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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JULY 23, 2012 6:30 AM

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Support drought for the Iowa Geological & Water Survey

Last July, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources eliminated 16 positions from the Iowa Geological & Water Survey. These were the only layoffs in Natural Resources. Since then, two geologists have retired, and a geological technician position was vacated. There are no apparent plans to replace these positions. It is still unclear why the Geological Survery is being targeted for these ongoing cuts.

Last year, the limestone industry lobbied the Legislature and received funding for Geological Survery, but half of it was immediately swept to other parts of Natural Resources. Currently, the department plans to hire an outside contractor to do "strategic planning" for the Geological Survery.

Why?

The survey is largely federally funded, so little money is saved by these cuts. These decisions cost taxpayers, both financially and environmentally. Many geologists are nearing retirement. These are some of the brightest, hardest working and most innovative people in Natural Resources. These ongoing losses in expertise are not being replaced.

The future of the Geological Survery is uncertain. The immediate effect of the loss of the survey may be hard to discern, but longer term, the loss would be catastrophic. 

When you fill a glass of water, fish or swim in a lake or stream, or drive down a road in Iowa, remember that the Geological Survery was involved in finding these valuable water and mineral resources and is trying sustain and protect them.

The survey needs your support for its continued existence. Please contact your legislators, as well as the director of Natural Resources, and let them know that you are concerned about the lack of advocacy and support for the Geological Survery and its ability to continue to monitor, interpret, and protect the natural resources of Iowa.

Rhonda Rowden
Iowa City resident

Regent Bruce Rastetter should no longer serve

Regent Bruce Rastetter should no longer serve on our state Board of Regents. Here are the allegations that deserve close scrutiny by the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. His company, AgriSol, planned a Tanzanian refugee land-grab deal that was not reported to the regents until six weeks after he joined.

He created his own $1.75 million endowed professorship to help advance this project. He falsified state financial disclosures. He has a real or perceived conflict of interest with Iowa State University. He is using Iowa State's prestige and our taxpayer dollars to promote his business interests. His company stood to make millions by bringing large-scale industrial agriculture to Africa at little or no benefit to the people there.  

What more is needed to conclude that this man should not be an educational leader for our great university system? Well, consider that he has no background in education, that he asked the governor to make him a regent, and he was Gov. Terry Branstad's largest contributor to 2010 campaign. We must stop corporate corruption from eroding the integrity of our university system.

Virginia Meyer
Lone Tree


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