- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new consortium of environmental groups is asking Gov. Terry Branstad to support a statewide moratorium on new and expanded hog confinement operations because of polluted waterways.

The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture announced itself at a Wednesday Capitol news conference and sought Branstad’s backing.

The alliance, which includes more than 20 groups, wants the moratorium in place until the state improves water quality in lakes and streams. Alliance members blame hog confinements for polluting waterways and creating health problems for nearby residents.

Branstad spokesman Ben Hammes rejected the alliance’s proposal, calling it an “extreme” plan that would hurt agriculture and Iowa’s economy.

The alliance is separate from the recently formed Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition, comprised of agriculture, business and conservation groups that support increasing the sales tax to fund natural resource programs.

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