Take This Stream and Shove It

The interesting case of the Raccoon River in central Iowa. One of the Ten Most Endangered Rivers in the Country because of agricultural runoff. An attempt at voluntary reduction of farm runoff hasn’t worked. An attempt to address the problem through the courts has also failed after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled plaintiffs had no standing to sue.

“There is not enough here to demonstrate that a favorable outcome in this case is likely to redress the plaintiffs’ alleged reduced ability to kayak, swim, or enjoy views of the Raccoon River, or would save them money on drinking water,” Mansfield wrote. “The plaintiffs’ claims must therefore be dismissed for lack of standing.”

Chris Jones, a researcher at the University of Iowa, writes in detail about the river.

I know some will hate this paragraph, but I think it needs to be said. Over the past 20 years, the ag establishment and the watershed’s farmers have made a mockery of efforts to improve the drinking water source serving 1/6th of Iowa’s people, and Iowa’s appointed and elected leaders, including supreme court justices, have for the most part endorsed this. Supported by Iowa’s economic and political establishment, the larger body of the watershed’s farmers have no intention of trying to reduce nutrient pollution, and this has always been so. I’ve seen firsthand on many occasions the hostility to change, and this was before both lawsuits. I’m not stating this as a casual observer.

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