Northey Says Iowa Can Find Money in $7 Billion Budget for Water Quality

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa’s quality of water is a frequent topic at the statehouse. Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said Iowa’s water quality is good, but it can be better.

He said that all boils down to funding this legislative session.

“I don’t know how that’s going to play out. Right now, the two remaining competing plans are the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate. I don’t see that coming together yet, but I sure hope there’s a way that it does,” Northey said.

A complaint from environmentalists is there’s not new money flowing in for this effort. Money can come from schools with the penny sales tax, gambling or infrastructure money, but there’s not a good pot of new money.

“To me, we have a $7.3 billion state budget. We can find some money within that budget,” Northey said.

There’s a lot of tension across the state when it comes to water. There’s the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit versus northern Iowa counties. In that kind of climate, can we expect everyone to work together or is it too toxic?

Northey said Iowans are already working together.

“We see a lot of farmers working together spending their own dollars,” he said.

Cover crops are an example of farmer dollars and state dollars working together.

Northey also commented on the Bakken Oil Pipeline, which the Iowa Utilities Board signed off on last month. He said as far as the safety of the pipeline to Iowa land, he said he believes in the surveillance system that will be in place.

“I want to make sure that any time that pipeline goes near any of our conservation practices or infrastructure out there, that those are repaired. We don’t want to bust up any wetlands,” he said. “I think we need to be careful, but I think it can be done.”

Watch the entire interview with Northey on the April 17 segment of the Insiders.

Up next…

A big hole in a Des Moines homeowner’s front yard is a reminder of what may be beneath other Iowans’ homes. On Part 2, the state’s mining expert explains why she's closely watching two Iowa counties.

About the Insiders
The Insiders with Dave Price features in-depth conversations with top politicians, decision makers and influencers from Iowa and across the country. It's Iowa’s Sunday morning tradition that provides unique insight into what's happening, and it's the show that holds elected officials accountable.

Catch the Insiders Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Channel 13.