The Iowa Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would let cities and towns regulate the use of lawn chemicals. Currently, Iowa law bans municipalities from passing tougher chemical regulations than the state.
Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, says local communities should be allowed to protect their waterways from fertilizers containing phosphorus.
"The bill lets cities take responsibility for their contribution to water pollution in this state," Quirmbach said. Critics, including the Farm Bureau and the Monsanto Corporation, say the bill could open the door to local control of regulation of farm chemicals. But, Quirmbach says the bill is strictly limited to cities.
"Agriculture is not touched here in any way. We’ve been very careful not to cross that line," Quirmbach said. "But, this is an important step forward for urban communities." A handful of Democrats joined minority Republicans voting against the bill, which passed 28-22 and now goes to the House.