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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Iowa Supreme Court rejects challenge on Raccoon River water quality

Neil Hamilton is the former director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center and professor emeritus at Drake University law school. He submitted an amicus curiae brief in this case on behalf of several Drake law professors, who urged the Iowa Supreme Court to define the political question doctrine narrowly in order to preserve “citizen’s access to the courts of Iowa for the vindication of their constitutional rights.”

In a closely decided 4-3 split ruling the Iowa Supreme Court rejected a case filed by Iowa Citizens for Community Action and Food and Water Watch alleging the state of Iowa failed to protect the interests of the public in the Raccoon River. The case involved an appeal from the Polk County District Court rejection of the state’s motion to dismiss the case. 

The majority ruled the district court’s decision should be reversed and the case dismissed, concluding the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the suit, and their effort to use the public trust doctrine to establish the duty of state officials is a “nonjusticiable political question.” The majority’s ruling and analysis generated three separate dissenting opinions, all agreeing the case should move forward, in large part because the state had conceded the plaintiffs had standing and the merits of the public trust doctrine were not in question.

A reading of the majority opinion shows it was premised on a determination by the four justices to not involve the Court in the difficult and controversial political issues involving water quality in Iowa. This motivation was demonstrated in at least four ways:

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Senator Rozenboom's conflict of interest on Ag Gag couldn't be clearer

Emma Schmit of Food & Water Action and Adam Mason of Iowa CCI Action co-authored this post. Bleeding Heartland covered this year’s new “Ag Gag” law here. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowans across party lines value clean water and air, vibrant rural communities, independent family farms and safe, affordable food. That’s why at Iowa CCI Action and Food & Water Action we organize for a better system of agriculture. Iowans also value transparency and accountability from our elected officials — We are driven by these core values. Our elected officials should be too.

But that’s not always the case. Some of Iowa’s elected officials fail to represent the interests of their constituents.

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Failed politicians have turned Iowa into one of Earth's most dangerous places

Shawn Sebastian: To put the pandemic politics of Trump, Reynolds, and Ernst behind us, we must reach out to Iowans and turn pain into action, rooted in justice. -promoted by Laura Belin

This week, my family felt firsthand the complete failure of our political leadership. After nearly a week without power, and without a refrigerator or electric stove, my parents — who both have pre-existing conditions — had to go out every day and risk contracting a deadly disease just to eat a meal.

How did we get here?

Our leaders dragged us down here through denial, lies, incompetence, putting profit over people, and a fundamental lack of vision.

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Call to action for Iowans united on issues like health care, climate action

Barb Kalbach is the Board President of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action and a fourth generation family farmer from Adair County. -promoted by Laura Belin

Caucus season means endless polls constantly taking the temperature of how Iowans are dividing themselves among this year’s over-abundant crop of charismatic politicians. At the Polk County Steak Fry the paid staff and supporters of the campaigns competed to hold the most signs and chant their candidate’s name the loudest.

What gets lost in the caucus circus is how much unites us beyond the candidates, like the Selzer Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register in March, which showed 91 percent support among Iowa Democratic caucus-goers for the Green New Deal, 84 percent for Medicare for All, and 76 percent for tuition-free public college.

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Saturday's other presidential candidate event

Ira Lacher reports on the People’s Forum in Des Moines. -promoted by Laura Belin

While thousands sat in single-lane traffic at Water Works Park hoping to hear seventeen presidential candidates deliver ten-minute stump speeches, several thousand Midwesterners from five states crammed into the Iowa Events Center on September 21 to listen to four candidates explain at length why they deserved the votes of progressives.

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