Grocers Association Files Administrative Petition for a Declaratory Order with the DNR

The Iowa Grocery Industry Association has filed an administrative Petition for a Declaratory Order with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The Petition seeks an Order regarding the denial of approval by the DNR of certain redemption centers based upon the administration of a “convenience standard” for which the agency never enacted a rule. The IGIA is demanding the agency follow its own procedures outlined by the Iowa Administrative Procedures Act for agency actions that affect the rights and duties of the citizens of Iowa.

“Since the inception of Iowa’s Bottle Bill in 1979, the DNR has administered the law on an ad hoc basis, deciding what it deems ‘convenient’ based upon the discretion of its staff,” said IGIA President Michelle Hurd. “The convenience standard, changed over four decades, was never uniformly or consistently applied and all done without public input or scrutiny as required by law. The convenience standard is key for retailers to access redemptions centers for relief from the government mandate imposed by the bottle bill.”

The IGIA previously filed a Petition for Rulemaking in March 2020 to force the DNR to conduct the rulemaking process. This administrative process would enable the DNR to gather input from all stakeholders in order to develop a rule consistent with Iowa administrative law and process. Development of an actual rule concerning the convenience standard would provide uniformity and consistency for all retailers when using an approved redemption center rather than accept returns inside their stores.

“It is disappointing that after 40 years we still do not have a consistent rule-based convenience standard that would continue to uphold the ‘Bottle Bill’ system while providing our members who need it most some relief as was the intent of the statute from the onset,” Hurd added. “This is likely our first step to pursue all available legislative, regulatory and legal options to ensure that Iowa’s Bottle Bill system is uniformly administered and enforced for all dealers, redemption centers and distributors.”

IGIA members, who employ more than 100,000 Iowans and pay more than $1.5 billion in wages annually.

About the Iowa Grocery Industry Association

The Iowa Grocery Industry Association is a state trade association that represents the food industry, including chain and independent supermarkets, convenience stores, suppliers, wholesalers, brokers, manufacturers and distributors. Founded in 1899, the IGIA has long served as a resource to its members, the food industry and the general public through education, legislative, partnership and philanthropic programs. The IGIA has headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa, and can be found online at www.iowagrocers.com.

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