Capitol Event Focuses on Climate Change Fight, Improving Iowa’s Environment

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Environmental leaders and lawmakers from across the state talked about how to make Iowa a greener, cleaner place to live.

The focus of Thursday’s event called Earth Day at the Capitol was to brainstorm ways Iowans can push lawmakers to pass policies that contribute to a cleaner state, which brought up the hot topic of water quality in Iowa.

Representatives from Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy spoke with lawmakers about the importance of increasing the state’s trust fund for natural resources and outdoor recreation.

A bill in the Senate would increase the state’s sales and use tax rate from 6 percent to 6.38 eight percent. Advocates say the small increase to the state’s sales tax would give the natural resources trust fund the money it needs to begin water cleanup projects across Iowa.

But Republican Senator David Johnson told attendants these issues will take time to address.

“We’ve got a major problem. Things people need to remember is Des Moines’ lawsuit is in the courts. And then, we’re the No. 2 contributor to the dead zone in the Gulf, among the upper Midwestern states that are in the Mississippi River Valley. I mean, these are huge deals. And it’s going to take a long time to address them,” Johnson said.

The event at the Capitol followed a separate event among more than 100 religious leaders from across the state.

They signed a document stating the importance of fighting climate change and supporting any legislation that makes Iowa environmentally-friendly.