The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments September 14 and must now decide whether to weigh in on a federal lawsuit that pits the water supplier for 500,000 central Iowa residents against upstream farmers accused of contaminating rivers with nitrates from crop fertilizer. The case was filed by Des Moines Water Works, challenging the immunity enjoyed by agriculture drainage districts from lawsuits and whether the water utility can seek monetary damages. Water Works says it spent $1.5 million last year alone to remove nitrate from water drawn from the Raccoon and Skunk to meet federal health standards. Water Works sued three northwest Iowa counties, Buena Vista, Calhoun, and Sac, that oversee 10 agricultural drainage districts. The lawsuit is seeking to overturn a century of legal precedent that has protected the drainage systems. The lawsuit has farm groups worried. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the state associations for corn and soybean growers have offered to help pay the counties’ legal bills.
Don’t screw up what we already have. That’s the word from the agricultural field to elected representatives in Washington concerning farm bill talks and budget proposals. Read moreRead More »
In a unanimous decision issued on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that challenges to the 2015 Clean Water Act Waters of the United States rule should have been brought in district courts, not courts of appeals. This result was widely expected and predicted, though most were expecting a 6-3[…]Read More »