Dear Editor:

I nearly choked while reading the Nutrient Reduction Strategy column by Bill Northey and Chuck Gipp in the Jan. 17 Decorah Journal. They claim the Nutrient Reduction Strategy will keep Iowa as a national leader.

In what? The amount of nutrients polluting waters from here to the Gulf of Mexico? The percentage of degraded waters in a state? The number of states sued by the Environmental Protection Agency for failure to comply with provisions of the 40-year-old Clean Water Act?

The condition of Iowa waters is a disgrace, and claiming that we are a leader in the effort to preserve and care for our water resources is as disingenuous as calling ourselves the "education state." The fundamental problem, as every critic of the plan points out, is that the "strategy" relies on the voluntary compliance of nonpoint source polluters. That's the same "strategy" that got us into this mess, yet Northey and Gipp state that "the approach relies on existing programs ..." In other words, business as usual.

And make no mistake, this is about putting business interests ahead of public health and environmental quality. We don't need to keep studying the problem - we already know what it is and we know how to fix it. Unfortunately, our public officials lack the political will to enact regulations and force compliance with best practices.

A point-by-point rebuttal of the "strategy's" five-point approach can be found at Read it and weep.