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Iowa Supreme Court Throws Out Water Quality Suit

The Iowa Supreme Court has thrown out a district court ruling that allowed environmental groups to sue the state over water quality.

The Supreme Court ruling says it is speculative that a favorable court decision would lead to a more aesthetically pleasing Raccoon River, better swimming, kayaking, and lower water rates in the Des Moines metropolitan area. The ruling says the groups are simply seeking broad, abstract declarations that do not provide any assurance of concrete results.

The 4-3 decision says the remedy sought by the groups is quite general and the environmental groups admit it can only be done through legislation. The ruling says that opens the question of what would the legislation look like as “there is no free lunch” — because reducing the amount of fertilizer farmers use would not reach the goal set for nitrates and could cause economic harm to farmers.


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