Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement said implementation of the state’s new nutrient management plan lacks require needed regular inspections of livestock farms and doesn’t have strong enough enforcement measures.
The group insisted on meeting with McCarthy to provide their input on the plan. She met with ICCI, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Iowa Sierra Club briefly at the airport in Des Moines before departing Thursday.
The groups said they pushed her to “hold Iowa’s factory farms accountable for Clean Water Act violations.” ICCI member Cherie Mortice said the discussion included hog confinement operations and how human error can cause major manure leaks into streams.
She said they also spoke with McCarthy about 628 polluted water bodies in Iowa and 8,000 animal confinement operations in the state. Mortice said McCarthy seemed surprised by the figures.
“I would say her demeanor and body language said to us she was impacted by stories and our experience and the utter disappointment we felt in terms of the lack of regulation of this industry,” Mortice said.
Tarah Heinzen, attorney for the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, said any inspection process that fails to require clean water permits for large-scale livestock farms will not adequately protect water quality in Iowa.
Branstad said in an interview after McCarthy’s speech that he’s pleased she’s meeting with the environmental groups, saying that’s the kind of exchange that should be taking place instead of harsh criticism or disruption of meetings.