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Officials say cuts hurt DNR's ability to protect environment

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A state commission told lawmakers repeated cuts to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources threatened its ability to protect the state's air and water as the reductions have forced the agency to leave more than 100 positions vacant.

The Des Moines Register reports the Environmental Protection Commission's annual report to the Legislature noted the DNR's budget had been cut nearly in half, from $22 million in 2009 to $11.17 million in the current budget year.

The cuts have come amid increasing concerns about the state's polluted waterways.

The DNR handles permitting for livestock operation, enforces state and federal air and water regulations, licenses hunting and fishing and manages parks, forests and trails.

Agency cuts have come as state revenue shortfalls have forced lawmakers to repeatedly cut the budget.

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