Iowa's looming water and drought crisis

Tyler Granger: Impaired waterways and the ongoing drought are a 1-2 punch that could create incredible hardships for Iowans in 2021. -promoted by Laura Belin

The coronavirus and the economic fallout from the pandemic has made 2020 one the hardest years for Iowans. Unfortunately, two environmental catastrophes are on the horizon for 2021.

Nearly 60 percent of Iowa’s bodies of water are impaired, according to a report the Iowa Department of Natural Resources released this week. The trend is concerning, since Iowa has lax laws on scientific measurements regarding water quality as well as an inadequate, all-voluntary strategy to reduce toxic nutrients in our lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.

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Momentum builds for 100% DSM clean energy initiative

Raihan Rashidi, a clean energy field organizer for the Iowa Environmental Council, wrote this post, which first appeared on that organization’s blog. -promoted by Laura Belin

Reading incessant news about climate-related disasters across the country and here in Iowa has made me wonder if we are just going to sit idly and hope the world miraculously recovers while we maintain our current ways. Or if we are going to accept the science and quickly act to prevent prolonged power outages or severe crop damages the next time a storm or drought hits us. Despite the many challenges 2020 has thrown upon us, I am hopeful it will be the latter.

This is where the 100% DSM movement comes into play.

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Iowans deserve a plan from MidAmerican to phase out coal

Katie Rock is the campaign representative in Iowa for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, based in Des Moines. You can follow the effort on Twitter at @IABeyondCoal and @KatieRockIA. -promoted by Laura Belin

This year has pushed us all to reconsider what it means to be a safe, resilient and just community in the 21st century. And while many of us anxiously look to the future, we should remember the tremendous opportunity we have to take control of our path today. It is time for our city of Des Moines to accelerate the transition to clean energy by passing a resolution committing to buying 100 percent renewable power by 2030.

MidAmerican continues to own and operate one of the largest coal fleets in the country right here in Iowa, selling coal-generated power for the benefit of their shareholders, while Iowans pay the price of the pollution to our air and water. The company currently owns more generation than it needs to reliably keep the lights on. The time has come for MidAmerican to walk its talk and make a plan to retire its coal fleet, starting with its most uneconomic plants. 

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Alliant takes step forward on road to clean energy

Michael Schmidt, staff attorney for the Iowa Environmental Council, explains the significance of Alliant Energy’s decision to retire the Lansing Generating Station in Allamakee County. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last week, Alliant Energy announced the retirement of its coal-fired Lansing Generating Station in 2022 and conversion of the coal-fired Burlington Generating Station to natural gas in 2021. Alliant will also add 400 megawatts of solar by 2023 and up to 100 megawatts of distributed generation (smaller-scale solar and batteries) by 2026. These actions are a glimpse into the future of clean energy in the state – but we have a long way to go.

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Chuck Grassley sees electric vehicles as threat, not opportunity

Tyler Granger is a field representative with the National Wildlife Federation in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

One interesting fact about Iowa: we were first to develop the electric car, more than a century ago. William Morrison of Des Moines invented the first electric car in the United States in 1890. That vehicle was a six-passenger carriage capable of reaching speeds of 14 mph.

The electric vehicle is older than U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, and Iowa’s electric vehicles would do a lot better if Grassley hadn’t abandoned Iowa’s renewable energy economy. Once a champion of renewable energy, Grassley is now the adversary to almost all renewable resources. 

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Joe Biden, Theresa Greenfield best to confront challenges facing Iowa

Mitch Henry: The first step toward getting the state and the nation back on track is electing leaders with the vision and experience to deal with the challenges we face. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowa faces many challenges in the months and years ahead.

On the economic front, our unemployment rate is 6 percent, nearly twice what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Iowa Leading Indicators Index, a mix of economic metrics showing where our economy is headed, “strongly suggests” that the state economy will weaken through 2021.

In health care, we are moving in the wrong direction both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, our state has been unable to get a handle on the COVID crisis. Eight months into the pandemic, we continue to set records for hospitalizations and cases. Long-term, we are going to have to help the 24,000 Iowans who have lost insurance since 2016.

Then there is the climate crisis. Whether or not you believe this summer’s derecho was a direct result of climate change, all of us can agree that warming temperatures and more severe weather will have a negative impact on our state.

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