I received the following information about a bill that has been introduced in the Iowa House this past week. A similar bill (SSB 1212) has been introduced in the Iowa Senate. These two bills have the potential to bring environmental conservation and preservation to a crashing halt in our state. It could also signal a reversal of the progress that has been made here in Iowa. It’s time to stand up to the political machine that intends to only use the environment to enrich themselves and their “friends”. Call or write your local representatives. This is all going to start happening this next week if we don’t stop it now!
SAY NO TO HF542
House File 542 was introduced by Rep. David Sieck into the House on Tuesday and referred to the Natural Resources Committee. We are awaiting notice of a subcommittee hearing, but it will likely be early next week. Be prepared to show up at the Capitol to support public land!
HF542 is a direct attack on public lands and conservation in Iowa. It should be opposed in its entirety.
* In this bill, counties would be prohibited from expanding parks, wildlife habitat areas and trails by any amount. Funding the cities and counties have relied on would be restricted, and could not be used for expansion of open spaces and new recreational amenities, including public museums. The state would not be able to purchase land for state parks, wildlife areas or strategic water quality projects.
* This bill makes it harder for private landowners to donate land for public use or do conservation protection on their own land.
* As Iowa strives to attract and maintain people to live, work and raise families in our state, we need to provide quality of life features that they demand. At the top of list —along with good jobs — is a clean, healthy environment and outdoor recreation opportunities.
* Public land plays a special role in the lives of Iowans. For generations, Iowans have made memories in parks, on trails, in woodlands and prairies. We need to continue that legacy for future Iowans. We need to support our existing parks, trails and wildlife areas and continue to look for ways to expand our outdoor opportunities.
* Rural communities rely on the jobs, consumer spending and public health benefits that outdoor recreation provides. Iowa is already 47th in the nation in the percentage of public land available to its residents. This bill puts us in a race for the bottom.
* Instead of strangling our ability to grow healthy, happy communities, we should be embracing the opportunities the outdoors present. We should be investing more in conservation, not less.
Call and write to your legislators. Ask them to oppose House File 542. Tell them it’s time to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.