Prichard says water quality bill 'a step in right direction'
Last week, the Iowa Legislature sent a state water quality bill to Gov. Kim Reynolds for her signature.
The bill passed along mostly party lines in the Republican-controlled House and Senate, but four Democrats voted for it in the House. One of them was Rep. Todd Prichard, D-Charles City.
The bill is a first, small, step and dedicates $25 million a year toward water quality, Prichard said.
“It creates assistant funds that’ll help agricultural practices,” he said. “It also steps up a fund that will help with point sources.”
And there is financing in the bill for cities to update their wastewater treatment, Prichard told the Press Wednesday.
“It doesn’t do enough,” he said. “It doesn’t provide enough funding. It doesn’t go far on providing funding on the local level. It’s not a big enough bill.”
Still, he said, having something in place to assist that wasn’t there before is important.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Prichard said. “The real mistake would be to say ‘we’ve addressed it.’ We’re only beginning to address it. This has got to be viewed as just a small step.”
Prichard said there weren’t enough votes to move a House bill that he favored back to a conference committee, even though every Democrat voted for it. Then the House took up a Senate bill that had passed last session and was still alive. That bill passed 59-41, including Prichard’s yes vote.
Sen. Waylon Brown, R-St. Ansgar, also voted in support of the bill.
Iowa’s main agriculture department and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey supported the final bill, as did groups like the Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Corn Growers Association.
But several organizations have come out against the final version of the bill, including the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Farmers Union and the Iowa Environmental Council.
For more of this article, see Tuesday's Tribune.