The Iowa Legislature took one small step to address the pollution of the states lakes and rivers, but the investment falls well short of what is needed to fix the problem.
In January the legislature passed Senate File 512, which funds water quality efforts by creating a new water excise tax. The excise tax is already collected, but the money currently goes to fund things like Medicaid and education.
The money will now go to the Water Quality Assistance Fund to help support drinking water and source water protection projects; a loan program designed to provide financial assistance to enhance surface and groundwater, and infield and edge of field conservation practices. Additionally, $15 million from the State’s Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund will be used beginning in 2021.
Opponents of the plan felt the plan does not provide sufficient money to cover the scope of the state’s water quality problem, and that there is little oversight for the money that is appropriated.
During debate on the legislation, House Republicans assured Democrats that additional meaningful legislation would be coming as the legislature progressed. However, no additional action was taken.