Ag + Environment

Grassley: Biden rules could hurt farmers, biofuels industry

BY: - June 16, 2021

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he plans to vote against a key environmental agency appointment to protest Biden administration regulatory moves that could hurt farmers. In a call with Iowa reporters, Grassley said he would vote against the appointment of Radhika Fox of California as assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That […]

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

Environmental council: Iowa utilities don’t need coal power to meet demand

BY: - June 16, 2021

Iowa’s investor-owned utilities should speed up the retirement of coal plants because neither needs that power to meet demand, the Iowa Environmental Council said in a new analysis. The council’s energy and climate policy specialist, Steve Guyer, also said at a webinar Wednesday that power generated with hydrogen, and battery storage of electricity from various […]

Federal judge halts Biden pause on new oil and gas leases across the U.S.

BY: - June 16, 2021

A federal judge in Louisiana has ordered the Biden administration to restart regular sales of oil and gas leases, forcing the administration to prematurely abandon a central piece of its climate change agenda. In a preliminary ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty granted the request of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and 12 other Republican-led […]

U.S. House panel probes slow cleanup of ‘exploited’ coal mining sites

BY: - June 15, 2021

A U.S. House Natural Resources subcommittee examined the cleanup needs for regions transitioning away from coal production Tuesday, with witnesses saying energy companies should be responsible for returning the land to its pre-mining state. Much of the conversation at the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing centered on the concept of  “environmental justice” and the […]

DNR: Rain looms, but so does another dry spell

BY: - June 15, 2021

Iowa may get an inch of rain over the next few days, but it will need that amount of rain every week for the rest of the summer to get out of the drought, a key state staffer said Tuesday. Forecasters suggest we won’t get it. Tim Hall, hydrology resources coordinator for the Iowa Department […]

The Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines serves as a water supply and a growing recreational draw.

D.M. panel approves $28M river recreation project

BY: - June 15, 2021

A $28 million conversion of Des Moines’ Scott Avenue dam into a kayaking and fishing area won approval of a city design panel Tuesday. Work is expected to begin in July 2022 and will take two years, city planners told the Urban Design Review Board. The Scott Avenue project is the largest of the initial […]

Des Moines water utility pushes customers to conserve as drought worsens

BY: - June 14, 2021

A challenging mixture of drought, heat and near-record demand for water has Des Moines Water Works asking customers to conserve voluntarily.  Specifically, the utility on Monday asked metro residents to cut their lawn watering by 25%. It’s still OK to water gardens and to fill pools, etc. If it doesn’t rain soon, there’s a good […]

Drought worsens in Iowa, western U.S.

BY: - June 11, 2021

Iowa’s drought worsened considerably in the past week as a heat wave added to a shortage of rain.  Drought conditions had eased before that, with decent rains shrinking the areas that were abnormally dry.  But this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor reported that an area just shy of 89% of the state is either in drought […]

Grassley pushes for appeal of meatpacking line speeds ruling

BY: - June 10, 2021

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said he is asking Senate colleagues to sign a letter asking the Biden administration to appeal a judge’s ruling banning higher line speeds at meatpacking plants.  “So far, no Democrats have joined me in that effort,” Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters on a phone call Wednesday. “And that’s very disappointing, because it’s […]

Frustrated local leaders urge Congress to act on PFAS

BY: - June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — Local officials and community leaders on Wednesday pushed Congress to designate toxic chemicals that are contaminating drinking water as hazardous materials, which would trigger federal cleanup standards. In addition, two Democratic senators from Michigan, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, introduced legislation that would put additional obligations on the Pentagon to initiate cleanup at […]

National parks struggling with maintenance would get a boost under Biden budget request

BY: - June 5, 2021

Basic needs at the largest U.S. national parks top the Biden administration’s first proposed lists of projects to receive funding through public lands trust funds, showing how much maintenance is needed even as parks brace for record numbers of visitors this summer. The projects likely wouldn’t be visible to the usual tourist, but they are […]

Sierra Club eyes court action over N.E. Iowa cattle operation

BY: - June 4, 2021

Critics of a northeast Iowa cattle operation near a high-quality trout stream are considering a court appeal after the state’s top environmental official declined to review her agency’s approval of the feedlot. Supreme Beef wants to raise more than 10,000 cattle in a partially enclosed feedlot near Bloody Run Creek, not far from Monona in […]