Environmental, biofuels groups promise new work on issues after a mixed-bag legislative session

BY: - May 21, 2021

The just-closed session of the Legislature brought a mixture of action and punting on agricultural and environmental issues ranging from water quality to the bottle bill. Reactions were mixed. Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig hailed the 10-year extension of a key water quality program that will mean more than $300 million in continued funding for conservation […]

How a plan to boost Kansas-Nebraska tourism got wrapped up in fears of a 30×30 ‘land-grab’

BY: - May 16, 2021

It started as a research project. University of Nebraska landscape architecture professor Kim Wilson asked her students in 2016 to brainstorm a way to increase tourism in Red Cloud, Neb., the childhood home of renowned writer Willa Cather, just north of the Kansas border. The class found that more than 255 historic sites dot the […]

Biden’s ‘30 by 30’ conservation plan urges collaboration with private landowners

BY: - May 6, 2021

The Biden administration plans to broadly define conservation and encourage private landowners to adopt sustainable practices to meet a goal of protecting 30% of the land and water in the U.S. by 2030, according to a multi-agency report published Thursday. The recommendations are short of the most aggressive federal directives congressional Republicans feared would be central […]

No details yet on Biden conservation plan, but Republicans slam it as a ‘land grab’

BY: - May 4, 2021

Republicans on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday previewed their objections to the Biden administration’s still-unreleased plan to conserve 30% of U.S. land and water by 2030. President Joe Biden created what is commonly called the “30 by 30 plan” in a Jan. 27 executive order, but the administration hasn’t released details about how […]

Biden’s budget aims to fight climate change, promote conservation, aid Native Americans

BY: - April 10, 2021

President Joe Biden’s first budget request laid out this week reflects the administration’s commitments to advancing conservation and combating climate change, proposing new money across federal agencies to address those issues. Like most domestic programs in Biden’s overall $1.5 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2022, the recommendations for increased spending on conservation and climate goals […]

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

Biden pairs ‘down payment’ on climate crisis with rebuilding infrastructure

BY: - April 1, 2021

President Joe Biden’s sprawling $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal includes significant spending to address climate change, providing what conservationists say is an important “down payment” to address the crisis. A 25-page outline released Wednesday calls for $10 billion for a Civilian Climate Corps, $16 billion for capping abandoned wells and cleaning up abandoned mines, […]

GOP lawmakers advance bill shifting mental health spending, cutting conservation tax breaks

BY: - March 24, 2021

Senate Republicans are fast-tracking a bill that would change how the state finances mental health services, accelerate tax cuts, and reduce both payments to cities and tax breaks for preserved forests and other land.  After an hour-long hearing Wednesday that drew opposition to the legislation, Senate Study Bill 1253 is expected to be considered by […]

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 […]

DNR’s Hildreth named conservation and recreation administrator

BY: - October 12, 2020

Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife bureau veteran Pete Hildreth on Monday was named Conservation and Recreation Division administrator. The division includes the Wildlife, Fisheries, Law Enforcement, Engineering, Land and Waters and Parks, Preserves and Forests bureaus.   Hildreth replaces long-time DNR administrator Dale Garner, who retired in September.  Among Hildreth’s work as a natural resource […]

House passes bipartisan public lands bill; next stop president’s desk

BY: and - July 22, 2020

WASHINGTON — Major environmental legislation sailed through Congress Wednesday while the nation’s political leaders were stuck in intense negotiations over the contours of a fifth coronavirus relief package. The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provide permanent funding at $900 million per year […]