Iowa's livestock producers will face stricter water quality regulations if new rules approved by state environmental commissioners survive expected challenges in the Iowa Legislature.

The governor-appointed Iowa Environmental Protection Commission voted 7-1 to approve new limits on bacteria, ammonia and other pollutants in streams. The new river rules could cost 334 cities close to $1 billion over the next decade or two for new or improved sewage treatment plants.

"We all want clean water," says Christina Gruenhagen of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. "Farmers want clean water. The question is: What are Iowans willing to pay for it?" She contends that the protections go too far.

Jeff Vonk, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, expects that state lawmakers will delay the rules, which will review them and may seek alternatives.

Wayne Gieselman, Iowa's environmental protection chief, says the new limits can’t be forced on farms. "However, if we are ever to expect action out of agriculture, we need these standards so people know what we expect," he says.

Another rules that Gieselman expects widespread support of would give the DNR a broader range of environmental factors to consider when deciding whether to allow new livestock feedlots and confinements. That rule will face a final vote in the spring following a series of public hearings.

Vonk claims the rules are essential to clean up waterways. However, Des Moines lawyer Michael Blaser says that the state's move to further limit livestock operations' locations is vague and in the domain of state lawmakers, not the DNR.

Des Moines Register