An environmental group is calling on the Iowa D-N-R and the state Attorney General to take a tougher stance on polluters of streams and rivers. Erin Jordahl, chapter director of the Sierra Club of Iowa, says the fines levied against polluters who cause massive fish kills are too small. She says the fines would make the companies take precautions beforehand, instead of waiting until an accident happens.An ammonia spill in Kossuth County caused Iowa’s largest-ever fish kill in mid-December. Nearly one-point-three million fish were killed along a 31-mile stretch of Lotts Creek and another 17 miles of the East Fork of the Des Moines River. The company responsible was fined nearly 150-thousand dollars. Jordahl couldn’t say how much the company -should- have been fined, but she says it should’ve been more.Jordahl says only sport fish killed are assessed in D-N-R fines. The fines do not take into account other types of fish and other creatures like beavers, otter, frogs, plants and anything else that dies when a chemical is dumped. She says habitual polluters actually would pay less for more accidents under the current system in Iowa.Jordahl calls on the D-N-R to develop a set of management practices that prevent accidents, while making fines steep enough to encourage responsible behavior.
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