From today’s Des Moines Register:
Replaced appointee blasts Culver:
Environmental commission now weaker, he charges
A departing member of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission wore a white t-shirt to his final meeting Tuesday to express his disappointment with Gov. Chet Culver’s attention to the environment.
Commissioner Francis Thicke of Fairfield used the occasion to accuse Culver’s administration of catering to the interests of agribusinesses.
“Environmental Protection Commissioner” was printed on the t-shirt Thicke wore to the meeting.
But the word “commissioner” was crossed out with a big red “x” and “fired for protecting the environment” was hand-written below that.
Let’s see that shirt:
I know Francis, and it’s not everyday that I expect to see him wearing such a shirt. That alone, speaks to the gravity of the situation at hand. Back to this morning’s news story:
Thicke suggested that Culver’s environmental platform is run by agriculture groups and Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, the former Iowa secretary of agriculture, at the expense of the state’s environment.
“What signal was the Culver/Judge administration trying to send when it ignored the recommendation of the many environmental organizations who called for the reappointment of the EPC commissioners, deferring instead to the dictates of agribusiness special interests who lobbied for our removal?” Thicke asked.
Thicke was one of four members of the nine-member commission who were replaced by Culver last month.
The commission has been in the middle of an increasingly tense battle over livestock farming, including what to do about the odors, manure and chemical emissions from confinements and feedlots.
Thicke said during Tuesday’s commission meeting: “A few days ago, it became clearer to me where at least part of the Culver/Judge administration is coming from. I spoke with one of my neighbors who is proposing to build a 4,800-hog confinement about a mile and a half upwind from me. When I talked to him about it he said Patty Judge is his ‘champion’ and the reason he is planning on going through with this in spite of the objections of his neighbors. He said Patty Judge told him that Iowa is an agricultural state and anyone who doesn’t like it can leave in any of four directions.”
Judge has her say on all issues, Anderson said. “She is a very influential member of this administration…”
Francis worked tirelessly on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission–often taking time off from his farming operation in southeast Iowa to drive to Des Moines for regular meetings. Francis did it because he has a strong commitment to the future of Iowa. Few people have more integrity in all of the work that they do than Francis does, and it is distressing that Democratic Governor Culver did not reappoint him and the three other commissioners to the EPC.
One wonders what the rest of the Culver/Judge administration holds for the future of Iowa agriculture and Iowa’s natural resources.