DNR has released another round of proposed rules for animal feeding operations (AFOs) and a draft regulatory analysis for public comment. While some proposed changes are positive, the proposed rules still do not protect groundwater and drinking water sources from pollution. We must again call on the DNR to strengthen the proposed rules to protect Iowa's waters, public health, and wildlife. Submit your comments to the DNR now.
In 2021, IEC petitioned for new rules to protect sensitive Iowa waters from feedlot pollution. We requested that the Environmental Protection Commission adopt rules to require water pollution monitoring systems, consideration of environmental factors before approval, and increased separation distance from karst terrain for new feedlots. Now, DNR is proposing changes to the rules – but not fulfilling what IEC requested.
To protect Iowa’s drinking water, Outstanding Iowa Waters, and other waters of the state, the adopted rules must require consideration of environmental factors and greater separation from karst terrain before approval of feedlot construction. Taking these steps can avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in pollution costs for Iowans.
The DNR must also move away from inefficient paper manure management plan submission and require submission through an online form. The plans must include geospatial data. This would allow DNR to use its limited resources to evaluate whether operators are complying with requirements and prevent inappropriate approvals of unacceptable plans.
The rules also need to reduce over-application of manure. The current approach results in pollution of Iowa’s groundwater and surface water with nitrate and phosphorus. The method in the proposed rules would change to reflect current science of the nutrients a crop can actually use, which could significantly improve water quality. The livestock industry does not want to see this change go through – we must demonstrate support for the rule change.
Please use the email form at right to submit your comments to the DNR by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 26.
Please forward this email to friends, family, or colleagues in Iowa who might be interested.