Letter to the Editor | Protecting our waters statewide

Iowa needs to focus on protecting safe-drinking water.


Ayrton Breckenridge

University of Iowa Environmental Coalition members and 100 Grannies members protest on the Pentacrest on Friday, April 16, 2021, over the use of pesticides. The groups listed all the pesticides used on campus along with their health and environmental effects.

What happens when the state abdicates its responsibility to protect our waterways upon which we depend for safe-drinking water?  We make the national news, but not the kind of news that makes you proud to be an Iowan. Iowa just made national news that reminds us that too many of our politicians are in the pocket of big corporations, big meatpacking companies, and big agriculture.

The Raccoon River was recently named one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers.  The writing is on the wall; the pollution of the Raccoon River is a warning sign and has been for some time.  The fact that one of the primary causes of pollution in the Raccoon River and over 600 other waterways in Iowa is factory farms should make us all very nervous.  While my own drinking water doesn’t come from the Raccoon river, there are factory farms around my town, county, and over 10,000 spread throughout the state.  And the number of new factory farms grows every year.  Food & Water Watch estimates that factory farmed hogs in Iowa produce twice as much manure as the New York City metro area and too much of that ends up in our water.

If the number of factory farms continues to grow, it’s only a matter of time before all our rivers will be on the Most Endangered list. Our state Legislature has proven time and time again that it can’t be trusted to handle this problem.  Food & Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for support. I agree. We need to stop digging our own graves with respect to safe water. In addition to the EPA ramping up regulation and enforcement, we also need our state legislators to stop the expansion of the industry, and place a moratorium on new factory farms for good.

– Sandra Alper, Iowa City resident


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