Iowa Gov. Chet Culver's decision to veto a bill that would have strengthened Iowa's voice on Missouri River Management has surprised and seriously disappointed the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Culver vetoed the legislation on May 29.
"We feel very let down by Gov. Culver's sudden veto of a bill that gained overwhelming support from both the House and Senate," says Tim Burrack, a farmer who chairs ICGA's exports and transportation committee.
"Look at the flooding we've seen in the news reports from western Iowa this year," says Burrack. "It's been a pretty vivid reminder that river management involves a lot of issues in addition to the environment. That's why we need all facets of our government watching out for Iowans' concerns when decisions get made about the Missouri."
ICGA disappointed in governor's veto
Senate file 543, which passed the Iowa House (99-0) and Senate (50-0), would have ensured that Iowa's official decisions on the Missouri River took into account all points of view - navigation, flood control, electricity for communities, the Iowa economy and environmental concerns for wildlife and habitat.
It would have extended a practice originally outlined in 2001, which allowed the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Economic Development, Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa Utilities Board to work together on river issues.
Burrack credits ICGA members for pushing the issue during the 2007 Legislative session and gaining the support of both the House and Senate. "We want to thank the farmers of Iowa for contacting their legislators and the governor about this bill. The support from farmers, communities and the legislators were all there this year. That is why it is so hard to see this bill vetoed in the last moments. Iowa's corn farmers will be looking for a clear explanation of this decision."
Burrack says ICGA members can be assured the association will continue to work on the issue and will engage the administration in the hope of reaching a final resolution. Issues regarding the Missouri River and the Mississippi River range from flood control and navigability to the need for new locks and dams to transport Iowa's crops have been a key ICGA priority for more than a decade.