# Coal



Calling on MidAmerican to partner with DSM on climate, clean energy

Dr. Brian Campbell is Executive Director of the Iowa Environmental Council and a member of the Des Moines Citizen Task Force on Sustainability.

I joined the Des Moines Citizens Task Force on Sustainability in 2017. Formed in the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement, this small, dedicated group of volunteers have worked with the city on important sustainability initiatives over the years, including the city’s 2021 resolution committing to 24/7 clean energy by 2035.

It’s hard to overstate how important MidAmerican Energy is to achieving this goal, with 50 percent of Des Moines’ greenhouse gas emissions from electricity and another 25 percent from natural gas—all supplied by MidAmerican. Although the utility has made significant investments in wind energy in Iowa, it remains the state’s largest climate polluter by operating five coal plants.

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New Iowa carbon task force looks like greenwashing

“If someone tasked you with making an exhaustive list of who could profit from carbon sequestration, this is what you would come up with,” tweeted Chris Jones, a research engineer at the University of Iowa who has written extensively about agriculture and water quality.

He was referring to the Carbon Sequestration Task Force, which Governor Kim Reynolds established through a June 22 executive order. In a written statement touting the initiative, Reynolds said Iowa “is in a strong position to capitalize on the growing nationwide demand for a more carbon free economy.” She will chair the task force, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will co-chair.

The task force looks like a textbook greenwashing effort: deploying concern about about “sustainability” and “low carbon solutions” as cover for policies that will direct public money to large corporations in the energy and agriculture sectors.

One tell: Reynolds did not involve any of Iowa’s leading environmental organizations, which have long worked to reduce carbon emissions.

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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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Ernst's words don't match actions on COVID-19 relief for fossil fuels industry

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst told members of the Iowa Farmers Union in June that she’d prefer for fossil fuel companies not to be eligible for COVID-19 relief funds.

However, months earlier she was among only two farm state senators to sign a letter aimed at ensuring that oil, gas, and coal companies would have access to federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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