To meaningfully address climate change and its costly impacts on our health, environment and economy, we must confront the leading contributor to climate change: carbon pollution.
Fossil fuel power plants are currently the largest concentrated source of carbon pollution. However, despite accounting for nearly 40% of our nation’s carbon pollution, existing power plants have no federal limits on the amount they emit. The EPA’s recently proposed Clean Power Plan aims to change that.
Arguably the single most important action the EPA has taken to address climate change to date, the proposed Clean Power Plan will require states to cut carbon pollution from their existing power plants and result in an overall national reduction of 30% by 2030 (from 2005 levels). Individual state goals vary depending on local factors.
In addition to the environmental impacts, climate change poses a significant health threat to Iowa. In the recently released Iowa Climate Statement 2014, scientists from 38 Iowa colleges and universities recognized that climate change can contribute to a wide range of health factors including respiratory and cardiovascular problems, increased incidence of vectors (mosquitoes, ticks, etc.) and vector-borne diseases, increased mental health issues and exposure to toxic chemicals, and decreased water quality.
Powerful opponents of the proposal with an interest in maintaining our dependence on coal are determined to undermine it. Your voice is critical. Public comments on the proposal are being accepted through Dec. 1. Take action today and urge the EPA to finalize the strongest possible standards that reduce carbon pollution from power plants.
The U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed new Clean Water Act rules that clarify – not broaden – which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act, including headwater streams and wetlands adjacent to rivers.
As reported in today’s Des Moines Register, Governor Branstad’s office recently submitted a letter to the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers regarding the proposed Clean Water Act rules.
The Iowa Environmental Council disagrees with Governor Branstad’s characterization of the rules in his letter and his assertion that the rule should be withdrawn. We strongly support the rules, which clarify which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act, including small headwater streams that flow into larger rivers and to wetlands adjacent to these rivers.
These small streams and wetlands help reduce flooding, supply drinking water, filter pollution and provide critical support and habitat for fish and wildlife in downstream waters.
Iowans want clean water, and these rules advance that goal. We believe that the stakeholder meetings convened by the Governor should have included representation from groups who support federal protections for our waters, including people who drink, fish, swim and boat in our waters. As we know all too well in Des Moines, many pollutants affecting the quality of our drinking water come from small streams that flow into the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers, in some cases crossing state borders. A strong Clean Water Act is needed that clarifies these headwater streams are protected.
Help protect some of our country’s most important waters. Submit your public comments to the U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of the proposed Clean Water Act rules today. Public Comments are being accepted through Friday, November 14.
Your action is needed to close the deal for an important Iowa conservation program.
For much of the last year, Iowans have been working to support providing Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, $25 million in support of its 25th anniversary year. Despite having provided approximately $300 million in conservation funding to communities in all 99 counties, the legislature has never met is obligation to fully fund the program, meaning many more community-enhancing projects have been left unfunded.
We’ve removed the instructions for taking action here, because
Thanks to the quick action of Iowans like you, reap received funding at historic levels. learn more >>
Want to be ready to protect clean water and Iowa’s environment right when it matters most? Sign up for Iowa Environmental Council e-News and action alerts now.
If you own or plan to own a renewable energy installation, your voice is especially important now.
Update [2/24]: Due to continued problems with its electronic filing system, the Iowa Utilities Board has extended the public comment period by one day. The board released a statement on the topic that read, in part: “Because of a recent fire in another state government building, the Board’s electronic filing system (EFS) has experienced some unscheduled down time. Therefore, the Board will extend the deadline for filing responses to February 26, 2014.”
Last month, the Iowa Utilities Board announced a “Notice of Inquiry” to gather information on distributed generation of renewable energy in Iowa. The notice of inquiry allows the Board to gather information, and evidence suggests some participants want to use this opportunity to dismantle or block important policies supporting distributed wind and solar energy in Iowa.
Iowa’s policy regarding distributed generation affects the state’s ability to lead in renewable energy and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. For Iowans who have installed wind turbines or solar panels, or want to in the future, these policies govern your relationship with your electric utility and how you are compensated for energy you produce.
This inquiry is your opportunity to tell the Iowa Utilities Board you want take advantage of the substantial and largely untapped potential for solar and wind growth in our state. You can help build Iowa’s national leadership in renewable energy by submitting your comment to the Board today.
Find out how to submit a comment after the jump.
Rep. Sharon Steckman (D-Mason City) speaks out in support of the Council’s petition before the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission at a September meeting in Mason City.
The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission is expected to make a decision on the Council’s petition for clear goals for cleaner lakes at its October 14 meeting in Windsor Heights.
Why is action on this issue so important? Here are selections from actual comments the Council’s supporters have submitted. When the Council made a presentation on our petition at the Environmental Protection Commission’s September meeting, we submitted complete versions of these comments and many others. You still have time to add your voice by submitting your comment now.
Dale in Cedar Falls:
I do open water triathlons. I would be delighted if I could find even ONE Iowa lake with clear water where I could see my hand when swimming. I am required to suspend open water training every July because biological activity in Black Hawk County (George Wyth Lake) triggers an allergic reaction.
I am always tempted to move my competition events out of state because I know there are triathlons with clear water for the swim.
I very strongly support the rule making request filed by the Iowa Environmental Council and Environmental Law and Policy Center.
I might add that I grew up on a farm and have been involved in farming, which is no easy enterprise. Yet, farmers should not be permitted to continue using practices that push the costs and consequences of soil and chemical run off onto the general public.
Lisa in Ames:
As a mother, I want my two young boys to enjoy all the pleasures of outdoor play around water that I enjoyed during my youth in northern Wisconsin. Right now, I am fearful to let them play along the streams and beaches of Iowa. It’s painful to explain to them that something so natural as water could harm them.
I hope you will work with me to change this situation by adoption clearer, numerical goals for water quality.
Michael in Grinnell:
I know from working in the business community that if you don’t set clear, measureable goals, it is much harder to succeed or even know if you have succeeded.
Have you ever seen an algae bloom on a body of water? I have. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to swim in that gunk. Iowa can do better than that.
Bill in Urbandale:
I used to enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing at Geode State Park when I was growing up. I used to go canoeing on the Raccoon River and camp with my family at Rock Creek. Sadly, I can no longer experience those activities because of the pollution in Iowa sewers (formerly called streams, rivers, and lakes).
Jan in Okoboji:
Numerical standards are essential! We need even higher standards for lakes like West Okoboji. This is common sense.
Please do it!
You can learn more about the Council’s petition on our website, and you can speak out in support of the petition through our action alert system.