A new bill introduced in the Iowa Senate would discourage people from reporting a possible CAFO violation to the Iowa DNR.
Senate Study Bill 3103 would require anyone filing a complaint with the Iowa DNR to provide their name, eliminating the option of anonymous reporting. If the DNR investigates the complaint, the agency would be required to provide the name of the complainant to the potential violator.
Since the DNR doesn’t have sufficient resources to proactively enforce regulations, it’s often up to community members to report problems they notice. JFAN works with many people reluctant to call in valid complaints because they are legitimately afraid of retribution. In those cases, we encourage people to do so anonymously so violations, such as manure spills, can be addressed.
SSB 3103 was introduced by Senator Tom Shipley to eliminate frivolous complaints. Yet, the January 25 Iowa Capital Dispatch reports that of the 1300-1500 complaints the DNR receives annually, half of them are reported anonymously and a “vast majority” of those lead to corrective actions or fines.
It’s clear from DNR records that the agency receives few frivolous complaints. This bill will discourage valid reporting and eliminate needed investigations to correct problems threatening the environment that the DNR would otherwise not know about.
With fines for violations already insufficient, CAFO owners would have even less incentive to properly follow regulations. Senate Study Bill 3103 benefits no one but an offending violator.
The bill passed out of the Natural Resources and Environment subcommittee and is headed to the full committee for further consideration.
Please call or email your senator today to oppose Senate Study Bill 3103. If you are in Jefferson County, Senator Adrian Dickey can be reached at 641-919-3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are outside Jefferson County, find your senator here.
Let's keep reporting possible violations to the DNR a safe for everyone!