Biden doubles down on climate change aid promises


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | September 22, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to double aid aimed at helping lower income countries address climate change at a United Nations General Assembly meeting on Tuesday.

Previously, Biden pledged $5.7 billion to these countries. This pledged funding, and any additional money, will have to receive congressional approval, according to The New York Times. This new pledge would ask congress to approve more than $11 million.

Smaller countries have recently pointed out that countries with bigger economies have not delivered the billions in aid they’re promised through the United Nation and its agreements. In 2015, when the Paris climate accord was initially signed, more than $100 billion in annual aid was promised to less developed countries. Most of this aid has not been given by larger countries, including the U.S.

If the funding is passed, it would make the U.S. one of the largest climate donors in the world. Some environmental advocacy groups, however, don’t think Biden’s vow is enough funding.

Climate change is one of the most important subjects at the 2021 General Assembly meeting, garnering attention from several UN members. Biden’s initial pledge was made in April. Both funding goals have a deadline of 2024.

More natural resource funds in Iowa


Photo courtesy of the Iowa Farm Bureau; Flickr.
Photo courtesy of the Iowa Farm Bureau; Flickr.

The Iowa Legislature recently agreed to a record $25 million in funding for the state’s Resource Enhancement and Protection program, or REAP, the Des Moines Register reported.

The program is used to enhance and protect Iowa’s natural and cultural resources. There are a number of individual programs within REAP, such as the Environment First Fund or the Restore Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

REAP provides money for projects using state agency budgets or grants. Private contributions may also be made to help REAP accomplish its goals.

Water Quality Projects Sought in Iowa


Soap Creek Watershed - Photo by Iowa Flood Center; Flikr
Soap Creek Watershed – Photo by Iowa Flood Center; Flickr

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is seeking applications for targeted watershed demonstration projects focused on water quality. Potential projects have until March 31 to apply for funding.

The projects must be within the nine large priority watersheds that have been identified by the Iowa Water Resources Coordinating Council, department officials say.

Project applications, including a map of priority watersheds, can be found here under “Hot Topics.” They can also be requested by contacting the department’s Division of Soil Conservation at 515-281-5851.

FEMA sides with University of Iowa in flood funding dispute


The Hancher Building during the 2008 flood. Photo courtesy UI News Service.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sided with the University of Iowa in a federal dispute regarding flood replacement funding.

FEMA originally committed to rebuild Hancher Auditorium, the School of Music, and Art Building East at new locations. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General issued a report in June suggesting FEMA should not provide the the $83 million in funding.

If the Office of the Inspector General accepts FEMA’s response, funding for the UI projects will continue as planned. However, the response is denied, the final decision will be made by Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano.

For more information, read the full article at The Gazette.

FEMA denies funding for UI Museum of Art replacement


The University of Iowa Museum of Art during the 2008 floods. Photo by bigheadedrobot, Flickr.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the University of Iowa’s second request for funds to replace the UI Museum of Art, which was damaged by the 2008 floods.

FEMA claims that the building was not damaged enough to warrant a full replacement, but UI officials argued that because no insurance company will cover the school’s art collection at the existing location, a new facility is necessary.

“We are very disappointed that the state and university’s appeal for the replacement for UI art museum has been denied by FEMA,” said UI spokesman Tom Moore in an email. “University officials are reviewing our next steps in coordination with the state.”

For more information, read the full article at the Press-Citizen.

FEMA awards $6.5 million for post-flood renovations at IMU


The Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City, Iowa. Photo by Dan & Erin Sweeney, Flickr.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded about $6.5 million in funding to the University of Iowa to improve the Iowa Memorial Union.

The lower level of the IMU has been closed off since the flood in 2008, which caused roughly $1 billion in damage across the university campus.

The funding will assist the UI in returning the food court, bookstore, and student lounge areas to the flood-damaged lower level of the IMU.

For more information, read the full story at the Press-Citizen.