Iowa’s Democrat Governor and Republican leaders in the legislature have agreed on a water quality plan. It spends about 11-million dollars of state money — attracting an estimated 70-million in federal dollars for projects which range from planting buffer strips along rivers to testing the quality of Iowa riverwater. Governor Vilsack says the deal will make a significant step forward in the promise to give Iowans cleaner and better water.House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says the deal is an example of bi-partisan cooperation. Siegrist says the cooperation is there more often than not. He says there is still a lot to do in the area of the environment.Vilsack admits the plan hasn’t been given the green light by federal officials who threaten to step in and force the clean-up of 159 Iowa waterways which the E-P-A has ruled “impaired.” He says this should give the federal government more confidence. Vilsack says just a year ago, the state wasn’t even monitoring water quality.Up to four-hundred-thousand acres are targeted for conservation measures if the plan is fully utilized by farmers and others. Department of Natural Resources Director Paul Johnson says that’s a challenge. He says people have a right to crow about the good work they’ve completed. He says this is only a starting point and a tool to help people clean up their resources.Some environmentalists say the plan actually impedes government’s ability to clean-up fouled waterways. Greg Schrieber is a member of “Iowa STEP” — Iowa Students Towards Environment Protection. He says the bill does more to protect special interests than the water of Iowa.Schrieber is a student at Grinnell College, majoring in political science.
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