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Monday, June 10, 2024

IEC models Minnesota in seeking water protections

IEC models Minnesota in seeking water protections

A petition to manage nitrate pollution in northeast Iowa’s Driftless Area is trying to follow the successful approach in Minnesota to implementing federal Clean Water Act protections. Iowa Environmental Council attorney Mike Schmidt says the Iowa petition to the E-P-A will be modeled after Minnesota because of geological similarities.

"Minnesota issues permits, or issues a general permit, covering more than 12-hundred facilities. Iowa has even more concentrated animal feeding operations, but fewer than 200 of those with permits under the Clean Water Act," he says.

Schmidt says water quality challenges associated with the Driftless Area go beyond state lines.

"The facts of the Minnesota case are extremely similar to Iowa because it’s the same geologic formation," Schmidt says. "Southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa, the Driftless Area and the Karst terrain do not follow a political boundary, it is a geological formation."

Part of the E-P-A’s protections would include assistance for the region’s private well owners in danger of nitrate pollution. The I-E-C petitioned the E-P-A unsuccessfully for those protections for northeast Iowa in 2022.

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