Des Moines -- Yesterday, Gov. Reynolds appointed Kayla Lyon director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI), Food & Water Watch and Public Justice have been working to hold the state accountable for regulating pollution from Iowa’s factory farms. In March, the groups sued the state for failing to uphold its obligations under the Public Trust Doctrine and the Iowa Constitution to protect the Raccoon River watershed from industrial agricultural operations, which the state has sought to dismiss. House File 203, a bill to put a moratorium on factory farms, died in Iowa’s legislative session earlier this year.
In response, Iowa CCI, Food & Water Watch and Public Justice have released the following statements:
Statement from Barb Kalbach, 4th generation family farmer and Iowa CCI member:
“Gov. Reynolds’ appointment of Kayla Lyon is a huge concern for Iowans and our water quality. Her experience advocating for the industry responsible for Iowa’s water crisis raises the question: As DNR director, who will she serve? The people of Iowa and our natural resources; or the industry that got her where she is today? Reynolds touts Lyon’s experience shepherding the 2018 water quality funding bill, but recent reports have shown that even with SF 512, the state’s investment isn’t even enough to scratch the surface of Iowa’s water quality crisis.”
Statement from Emma Schmit, Iowa Organizer, Food & Water Watch:
“Iowa’s legislators have failed to protect Iowans from factory farms time and again. The DNR has not done any better, and unfortunately, the appointment of Kayla Lyon as Director of DNR doesn’t inspire much confidence given her close ties to industry. The DNR needs a real leader willing to take bold action and implement mandatory solutions to protect our shared resources. We don’t need another tool of the industry who puts the interests of agribusiness before the people of Iowa.“
Statement from Brent Newell, Senior Attorney, Public Justice Food Project:
“Iowans have a constitutionally protected right to use and enjoy Iowa’s navigable lakes and streams, and the State has violated that right by allowing corporate agri-business to severely pollute the Raccoon River. As a defendant in the lawsuit, Kayla Lyon will begin her tenure by standing against Iowans’ paramount right to clean water.”
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.
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.
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, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, [email protected], 515-282-0484
Emma Schmit, Food & Water Watch, [email protected], 712-830-3748
Aidan O’Shea, Public Justice, [email protected], 202-861-5240