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Environmental group sues Iowa DNR over proposed 11,600 cattle feedlot in Clayton County

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MONONA, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is suing the Iowa Department of Natural Resources over its approval of an 11,600-head cattle feedlot near Monona.

In their lawsuit, the group argues the feedlot used a skewed nutrient management plan (NMP) containing incorrect information and miscalculations to gain approval. The group argues several points, including that the manure storage structure isn't appropriate for a cattle feedlot and that Supreme Beef LCC, the group behind the proposal, undercalculated the amount of manure the feedlot will produce, resulting in 1.3 million pounds of unaccounted for Nitrogen and Phosphorus.

They say that poses a dangerous risk to Bloody Run Creek and other streams in the area. The creek is designated as an Outstanding Iowa Water. An OIW is defined as "a surface water that IDNR has classified as an outstanding state resource water in the water quality standards." OIWs receive Tier 2.5 protection, which means "policies and procedures that prohibit any lowering of water quality in unique waters as identified in the water quality standards unless the lowering is temporary and limited, results from expansion of existing sources, or serves to maintain or enhance the value, quality, or use of the OIW, as determined by the Director of IDNR on a case-by-case basis." A full list of Outstanding Iowa Waters can be found here.

The lawsuit cites several reasons for why the Iowa DNR's decision should be reversed, including a lack of substantial evidence and abuse of discretion.

“In spite of numerous comments from over 100 people and groups, the DNR blatantly violated its own rules and Iowa law when approving the nutrient management plan,” Wally Taylor, Legal Counsel for Sierra Club of Iowa said. “The DNR failed to protect Iowa’s water. That’s their job. We need to set a strong precedent that we expect the DNR to do its job.”

The Iowa DNR declined to comment on the lawsuit. The full lawsuit can be found below:

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