Resolved: Iowa communities want piece of clean energy future

This commentary by Andy Johnson and Jim Martin-Schramm first appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on October 13. -promoted by Laura Belin

At last count, a precedent-setting 61 city councils and county boards of supervisors in Iowa have passed resolutions asking the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to deny most or all of Alliant Energy’s proposed increase to base electric and gas rates.

IUB dockets aren’t generally on local government agendas, so what’s happening across eastern and northern Iowa?

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Dakota Access announces pipeline expansion

Ed Fallon: We must not let this latest attempt to threaten our water, land, property rights and planet go unchallenged. -promoted by Laura Belin

As predicted, Dakota Access announced on June 12 that it wants to increase the amount of oil flowing through its pipeline across Iowa. The company claims it needs no additional authorization from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to proceed.

Bold Iowa disagrees. Today, we filed the following request with the IUB. We need YOU to take action, too. Here’s our five-step action request, which should take you about half an hour. It’s important, and your voice is needed NOW!

1. Read Dakota Access’s filing.

2. Read Bold Iowa’s response, below.

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New GOP bill would slash energy programs for low-income Iowans

UPDATE: This bill did not advance, but Republicans put comparable language into the “standings” budget bill, Senate File 638 (see Division IX on pages 16 and 17). Governor Kim Reynolds can and should item veto this section.

Energy-efficiency programs that benefit low-income Iowans would be cut under a bill Republicans advanced today from an Iowa Senate subcommittee.

Senate Study Bill 1256 would compound the harm done by Senate File 2311, which Republicans enacted in 2018 over objections from many stakeholders. Whereas last year’s bill reduced utility companies’ required spending on energy efficiency programs with a 25-year track record, the new bill would limit allowable spending on such programs.

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Where things stand with MidAmerican's bad solar bill

As state lawmakers wrap up their work for 2019, one of the biggest question marks surrounds MidAmerican Energy’s push to make future solar development unaffordable for most Iowa homeowners and small businesses.

Four weeks after the bill cleared the Iowa Senate, it is still hung up in the House, where a group of Republicans recently took an unusual step to signal their opposition.

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What's going on at the Iowa Department of Revenue?

Governor Kim Reynolds appointed former Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen as director of the Iowa Department of Revenue on February 22, only six weeks after she had named Adam Humes to lead the agency. A late Friday afternoon news release did not explain the reason for the change, saying only that Humes “has decided to pursue other opportunities.”* Paulsen will start work this coming Monday. Leadership transitions at state agencies typically are weeks or months in the making.

Humes’ predecessor, Courtney Kay-Decker, also left under odd circumstances. Appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in 2011, she sounded excited to continue to lead the department after the 2018 election. But in early December, Kay-Decker announced her resignation, effective at the start of the new year.

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