Legislation that might limit the acquisition of new public lands — and was approved by the Iowa Senate on Tuesday — did not advance from a House subcommittee on Thursday amid significant public opposition.
Senate File 516 was tabled by an environmental protection subcommittee because only one of the three committee members thought it was ready for wider consideration.
“It was refreshing to see people there that were willing to listen to both sides of the argument, sort it out for themselves and figure out which way to vote rather than just putting the Farm Bureau’s stamp on it and moving on,” said Fred Long, president of the Iowa Conservation Alliance.
The bill would strip existing wording from Iowa law that directs state agencies to acquire and protect “open space” lands and to create recreational trails throughout the state. The bill would prioritize maintenance for existing public lands and trails over new acquisitions.