Ag + Environment

Bill would provide an extra $3 million a year for state parks projects

BY: - March 1, 2021

A revived plan to spend $3 million a year on state park improvements cleared a legislative subcommittee Monday.  House File 647, introduced by Rep. Brent Siegrist, R-Council Bluffs, is modeled after 1997 legislation that provided an annual appropriation of $3 million from gambling revenues and later from tobacco settlement funds. Along the way, the Restore […]

Auditor: Local governments could save combined $375M with average solar installations

BY: - February 26, 2021

If every Iowa county seat, school district and county government installed an average solar energy system, taxpayers would save $375 million over the life of the equipment, Auditor Rob Sand noted in a new report. in the state’s first analysis of its kind, Sand asked local governments and school districts and the Iowa Solar Energy […]

House Agriculture panel to key in on climate change and farming

BY: - February 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — Democrats in Congress are eyeing proposals that would support programs for U.S. farmers — who have suffered catastrophic losses from severe weather events in recent years — to reduce carbon emissions on their land. In his first major policy hearing as House Agriculture Committee chairman, Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., said Thursday that the […]

Granholm is sworn in as secretary of Energy

BY: - February 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed in a 64-35 vote the nomination of former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to run the Department of Energy.She’ll be the second woman to lead the $35 billion agency. Vice President Kamala Harris swore in Granholm several hours after the Senate confirmation vote. Her husband, daughter and son-in-law […]

Iowa’s Vilsack is sworn in as USDA secretary — virtually

BY: - February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday swore in former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a second time around for Vilsack in the post. “Congratulations Mr. Secretary and to the whole family,” Harris said. “The president is so excited. We’ve got a lot of work to do and […]

Environment group: Trump’s final year in office saw spike in farm subsidies

BY: - February 24, 2021

President Trump’s administration spent $20 billion on farm subsidies in its last year, four times the level at the beginning of his term, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group reported Wednesday. Much of that aid went to the largest farms, the group said. EWG analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture data, which included a variety of temporary […]

Litterers could lose hunting, fishing, camping privileges

BY: - February 24, 2021

Litterers could lose their hunting and fishing licenses and state park camping privileges for a year under a bill advanced to the full Senate Wednesday.  An amendment to Senate File 375 took away language that would have required the Iowa Natural Resource Commission to take the privileges away for a year after a littering conviction. […]

GOP senators from the West grill Haaland for a second day

BY: - February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — In a bitter and at times high-decibel round of questioning at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Interior nominee Rep. Deb Haaland again fielded questions from Senate Republicans from oil and gas-producing states about the Biden administration’s energy policies. It was the New Mexico Democrat’s second morning in front of the Senate Energy and […]

Senate committee votes to give redemption centers a raise

BY: - February 24, 2021

Redemption centers would get their first raise since Iowa’s bottle bill went into effect in 1979 under an amended bill sent to the full Senate Wednesday. Senate File 368 would double the handling fee for each bottle and can to two cents for redemption centers, but not grocery stores or other retailers, on July 1. […]

Haaland faces GOP critics at her Interior confirmation hearing

BY: - February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — Rep. Deb Haaland confronted expected tough questioning from Republican senators on Tuesday at her confirmation hearing to become the first Native American secretary of the Department of the Interior. But the New Mexico Democrat also drew support from Rep. Don Young, a longtime Alaska Republican who made a quick appearance to praise her […]

U.S. Senate confirms Vilsack for a second stint as secretary of Agriculture

BY: - February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday in a 92-7 vote confirmed former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to run the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a second time. Vilsack, 70, also headed the $151 billion agency under the Obama administration, for eight years. But he has garnered criticism from Black and minority farmers for his treatment […]

Biden pick for Interior secretary likely to face rocky confirmation hearing

BY: - February 20, 2021

U.S. Senate Republicans may use next week’s Interior confirmation hearing for Rep. Debra Haaland to air their grievances about the Biden administration’s energy policies, running the risk of alienating Native Americans in Western states. GOP Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Steve Daines of Montana sit on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will […]