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.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Ahhhh..Fresh Spring Water Pollution On It’s Way...
[It’s the first astronomical day of Spring in 2017, and warehouses in Iowa are filling up with ag chemicals being readied to be splayed out across the 23 million acres of Iowa’s corn and soybeans. Regulation to prevent nutrient losses? Sorry, nope. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides too. Regulation(?) translates to either loss of personal rights or protection of public health. Likelihood of improvement in water quality: None.
Iowa Department of Ag reports 12 new urban urban-rural water project that will join work in 22 watersheds, and there is a state legislative push for a statewide 3/8th cent tax [public tax, with no ag tax] to improve Iowa’s natural resources, including water quality. So, that’s a good thing, right? Sorry, nope.
Remember, 23 million crop acres, no regulation and a drainage system that encourages rapid release of water from cropland that would only be effective every field had a water retainment system (really, a personal wetland is about the only chance), and a chemical application fee, and regulations that would limit application and measure both use to assess compliance and effectiveness to improve chemical retention, and a less intensive crop rotation--not going to happen.
What is also going to realistically happen is a deep restoration of he federal EPA recommendations and even the ability to talk about it. When functioning at its best, the EPA was aspiring in 2013 to seek a 45% reduction in nitrogen and phosphorous levels, and the scale of change to improve water quality would cost billions for decades.]
No more DMWW lawsuit, no more independent DMWW likely, so best of luck holding up those protest signs to reverse Ag $$$ grip on government changes.]
Your 2 Cents’ Worth excerpts, Part 8 [various readers submissions/ Des Moines Register]:
When I first moved to Iowa after growing up in a large urban area, I was surprised when I found out some Iowans didn’t like farmers. Wow, do I understand it now.
--The most self-promoting entitled polluters in the state
[Kinseth: Iowa Ag has used the state legislature to prevent legal recourse to rural community damage, abuse and nuisance concerns with factory farming. Whistle-blowing of animal abuse can be prosecuted. A current bill in progress would limit the rewards possible in lawsuits. The ability of rural communities to prevent large factory farms from being constructed has been made nearly impossible to oppose. Beyond mass animal-farming, any regulation to reduce water pollution or soil loss has been shot down in the Iowa legislature for decades. Modern farming as changed and become industrial but there is no industrial regulation.
Never as much as a peep from farmers saying these protections go to far, in fact there is a sense that these protections do not go far enough. So not liking farmers is a realistic response.]
I own a restaurant. I got tax breaks to open it. I pay no taxes for any basic supplies to run my business.
I throw my garbage in to the street and expect the public to pay for its cleanup. I make two basic meals to the point that there are not enough customers to keep me in business but have insurance paid for by the public to make sure that I stay in business.
I get paid by the government a percentage of each meal to continue making as many as I can even though there is no market to support it. Sound familiar?
Just a parallel scenario of farming.