Conservation groups are protesting proposed state budget cuts they say will end up hampering economic development as well as the environment. Elizabeth Horton Plasket of the Iowa Environmental Council says over the past two years, conservation programs have been cut 40 percent.Horton Plasket says that means cities and businesses have to spend the money to get air and water testing data themselves and end up having to get permits from the feds rather than the state. Horton Plasket says businesses that want to locate in Iowa can be “stopped cold” because of the bureaucratic nightmare of having to deal with the feds rather than the state. She cites the process of obtaining wastewater discharge permits as an example\, as she says there’s more bureacracy involved.Horton Plasket says economic development is linked to environmental progress, and when spending on natural resources programs is cut, it hurts the economy.