Governor Tom Vilsack says Iowa farmers could face new restrictions as the state attempts to clean up waterways that have been designated by the feds as “impaired” because of pollution. Vislack says “clearly, if we continue to do what we’re doing, we’re going to continue to get what we’re getting.” He says buffer strips and wetland restoration projects aren’t enough to deal with the problem.Vilsack says there’ll be a water quality summit on November 24th and 25th in Ames to discuss just such an initiative. Since January, folks from state government, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the Iowa Environmental Council, the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities have been meeting privately to come up with a set of recommendations for cleaning up Iowa lakes and rivers.Vilsack says the state has “a very significant responsibility” to address the pollution problem now. He says it’s not just “bad actors” among the state’s row crop farmers, but that over-application of fertilizer is “pervasive.” Vilsack warns the federal government will step in and propose farm fertilizer restrictions if the state doesn’t do so first. Vilsack envisions restrictions that might be voluntary.Vilsack says urban Iowans will have to change their practices, too, in order to clean up the state’s waters. One-hundred-88 Iowa rivers, streams and lakes are classified by the E-P-A as “impaired” because of pollution. There are 72-thousand miles of waterways in Iowa.
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