Ag + Environment

Ag nominee Vilsack battles skepticism from Black farmers ahead of confirmation hearing

BY: - February 1, 2021

WASHINGTON — Tom Vilsack, the president’s pick to lead the Agriculture Department, will likely face questions about his treatment of Black farmers and his record on civil rights at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. President Joe Biden’s decision to tap the former Iowa governor, who also served as USDA chief […]

Granholm vows to create new jobs, cleaner solutions as Energy secretary

BY: - January 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told lawmakers Wednesday she would be “obsessed” with creating new jobs if confirmed as the next secretary of the Energy Department. Granholm at her Senate confirmation hearing talked up the potential for new clean energy jobs— an effort to assuage concerns about potential job losses in the fossil fuel […]

Biden to pause new oil and gas leases on public lands in sweeping climate order

BY: - January 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to sign a host of executive orders on climate Wednesday that will put a hold on new oil and gas leases on federal property, place environmental justice in the center of climate reform and set goals of conserving nearly a third of the nation’s land and water. On […]

ethanol plant

Reynolds looks to add to multimillion-dollar aid for biofuels

BY: - January 26, 2021

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday pledged to work with the Biden administration and state lawmakers in a multimillion-dollar effort to help the biofuels industry recover from what one leader called a “triple whammy.”  Reynolds, speaking at the virtual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, said her state budget calls for a $2 million increase for the […]


Trump’s big gamble to gut U.S. power plant emissions rules loses in court, opening a door for new climate rules

BY: - January 24, 2021

Joe Biden got a big judicial win for his climate agenda just hours before his inauguration as U.S. president. The case involved federal plans for cutting power plant emissions and a big gamble by the Trump administration. Nearly a third of the U.S. carbon emissions driving climate change come from electricity generation. To try to […]

Iowa ag secretary: Biden’s waterway regulations could hurt farm interests

BY: - January 22, 2021

Democratic President Joe Biden spent part of his first week in office inserting himself into one of agriculture’s hottest policy debates, the fight over which waterways will be protected under the Clean Water Act.  Biden’s initial executive orders included one that threw out Republican President Donald Trump’s order. Trump’s action led to new rules that […]

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg at an ethanol plant in Iowa

Buttigieg puts greenhouse gas reduction at center of Biden transportation policy

BY: - January 22, 2021

Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg offered an unapologetic defense of President Joe Biden’s vision for improved transportation and greenhouse gas reductions during a Senate hearing to consider Buttigieg’s nomination for U.S. transportation secretary. “We need to build our economy back, better than ever, and the Department of Transportation can play a central role in […]

biofuel gasoline gas pump ethanol fuel

Grassley blasts Trump’s last-minute ethanol exemptions

BY: - January 21, 2021

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa on Thursday said he opposed the Trump administration’s last-minute approval of three ethanol waivers for oil refineries, but added that he hopes to work with President Biden to block similar actions. The waivers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week would allow the refineries to ignore  requirements […]

Biden yanks Keystone XL permit in first-day order, citing climate change

BY: - January 21, 2021

In one of his first official acts after taking office, President Joe Biden revoked the federal permit for the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline that would have traversed eastern Montana on its way from the Alberta oilfields to the Gulf of Mexico. The Wednesday move at least temporarily halts the construction on the highly contentious […]

Iowa is one of the nation's top producers of wind energy. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Iowa environmentalists hail Biden’s first-day actions, ask for more

BY: - January 20, 2021

President Joe Biden spent part of his first day in office reversing the previous administration’s environmental policies on climate change, vehicle emissions and drilling in an Arctic refuge.  The praise from Iowa environmental advocates came quickly Wednesday. Polk County Conservation Director Richard Leopold said Biden’s executive orders appear to bring science back into the center […]

Experts: Biden likely to take slow approach on China trade

BY: - January 18, 2021

Agricultural experts don’t expect President-elect Joe Biden to quickly reverse the United States’ chilly relationship with China. They are split on whether Biden will quickly loosen some tariffs on China to ease negotiations that could build on recent increases in the price of corn and soybeans — two of Iowa’s top agricultural commodities.  “In the […]

Climate experts: Iowa drought likely to extend into spring planting season

BY: - January 18, 2021

Iowa has a slightly elevated risk of the drought in western counties pushing into spring planting season, a top federal climate official said. Dennis Todey, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, told 50 regional climate and natural resources officials last week that the lingering La Niña conditions in the […]