Letter to the Editor / Online Comments

BY DI READERS | JULY 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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Fighting farm pollution

Increased pollution of Iowa’s waterways because of agricultural runoff and wastewater treatment threatens the water quality and health of its citizens. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous deposited from farm runoff provide nutrients creating toxic algal blooms in Iowa lakes and rivers flowing down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. With Iowa responsible for more than 10 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff nationally, the state must take responsibility to reduce nutrient dumping.

Current policy supports a reduction in toxic discharges from agricultural and industrial sources, but without a set date for completion. Furthermore, many of the measures prescribed are voluntary, leading to little actual reduction in pollutants. Thus, there is little pressure to spend money on water-conservation efforts. Without a set timeline and methods to decrease nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, increased water quality seems unlikely.

State lawmakers must get involved in this issue to support the health and well-being of their constituents. Greater cooperation between lawmakers and the agricultural industry must take place to ensure that nutrient levels can decrease in a safe and cost effective way. Through action human health and natural ecosystems can be preserved. Without it, Iowa’s water quality will continue to suffer.

Benjamin Ross

Online Comments

Jarvill: Fairness for students

“Shouldn’t the university help us accomplish that [taking advantage of experiences in their locale] in a meaningful way?” No. As the writer points out, students “are growing into mature adults.” The main mission of a university is to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders (adults) in our society. This is accomplished through a commitment — on both sides — to the transformative power of a liberal-arts-and-sciences education. Disciplined critical thinking, not entertainment, is at the core of a solid education. Students seeking “fairness” and entertainment should spend time at Universal Studios or Jurassic Park.

Osvaldo Francisco Díaz-Duque

Editorial: How should an international crime be understood?

Interesting piece. As an Iowa paper, you may find it interesting that Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has been leading the charge against anonymous companies, those LLCs and other types of companies that are able to create “veiled bank accounts,” in Washington. He’s been an original cosponsor of a bipartisan bill called the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act in the past few congressional sessions. The bill would require states to collect information on who owns or controls companies when they are formed. Right now, Iowa doesn’t even require the name of a company’s officers or directors to be listed when creating a company — you need to provide more information to get a library card. Other state incorporation laws are similarly problematic. The senator hasn’t re-introduced the bill this congressional session yet, however.

Many of us who share the senator’s concerns about the use of anonymous companies to move drug money, terrorist money, and tax-evading money around the world are worried that a bill implementing President Obama’s proposed “solution” to this problem, which involves requiring all U.S. companies to file a form with the IRS and would not permit state or local law enforcement to access information about who owns or controls companies, will be introduced instead. We have significant concerns with the IRS approach. We would much rather the senator continued to lead on this issue and reintroduce the Incorporation Transparency bill, which would be introduced in the Judiciary Committee, of which the senator is chairman. Grassley is in the perfect position to finally put an end to the creation of anonymous companies and anonymous bank accounts in the United States, and he shouldn’t hesitate to introduce the necessary legislation.

Heather Lowe,
Global Financial Integrity

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