Gov. Branstad doesn’t want to change ethanol production

Governor Terry Branstad. Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr.

A week ago we reported that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack does not want ethanol production to decline as a result of the drought.

Now Governor Terry Branstad has also revealed his support for not changing this year’s ethanol production goals.

This is bad news for livestock producers who want a reduction in ethanol production in order to help lower the current feed prices.

Read more from The Gazette here.

On the Radio: Regent universities awarded for environmental contributions

Check out this week’s radio segment here.  It discusses the Environmental Excellence Awards received by the state’s regent universities earlier this year.

The sustainability efforts of Iowa’s regent universities have caught the eye of Governor Branstad. Continue reading

IEPC member believed to have conflict of interests

Photo by, Flickr

Could a member of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission have a conflict of interests? That’s what the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement say, and they demand action. Brent Rastetter was appointed to a position with the IEPC in May, but he also owns a share of Quality Ag. – a confinement construction company.

The Des Moines Register reports:

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement on Tuesday filed a formal state ethics complaint claiming that a member of a state environmental rule-making panel has a conflict of interests. Continue reading

DNR gets new environmental administrator

Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources continues to undergo significant administrative changes under Governor Terry Branstad. Last week Wayne Gieselman, the Environmental Protection Division Administrator, was pressured into resigning. Gieselman worked at the DNR for 12 years in total, and held this most recent position for over nine years. Long time farmer and environmental activist Bill Ehm took over as administrator last Friday. The Des Moines Register reports that Ehm is qualified to fill this new role:

Ehm raises broiler chickens near his hometown of Creston. He is co-founder of Smart Chicken, which raises chickens without using antibiotics or hormones. Ehm said he never has been cited for an environmental violation.

Over the years, Ehm has held a variety of environmental posts at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land stewardship and at DNR. Before becoming a state employee, Ehm served from 1989 to 2000 as Branstad’s appointee on the policy-making Iowa Environmental Protection Commission.

Ehm has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Iowa State University and a master’s of business administration degree from Drake University.

David Goodner of the nonprofit environmental group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement said the move isn’t surprising, given the change in governors earlier this year. He predicted Ehm would be well-received. Continue reading