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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Eight Iowa CAFOs under federal scrutiny for water pollution

By Lynda Waddington | 08.13.10 | 9:00 am

Owners of eight beef feedlot operations located in northwest Iowa need to do more to protect rivers and streams, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is cracking down on violators.

EPA Region 7 has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against the feedlots for violations of the Clean Water Act as part of the agency’s continuing initiative that hopes to end harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) into the area’s waterways.

According to Karl Brooks, regional administrator for the EPA, the agency has two important jobs: Enforcing the Clean Water Act and educating about the benefits of cleaner water.

“Responsible livestock producers understand and work with the agency to advance both goals,” Brooks said.

The enforcement actions with the Iowa feedlots involve administrative compliance orders issued to medium-sized CAFOs, which are operations that confine between 300 and 999 cattle and whose discharge is done by a man-made conveyance.

The EPA has documented significant water quality problems associated with medium-sized CAFOs, and is making compliance at such operations a priority. Runoff from such operations may contain pollutant pathogens and sediment, as well as nutrient nitrogen and phosphorous — all of which can harm aquatic life and impact water quality, according to EPA officials.

Six of the eight cited Iowa CAFOs discharge runoff into waters that have been officially identified by the state as being impaired by pollutants typically associated with animal feeding operations.

As a result of the civil enforcement actions, the following beef feedlot operations must must apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and complete wastewater controls at his facilities by Oct.  31, 2011, in order to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into various Iowa waterways:

  • Todd Bartman, doing business as Bartman Farms, of Rock Valley, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County.
  • Randy Kats, doing business as Randy Kats Feedlot, of Rock Valley, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County.
  • Tracy Onken, doing business as Tracy Onken Feedlot, of Carroll, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Storm Creek in Carroll County.
  • SFI Inc., of Nemaha, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into the Raccoon River in Sac County.
  • Vernon Van Beek and Jason Dorhaut, doing business as Lone Tree Feedlot, of Inwood, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Dry Run Creek in Lyon County.
  • Terry Van Wyhe, doing business as Van Wyhe Feedlot, of Ireton, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Six Mile Creek in Sioux County, Iowa.
  • Nathan Vohs, doing business as Nathan Vohs Feedlot, of Washta, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Four Mile Creek in Cherokee County.
  • Keith Zylstra, doing business as Zylstra Feedlot, of Ashton, must end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Otter Creek in Osceola County.

Tracy Onken Feedlot and Lone Tree Feedlot are the two operations that do not discharge runoff into waterways already identified as impaired by the state.

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