Governor Tom Vilsack says when it comes to water quality problems in Iowa, “we are all part of the problem.” During a speech this morning at a water quality “summit” in Ames, Vilsack says everyone has to be part of the solution. Vilsack says the 500 Iowans who’re attending today’s summit “seek a better Iowa.” The event has drawn farmers, researchers, business leaders and environmentalists. Vilsack says it’s time to seek consensus, because the various groups have more in common than they sometimes like to admit. Vilsack says he hopes the summit rekindles a respect for the environment he believes has eroded over generations. Vilsack says improving water quality in Iowa “will require changing our ways of thinking and how we do things.” Vilsack says change is never easy and almost always requires courage. He says lawmakers, business owners and farmers must be encouraged to make decisions that will lead and contribute to clean water. The E-P-A has classified about 200 Iowa streams and lakes are “impaired” waterways due to pollution, and Governor Vilsack has told state environmental officials he wants all those waterways cleaned up and off the list by 2010. Vilsack says today’s “historic” meeting can yield results that might seem impossible today, but Vilsack says when Iowans are challenged to think in the longterm and in the interest of future generations, there’s nothing they can’t accomplish.
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