Ag + Environment

Interior Department calls for oil and gas leasing updates, but not ending production

BY: - November 29, 2021

The U.S. Interior Department recommended increased fees for oil and gas exploration on federal lands as part of a long-awaited report that environmental groups said didn’t go far enough in limiting fossil fuels and Republicans derided as an attack on domestic producers. The report, ordered by President Joe Biden during his first week in office, focuses […]

Environmentalists search for the next Paul W. Johnson

BY: - November 28, 2021

A prominent Iowa conservationist who died this year will be honored in an online event this week that is meant to reignite public enthusiasm for sustaining the environment. Paul W. Johnson, a Decorah farmer, was a co-author of key legislation to protect soil and water about two decades ago when he served three terms in […]

Sage-grouse protection plans in the West under review by Biden administration

BY: - November 27, 2021

The Bureau of Land Management is updating Obama-era plans to manage the greater sage-grouse in 10 Western states. The BLM has published a request for comments to help update management plans for the bird’s habitat in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and other Western states. The Interior Department agency will review new scientific data, including […]

Biden opens oil reserve to relieve high gas prices — but it won’t be immediate

BY: - November 23, 2021

As gasoline prices spiral ahead of the big holiday travel season, President Joe Biden on Tuesday authorized the release of a record 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — complicating his administration’s goal to transition to cleaner energy sources. In prepared remarks, Biden said he coordinated the release from the reserve, a […]

Company abandons appeal to export Iowa groundwater

BY: - November 23, 2021

A northeast Iowa company that initially sought to export billions of gallons of groundwater to parched western states each year but scaled back the quantity after pushback has abandoned the request to state regulators altogether. The Pattison Sand Co. proposal was repeatedly rejected by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources — most recently in May […]

Reynolds celebrates ‘getting back to normal’ with traditional turkey pardoning

BY: - November 23, 2021

Squash and Stuffing, two turkeys raised near Ellsworth, will not be on the menu for Thanksgiving Day. Gov. Kim Reynolds “pardoned” the two birds Tuesday as part of an annual tradition that also recognizes Iowa’s role as a major turkey producer. Iowa ranks seventh in U.S. turkey production with about 12 million birds raised a […]

Company plans to grind wind turbine blades near Earlham

BY: - November 22, 2021

A Bondurant company plans to use large wood chippers to grind old wind turbine blades into bits to recycle them, but its work site near Earlham has drawn scorn and pushback from anti-turbine residents in Madison County. Renewablade has tested the grinding process on three blades at a site near U.S. Interstate Highway 80 about […]

Senate confirms first tribal member in history to lead National Park Service

BY: - November 20, 2021

The U.S. Senate has approved the nomination of Charles F. Sams III as the first confirmed National Park Service director since 2017. Sams, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton, Ore., will be the first tribal member to lead the Park Service in the agency’s 105-year history. At his […]

Political leaders commend UAW, Deere execs for reaching contract agreement

BY: - November 18, 2021

Iowa political leaders congratulated United Auto Workers union members on Wednesday after they agreed to a new contract, ending a five-week strike at John Deere plants. About 61% of UAW members voted in favor of a third-round proposal with Deere & Co. for a new six-year contract. The contract will increase wages by 10% and […]

Biden’s pick to lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife vows ‘collaborative conservation’ at agency

BY: - November 17, 2021

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pledged Wednesday to let science guide decision-making at the agency and to collaborate with government and private partners. Martha Williams, the former director for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that wildlife […]

Senators urge increased production of fossil fuels in reaction to spiraling energy costs

BY: - November 16, 2021

Days after global leaders agreed for the first time to decrease coal usage and subsidies for fossil fuels, U.S. senators battled over rising gasoline prices and urged action on the high cost of energy — including by increasing production of coal, oil and gas. The Tuesday hearing, led by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman […]

Smithfield settlement can’t be used in COVID lawsuits

BY: - November 16, 2021

Smithfield Foods agreed this week to pay the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration $13,494 to settle a citation for failing to protect its meatpacking employees in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from exposure to the coronavirus last year, but the company didn’t admit it did anything wrong. As such, the settlement can’t be “used or […]