Des Moines, IA – Food & Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) will appear in Polk County District Court on June 19 to resist the state’s motion to dismiss their groundbreaking clean water lawsuit.
“We filed this lawsuit because Iowans have a right to clean water and the state has an obligation to protect that right. With over 750 impaired waterways, it is clear the state had failed to uphold their duty to the people of our state,” said Emma Schmit an organizer at Food & Water Watch. “The legislature and various agencies have repeatedly failed to take action to protect Iowa’s water resources. With this lawsuit we hope to see that changed by creating a mandatory nutrient reduction strategy and a moratorium on factory farms in the Raccoon River watershed.”
At the hearing, Food & Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement will maintain that the court should not dismiss the lawsuit and instead allow it to proceed to a decision based on the merits of the case. Members of Iowa CCI and Food & Water Watch have “standing” to seek judicial relief for the water pollution crisis in the Raccoon River caused by the state’s voluntary nutrient policy (exempting agricultural sources from pollution controls) and the court has the ability to decide whether state has abdicated control of the river to private parties and allowed substantial impairment of the river.
“The State of Iowa wants to avoid accountability while the public endures the unabated pollution of the Raccoon River,” said Brent Newell, Senior Attorney with the Food Project at Public Justice. “This case should proceed to a decision on the merits.”
“We’re confident the court will recognize the merits of our case. It is disappointing, however, that the Attorney General would rather defend the state’s failed attempts to clean up our water than go after the industry polluting our water,” said Cherie Mortice, an Iowa CCI member, retired teacher and Polk county resident. “Pushing state agencies to get serious about cleaning up our water with a mandatory nutrient reduction and a moratorium on factory farms is necessary if we want to see clean water in Iowa.”
A hearing to review the case has been scheduled for June 19, 2019 at 8:30 AM. The hearing will take place at the Polk County Criminal Court (110 6th Ave., Des Moines, IA) in room 203. The public and media are invited to attend.
Food & Water Watch and Iowa CCI are being represented by The Food Project at Public Justice, Food & Water Justice, Roxanne Conlin & Associates, and Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake LLP.
Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement works to empower and unite grassroots people of all ethnic backgrounds to take control of their communities; involve them in identifying problems and needs and in taking action to address them; and be a vehicle for social, economic, and environmental justice.
Public Justice pursues high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, protect the Earth’s sustainability, and challenge predatory corporate conduct and government abuses.
Adam Mason, [email protected], 515-282-0484
Emma Schmit, [email protected], 712-830-3748
Darcey Rakestraw, [email protected], 202-683-2467
Aidan O’Shea, [email protected], 202-861-5240