Iowa governor signs voluntary water quality bill into law

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that redirects existing money toward voluntary water quality programs in Iowa.

Reynolds signed the bill Wednesday at the state Capitol, marking her first bill signed as governor.

The law is expected to redirect $282 million over 12 years from an infrastructure fund and water tax. Research shows it would cost billions of dollars to effectively clean Iowa’s waterways, in large part blamed on farm runoff.

The law doesn’t mandate comprehensive water quality metrics and excludes benchmark improvement goals. Environmental groups argue that lessens the impact. State agriculture officials counter that existing water quality programs rely on extensive research from a voluntary state-backed initiative.

Reynolds says the bill is the first step. It’s unclear if other water-related legislation will advance this session.

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