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Lawmakers respond to Reynolds’ challenge

By Staff | Mar 2, 2018

Protecting and enhancing the quality of the Hawkeye State’s water resources is vitally important.

That’s why Gov. Kim Reynolds made a strong request to Iowa lawmakers in her Condition of the State address on Jan. 9. She urged them to make clean water legislation that had been stalled in the 2017 legislative session a priority for passage this year.

They did so. That gave Reynolds her first legislative victory of 2018.

“I am proud that the first piece of legislation I will sign as governor will be a water quality bill,” Reynolds said, shortly after the bill was passed. “This will go a long way towards our goal of providing a long-term, dedicated and growing revenue source to help fund and scale best practices through the already successful Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey had praise for both the governor and those members of the Legislature who backed this important legislation.

“Passage of this long-term water quality funding bill with bipartisan support is a tremendous next step as we work to continue scaling up the water quality efforts underway statewide,” he said in a statement released by his office. “We have seen Iowans all across the state taking on the challenge of improving water quality and this funding will help us build on these efforts.”

This legislation is an important step forward in a long-term water quality improvement strategy. Its $282 million commitment for the years ahead is a welcome acknowledgment that the work needed to keep out water clean won’t be cheap. Some critics say that this is insufficient funding for such an important undertaking. That, however, misses the point. This isn’t the end of dialogue on this important matter. Rather it is a substantial and important move in the right direction. That point was underlined by the governor in her initial reaction to the bill’s passage.

“But make no mistake. Passing this long-awaited legislation does not mean the water quality discussion is over,” the governor said. “It should ignite a continuing conversation as we begin to implement and scale best practices that will continue to make an impact on water quality in Iowa.”

Farm News applauds Reynolds for her leadership on this crucial issue. We salute lawmakers for responding so promptly to her request for action.

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