more stories like this via email

Political canvassing across the country dropped dramatically during the 2020 election due to concerns over COVID-19 transmission via in-person door-knocking. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

LEWISBURG, W.Va. -- Political canvassers and organizers in the state are expecting they will continue to struggle with challenges to traditional …


Environment

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A federal court agreed with conservationists this week, ordering winter feeding of elk on the Bridger-Teton National Forest …

Social Issues

FARGO, N.D. -- In the near future, North Dakota is poised to help resettle 49 Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military …


Local opposition to the proposed land swap was strong before the Idaho Department of Lands rejected the deal. (PNS/Corbeil)

Environment

MCCALL, Idaho -- After the rejection of a developer's proposed land swap near Payette Lake, a coalition of groups wants the state to do the opposite…

Health and Wellness

DENVER -- Colorado's ability to respond to COVID-19 was blunted by decades of disinvestment in critical public services, according to a new report…

Beginning in 2022, Nebraska's Department of Education will begin offering farm-to-school producer training in various regions of the state. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

GERING, Neb. -- With school back in session, many Nebraska students will be fueled by fresh beef, fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms…

Social Issues

By Abaki Beck for Yes!Media.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Environment

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Farm bureaus and agricultural leaders of Chesapeake Bay watershed states are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund a …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021