Through the long arc of history, the Iowa Supreme Court has developed a reputation for judicial courage that often puts it ahead of many other courts when crafting groundbreaking decisions before important legal concepts become widely accepted. The issues have been meaty, and controversial, especially here in the middle of America. Iowa has been a leader with landmark rulings on slavery, school desegregation and gay marriage. But Friday, the Supreme Court passed up the opportunity to add to its legacy. In time, history will tell us just how far reaching this latest decision turns out to be, legally and environmentally.
Through the years, the Iowa Legislature is the place where Iowans gather to debate the biggest issues and challenges facing our state. It has been this way for 175 years.
The 2021 session is days from adjournment, but there has been precious little time spent discussing one of the thorniest problems confronting this state in decades or looking for solutions. The issue is the quality of our water. Our lakes, streams and rivers are so polluted with agricultural runoff that experts urge people, for health reasons, to not swim in many lakes and to avoid eating fish caught in certain rivers. While most lawmakers dodge this issue, a University of Iowa researcher has become a no-nonsense voice on the problem and its solutions. Chris Jones is a scientist at the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research. Water quality is his area of expertise.
ByLauren Shotwell and Lyle Muller, with Jeff Stein |
An IowaWatch report told how the Iowans drinking water from private wells may not know what is in their water because their wells’ water quality is unregulated. Yet, some well owners were not concerned about it. Iowans tell how they cope in this IowaWatch Connection podcast.
Caffeine and a drug used to regulate blood sugar levels for people with Type 2 diabetes wash down the drain every day to become some of the most common unregulated contaminants in Iowa’s public drinking water, an IowaWatch investigation revealed.
The Fund for Investigative Journalism has awarded IowaWatch’s Lauren Mills a $5,000 grant to support a journalism project in which she will examine Iowa’s water quality. This marks the third time the organization has given an IowaWatch reporter a grant and the second time it has given one to Mills, who is IowaWatch’s assistant editor, data analyst and reporter.
If voters approve the referendum, the next sales tax increase would generate millions of dollars for cleaning Iowa’s filthy waters, to help stop farm soil from washing into its streams and rivers and to develop new parks and trails.