Friday, December 10, 2010

Victory for Iowa's Water, Soils, Outdoors

From: Lynn Laws, Iowa Environmental Council
Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3:48 PM
To: Richard Worm

Yesterday's voters can tell tomorrow's grandchildren that they not only understood the long-term need to protect water quality and top soil in Iowa, they acted on behalf of their protection in an era when our country's political leaders often used only one, short-term measure of success--economic growth.

On November 2, in a year with a high turnout at the polls and Iowans divided on many issues, voters sent an overwhelming message of commitment to the protection of Iowa's natural resources. Almost two-thirds of Iowa voters approved an amendment to the Iowa constitution to create a Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

The trust fund will begin to accrue an estimated $150 million a year the next time Iowa legislators approve a sales tax increase. A regular audit will be conducted to ensure monies are used only for specific conservation and recreation work as outlined in a bill passed earlier this year.

Coalition members of the campaign called Iowa Water and Land legacy are celebrating today. "This is a win for all Iowans," said Marian Riggs Gelb, executive director for the Iowa Environmental Council. "We can attribute this overwhelming victory to the power of coalition--of people working together to accomplish much more than anyone could alone," said Gelb.

One hundred and thirty organizations representing over 300,000 Iowans have worked together since 2005 to first, examine how best to create state funding for natural resources in a way that protected designated funds from being raided for other uses. Later the coalition worked to educate Iowans on how the money would be spent, to protect the intent of the fund by passing legislation that spells out the allocation of the funds, and to get out the vote.

"Much work is still ahead of us, but today is a day for celebrating," said Gelb.

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