- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans with control in the House have approved a bill that would replace a Des Moines water utility with a regional system.

The GOP-led House Agriculture Committee voted Tuesday to support the bill sponsored by a southeast Iowa pig farmer, making it eligible for House debate. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.

The bill would eliminate the five-member board of Des Moines Water Works, the utility that oversees water for 500,000 customers. The board would be replaced with a regional board made up of representatives from surrounding communities.

Critics of the bill say it’s retaliation against Des Moines Water Works, which filed a lawsuit two years ago to try to force upstream counties to obtain Clean Water Act permits to regulate contaminants flowing from farm fields.

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