The Iowa Supreme Court rules two people appointed to the Environmental Protection Commission by then Governor Chet Culver were qualified to serve. Iowa Farm Bureau Federation the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Water Environment Association sought to have rules implementing the federal Clean Water regulations thrown out.
Those groups say then EPC member Susan Heathcote had a conflict of interest because she was employed by Iowa Environmental Council. They also said then commissioner Carrie La Seur was not eligible to vote because she had moved to Montana. The Iowa Supreme Court ruling says in the case of Heathcote, the nature of rulemaking does not disqualify a commission member from voting to adopt rules she personally and professionally supported.
As for La Suer, the court concludes that the disqualification of a commission member does not invalidate the action taken by the commission when the particular disqualification did not undermine the integrity of the process and when the public interest supports validating the rule despite the disqualification.
Justice Thomas Waterman disagreed with the decision on La Seur. He says it is undisputed La Seur lost her status to vote in Iowa — which was required to be on the commission — when she moved to Montana and registered to vote there. He says that should have invalidated the commission’s vote on the rules. Justices Waterman and Zager joined his dissent.
Here’s the full ruling: EPC Commission ruling PDF