A state senator is calling on rural Iowans to “boycott” Des Moines in the wake of a lawsuit filed against three northwest Iowa counties.
Des Moines Water Works officials claim officials in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties have failed to adequately manage drainage districts in their area, causing nitrate levels in the water downstream to rise to record high levels.
Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, says farmers from around the state bring a lot of business to the capital city. “We go there to vacation, we go there to shop…and if they’re against rural Iowa, then we do not need to support their economic industry. Maybe we should boycott Des Moines,” Feenstra says. “Des Moines is being very arrogant in their mentality on this issue.”
Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey have also criticized Des Moines Water Works, claiming voluntary efforts to reduce nitrate levels will improve water quality.
Feenstra believes, over the past decade, “giant steps” have been taken to cleanup Iowa’s waterways. “I just think it’s maybe time to send Des Moines a clear message and say, you know what, if you don’t appreciate the farming community, then maybe we should stop going to your community and spending our funds there,” Feenstra says.
Leaders of Des Moines Water Works claim the nitrates spilling into the Raccoon River in northwest Iowa are threatening central Iowa’s drinking water supply and driving up the cost to remove pollutants.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton