In late summer, I would swim and stream-walk a small section of the Raccoon River. While sedimented for decades now, the water was clear in the shallows. For a few years now, the water is pea-green from edge-to-edge. For decades and worse now, this water has strongly contributed to a vast hypoxia zone in the Gulf.

In the 1980s, I wrote about the wisdom of the river, focusing on the Des Moines River as a living, very open metaphor for the essential streaming dynamic of the universe that is within us as well in the streaming of our body metabolism and thought.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Increasing Major Threats To Clean Iowa Water For 2017

Walnut Creek, Des Moines, 1/2017

Iowa Supreme Court decision:  Des Moines Water Works cannot sue another state body period, so no state legal pressure on farm chemical discharge.  Next up, beyond the state of Iowa, federal court arguments on clean water impact of water districts on water pollution without regulation by DMWW. Given coming federal departmental de-regulation as environmental policy that enhances business [SEE BELOW], any governmental mechanisms to monitor and require any environmental value outweighing business values would largely nix any legal DMWW gain.

Can you imagine how insensitive federal lawmakers would be regarding toxic agricultural runoff after this? Toxic chemicals and waste dumping as “excessive regulation:” U.S. House of Representatives voted to overturn a rule to prohibit dumping of coal mining wastes in nearby streams, seeing this rule as excessive regulation.  This is essentially regulation of streams and the environment that has been proven for decades to be toxic to the environment and, in turn, to human populations.  So more of this type of de-regulation to expand.

U.S. Supreme Court: “Waters Of America” case likely to be heard soon to either support or overturn U. S. EPA ruling that would require land owners, ranging from farmers to golf courses, to obtain a permit to apply chemicals to land that would discharge into waters.  Trump’s pick for U.S. Supreme Court may be in place to participate in this decision, and that likely means landowners rights trump public rights.

Federal environmental de-regulation: U.S. Federal Departments of Energy and Interior and EPA will be directed by new Trump appointees, with current nominations having histories of opposing these agencies to the point of wanting to abolish them, and explicitly stating for sure that they want to undue restrictions ASAP.  The overall theme is one of de-regulation that lessens both responsibility and cost for damage to water quality.  There will also be a focus on reducing monitoring because it fosters calls for regulation.  The focus in business ann this ideological approach is self-regulation and it is evident how that means no regulation.

Pipeline expansion: Trump’s executive presidential memorandum  to approve and expand oil pipeline infrastructure:  (a) directing the secretary of the Army to review and approve completion the Dakota Access Pipeline that will be capable of pumping one billion gallons of toxic waste at any one time through it’s large 30” pipes over 1,172 miles and (b) to encourage the Keystone XL pipeline to reapply after being nixed by Obama. The Magellan Midstream Partners 12 “ wide diesel pipeline in Worth County, Iowa recently ruptured releasing 46,830 gallons.

Selling federal land:  U. S. House of Representatives first passed a new rule package with one of the new rules declaring “lands are worthless.”  For example, this will allow a new bill, H.R. 621 to sell 3.2 million acres of public land as “worthless” to generate new $$$ for government.  Public lands including formal national parks and refuges and so forth are estimated to be worth mucho-billions.  While public lands such parks and refuges and national forests and grasslands will not be sold, we can expect more opening of such lands for leased use as well as a lessening of now restricted activities in such landscapes.

 2017 State of Iowa Budget cuts affecting environment: EXAMPLES: Cuts in Department of Energy and Department of Natural Resources (monitors toxic spills) and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Lands Stewardship (that is tries to implement an Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy).  

A lower incoming statewide tax base will promote more farm production to sustain.  Trump’s anticipated taxes on foreign imports will likely reduce Iowa farm exports as a foreign reaction, and this will further reduce statewide tax contributions from agriculture.

Other major factors are described in these recent Iowa Water posts:
The Pending Trifecta of Disaster For Iowa Water Quality 11/28/16, and

Iowa Water Stats of Interest 12/16/16

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