The Iowa Sierra Club can pursue its legal challenge to a decision by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that clears the way for a large cattle-feeding operation near a trout stream in northeast Iowa. ‘Iowa.
An Iowa judge this week ruled against the DNR’s efforts to have the case thrown out, saying the four Iowa Sierra Club members who brought it had sufficient standing to challenge the endorsement by Status of a nutrient management plan for the 11,600 head Supreme Beef cattle operation near Monona. .
The group says Supreme Beef’s nutrient management plan is flawed, grossly underestimating the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus-containing material that would be taken from the feedlot each year and applied to the fields.
The Sierra Club, which also names Supreme Beef in the lawsuit, says the DNR’s endorsement was based on “an irrational, illogical or totally unjustifiable interpretation” of the law.
The group says the feedlot is jeopardizing Bloody Run Creek, a cold-water trout stream that the state has designated as Iowa’s Outstanding Water.
CONTINUED: Complaint that Iowa senator’s influence helped relative secure permits for cattle feedlot near discarded trout stream
The region’s hilly topography sits on porous, fractured limestone that can easily provide a direct path to surface and groundwater for runoff contaminated with manure and other pollutants, opponents say.
In addition to having standing, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Huppert said Sierra Club members had shown enough potential harm from the project to pursue the case.
The Sierra Club and its members are seeking to rescind approval of Supreme Beef’s Nutrient Management Plan. A spokeswoman for the Iowa DNR declined to comment this week.
“It is clear that the DNR is trying every procedural trick to avoid a hearing on the merits of this matter,” Sierra Club attorney Wally Taylor said in a statement. “But it doesn’t work. MNR will have to explain why it broke its own rules by approving the nutrient management plan for Supreme Beef.
Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, environment and energy for the Register. Contact her at [email protected] or 515-284-8457.