MidAmerican Energy will reduce emissions at Iowa plants


MidAmerican's Council Bluffs facility. Photo by nixter, Flickr.
MidAmerican’s Council Bluffs facility. Photo by nixter, Flickr.

Following a complaint from the Sierra Club, MidAmerican Energy Co. has agreed to reduce emissions at three of their Iowa-based power plants.

The Sierra Club threatened to sue MidAmerican this past summer for releasing more pollutants than permitted at their plants in Sergeant Bluff, Bettendorf and Council Bluffs.

To avoid the lawsuit, MidAmerican agreed to stop burning coal in two boilers at both the Council Bluffs and Sergeant Bluff facilities by April 2016. They will also convert three coal-fired boilers in Bettendorf to natural gas.

Read more here.

Moving Planet hosts events across Iowa


Sept. 24 is a big day for Moving Planet and they are looking to get Iowans involved.

The organization, which advocates for a decrease in fossil fuel use, is hosting events all around Iowa this weekend in support of their cause.  Participants all across Iowa will be biking, walking, rollerblading and more in support of reducing emissions.

Check out these events taking place across Iowa: Continue reading

Fort Calhoun emergency alert recinded


Photo by Gordilly, Flickr

As the Missouri River flood waters finally begin to recede, the power plant’s emergency status is finally removed.

The Washington Post reports:

Officials say an idled Nebraska nuclear plant that was entirely surrounded by Missouri River floodwaters earlier this summer is no longer under a flood emergency. Continue reading

On the Radio: Nuclear power plant surrounded by flood waters


Flooding at Fort Calhoun Plant on June 29, 2011. Photo by Digital Globe Imagery, Flickr

Check out this week’s radio segment here.  It discusses the current flooding at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant near Council Bluffs and potential safety issues all Americans should consider.  You can read the transcript below.

With the Fukushima tragedy still fresh on everyone’s mind it’s time for Americans to consider the safety of our own nuclear power plants. Continue reading

EPA’s Brownfields Project benefits Iowa towns


For nearly two decades the EPA has helped revitalize abandoned and polluted properties across the U.S. through their brownfields program. The EPA’s news release indicates that the program continues to thrive, as they just received $76 million in new investments. These new investments will help revitalize two Iowa towns: Arlington and Council Bluffs.

In Arlington the beneficiary is an old school, while in Council Bluffs the Katelman steel fabrication will receive clean up through this project; both properties were granted $200,000 in funding. In addition to the environmental benefits of these undertakings, the brownfields program also helps boost the economy:

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. These investments help leverage redevelopment, promote economic growth and lead to job creation. Since its inception, EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $16.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in approximately 70,000 jobs. Brownfields grants also target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.    Continue reading

Muscatine, Council Bluffs cited for dirty air


Photo by Mike Willis.

Oooh, that smell. Can’t you smell that smell? Last week residents in Muscatine and across the state in Council Bluffs may have caught a whiff of something because both cities were cited for exceeding EPA air pollution limits.

Muscatine had too much sulfur dioxide wafting through its air, and Council Bluffs had too much lead.

Those unconcerned with air quality may contend that the true problems in these cases are associated with more stringent regulation. Last August the EPA’s allowance of sulfur dioxide grew stricter and in October 2008 strictness for the lead standard increased tenfold.

But both forms of pollution are regulated for a reason. Short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide can increase the likelihood of contracting asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or other lung and heart disease. And it can worsen the symptoms of those who already have such conditions. Continue reading