DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A bill that would place important water-quality programs under control of the state agriculture department is raising some alarms.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is supposed to nourish farming and other segments of agribusiness, but critics say farms are the primary source for what ails Iowa's waterways: silt, fecal bacteria and nitrates.

Mark Langgin is executive director of the Iowa Water and Land Legacy. He says some farmers and farm groups historically have resisted water-quality regulations, so putting key water programs under the agriculture department "would potentially put politics before sound science."

Gov. Terry Branstad is backing the bill but has also said he will work with legislators to make "needed changes."


Information from: The Des Moines Register,

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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