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Governor Calls for Water Quality Funding

In his State of the State address, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad praised Iowa agriculture and energy production, but says there's still work that can be done.

One of the points he brought up was Iowa Water Quality. Last year, Branstad asked the legislature to send him a water quality improvement bill and was happy to see progress on a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives with House file 2541. It was approved by the Agriculture, Ways and Means, and Appropriations committees and passed with 65 votes.

The bill provided a long term, dedicated source of revenue to help implement projects to improve habitat and water quality and would be directed by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

But it was not passed by the Senate, this year, Branstad wants to get that through, "I believe our discussion should begin with a house passed bill from last session. I hope we can work together, to perfect and improve the legislation that will provide a long term, dedicated growing source of revenue for water quality improvement."

Governor Branstad claims the bill would be an opportunity to modernize Iowa's agricultural infrastructure, create jobs in rural Iowa, and promote collaboration between urban and rural communities

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the governor leads support for water quality, adding he has heard senators praise the house bill from last year.

Northey says water quality funding needs to happen despite budget challenges and there is momentum at the capitol, "We'll have a de-appropriation for this fiscal year, there still is an effort to look forward and say how do we lead in water quality. That is making a financial equipment, that's having the right kind of plans and the governor laid his support out for the legislature to come up with an approach."

In the Governor's budget proposal for this year Branstad asks for $17.6 million for 2018 and $25.1 million for 2019 for water quality.