Former Governor Terry Branstad’s brother has agreed to pay a $17,000 fine for environmental violations at his livestock operation near Forest City in north-central Iowa. The Iowa Attorney General’s office reports Monroe “Monte” Branstad had 900 cows in open lots and 200 in confinement buildings at the time of August 2008 violations.
Attorney General’s office spokesperson Bob Brammer says Branstad allowed sweet-corn silage runoff to enter the Winnebago River. “The D.N.R. investigated it at that time and traced it back up river (to Branstad’s farm),” Brammer said. “I think they found pollution and dead fish for at least 16 miles down the Winnebago River.”
Branstad stated in court papers that the pollution was “unintentional.” He also denied the pollution killed thousands of fish. “The issue of restitution or compensation for the fish kill still needs to be resolved administratively by the D.N.R,” Brammer said. D.N.R. officials say they do plan to seek restitution for the dead fish. Monte Branstad has been accused of environmental violations in the past.
Tuesday’s court order included payment of fines, plus interest for a March 2007 penalty for solid waste and open burning violations. Terry Branstad, a Republican, is seeking a fifth term as governor. Terry Branstad released his tax returns to the media last month and they showed he has no business relationship with his brother.