Air and water quality violations from Muscatine plant forwarded to Iowa environmental commission


The state environmental commission will soon discuss how to address the repeated violations of one of Iowa’s biggest polluters.

The Muscatine Journal reports:

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking to refer air-quality and wastewater violations by Grain Processing Corp. to the state attorney general.

The referral has been added to the agenda for a meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on April 19 in the DNR Air Quality Building at 7900 Hickman Road in Des Moines. It will be open to the public and public comments will start at 10:30 a.m.

The commissioners will hear from the DNR and GPC at 1 p.m., according to the agenda.

Industrial Muscatine continues to struggle with air pollution, health affects


This story, originally published by Midwest Energy News, was republished under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. Midwest Energy News is a daily collection of the top energy stories of importance to the region. Its objective is to keep stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens informed of the important changes taking place as the Midwest shifts from fossil fuels to a clean energy system.

By B. Adam Burke

An Iowa town with the worst air quality in the state is again under EPA scrutiny after years of maintaining allowable air pollution levels.

But plans to clean up emissions from burning coal won’t be adopted for several years, leaving residents in a haze of regulation and red tape.

Last month, the EPA declared Iowa’s pollution-fighting plans “substantially inadequate” for maintaining fine particulate matter standards in Muscatine, an industrial town on the Mississippi River. Continue reading

CGRER researcher helps trace China’s wavering air quality


Beijing spent more than $10 billion to improve its air quality some 30% during the 2008 Olympic Games. Just one year later 60% of those improvements had been erased, according to a new study co-authored by a CGRER researcher.

Naresh Kumar, assistant professor of geography at the University of Iowa, helped author the National Bureau of Economic Research study, which credited China’s authoritarian system for the quick shifts in air quality.

Kumar

The Wall Street Journal Reports:

The measures taken in what the authors describe as “the largest natural experiment in air cleaning” in Olympic history were indeed huge: Coal, steel and chemical plants were shuttered, vehicle traffic was reduced and auto-emission standards were increased. Continue reading

Radiation from Japanese disaster has not hit Iowa, officials say


Though monitors in Iowa recently detected an increase in radiation, the elevated level cannot be linked to the nuclear disaster in Japan, nor is it dangerous, the Iowa Department of Health says.

The Des Moines Register reports:

Levels in Iowa are within the normal range coming from natural sources and from facilities such as coal-burning power plants. There is no way to tell if a Japanese plant damaged by tsunamis contributed.

Iowans are in no danger from the radiation at the levels monitored, the department said.

Trace levels of radiation in several Western states have been linked to Japan, but pose no danger to public health, according to officials.

DNR: winter fish kills in Iowa linked to Mother Nature, not people


An August menhaden fish kill in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. In Iowa, fish kills have occurred naturally this winter, as snow and ice blocks sunlight and, in turn, halts oxygen production. Photo Credit: Chris Deacutis, Flickr.

As Iowa continues its spring thaw, the Department of Natural Resources has received many reports of dead fish in lakes and ponds across the state.

Though some past fish kills in Iowa have been linked to polluted waters, these ones occur naturally, according to the DNR, as the ice and snow of winter blocks sunlight from reaching aquatic plants, which in turn, stop producing oxygen. The longer the snow and ice cover lasts, the less oxygen is in the water. Continue reading

Grinnell College to host water quality symposium


Iowa River tributary in Iowa City. Photo by Jim Malewitz.

On April 6-7, Grinnell College’s Center for Prairie Studies will co-sponsor a symposium analyzing “Iowa’s Troubled Waters: the Challenges of Quality and Quantity.”

The symposium, also hosted by the college’s Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment, will explore the topic of Iowa’s waters, which face record levels of pollution.

“The global concerns for water—too much, too little, potable, polluted—are all right here in Iowa,” said Jon Andelson, director of the Center for Prairie Studies. “Iowa’s relationship with water has become increasingly troubled of late by growing groundwater contamination and unusually heavy rains. We’ve gathered Iowa experts to consider these challenges and potential solutions.” Continue reading

On the Radio: Charles City – Paving a more sustainable Iowa


The arrows show how water moves through the porous pavement. Source: Charles City Green Streets Evaluation and Design Report

Listen to this week’s radio segment on the green efforts of Charles City, a Northeast Iowa town of about 8,000.

Read more about the project here, or check out the report below.  Continue reading