Des Moines Water Works lawsuit summarily dismissed, closing this chapter but not solving the problem
On March 17, 2017, Judge Leonard T. Strand, US District Court of the Northern District of Iowa, issued a summary judgement in favor of the defendants in Des Moines Water Works versus Sac, Buena Vista and Calhoun Counties. The defendants in the case filed a motion requesting the case be dismissed. Judge Strand ruled in their favor.
Specifically, the ruling finds that the drainage districts represented by the three counties do not have the authority to “mandate changes in farming practices to reduce fertilizer runoff or to assess farmers for the cost of removing nitrates from waters flowing through agricultural drainage systems.” You can read the ruling at this link.
For history on this lawsuit, you can read the complaint that the Des Moines Water Works filed in 2015 here.
The January Supreme Court decision can be found here.
If you’d prefer a short summary to reading all these decisions, check out this story on WHOT. Iowa Public Radio has information on this here, and also gets photo credits for the drainage ditch pictures with this post. Click on the pictures for a link to the IPR article.
Next steps? Judge Strand suggested that this is a problem for the Legislature to decide, not the Courts. We will cover further happenings here in this blog.