As The Gazette covers legislative issues for 2013, I hope natural resources funding, watershed management, and water quality receive more attention.
Over the last five years, Iowa has been hammered by disasters, and not just the well-publicized flood of 2008 and drought of 2012. There were many smaller disasters that affected numerous communities across our state, too. One can look at those communities along the Missouri River in 2011, small communities along rivers and streams in northeast Iowa and even close to home with Indian Creek.
These disasters have cost farmers, businesses and taxpayers literally billions of dollars. Iowa could reduce future disaster damage by investing in our natural resources.
This would also reduce the chances of a lawsuit by the fishing industry from the Gulf of Mexico over the hypoxia “dead zone” in the Gulf, or a takeover of clean water enforcement in the state by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Voters have also spoken up in favor of funding natural resources. That’s why Iowa’s water and land legacy amendment to our Constitution passed with 63 percent of the vote in 2010 (unfortunately this does not come into effect until the state raises the sales tax).
Natural resources funding is good for jobs and the economy, recreation, disaster prevention, clean water, and the environment. I hope legislators invest in natural resources and I hope The Gazette covers this issue.
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