Capitol Update: Week 1

Water Impairments Do Not Mean Pollution

Each year thousands of Iowans enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating in our state’s waterways.  Yet, many people continue to be concerned about the number of water impairments in Iowa.  I firmly believe that Iowans can safely use the vast majority of our state’s waterways and the water impairments are broadly overstated.

It takes very little for a body of water to be ‘impaired.’  At the time the Clean Water Act was created our waters were truly polluted with industrial waste, plastic, and other chemicals.  The Clean Water Act created broad designations for water uses.  The EPA has used these guidelines to create standards that are difficult if not impossible to meet.  A lake or river may have many uses or designations and if just one does not meet these strict EPA standards then the waterbody is declared impaired.

The vast majority of Iowa’s water impairments are considered low priority.  This essentially means that very little can be done to take the stream or lake to get off of the impairment list.  It also means that a cause for impairment may be impossible to determine.  Possible causes may be that there is not enough shade over a stream resulting in warmer water than required or that carp have stirred up too much sediment.   These impairments are simply caused by Mother Nature and do not affect Iowan’s opportunities to enjoy their waterways.

News from District 96

This was a busy first week back in Des Moines that was filled with speeches and new introductions.  I am humbled that Iowans from House District 96 have once again reelected me to serve as their Representative.  This session we have fifteen new representatives and eight new senators.

On Tuesday the Governor gave what he called his final State of the State Address.  Governor Branstad reflected on various items from his time in office as well as his excitement to serve as Ambassador to China.  The Governor talked about increased highway deaths and urged the legislature to approach the issue of distracted driving.  Governor Branstad also discussed the current 110 million dollar shortfall in the FY 17 budget ending in June.  The Governor recommended various approaches to addressing the shortfall that the legislature will need to look at.

Upcoming Forums:

January 21st 9:00 am-11:00 am Jones County Farm Bureau Forum at the National Motorcycle Museum

January 27th 12:00 pm-1:00 pm Jones County Economic Development Forum at the Monticello City Council Chambers

February 3rd 9:00 am-11:00 am Delaware County Farm Bureau Forum at the Delaware County Farm Bureau Office

Please get in touch with me about your thoughts and concerns as we move through the legislative session.


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