Grain processing plant penalized $4.1M for violations


Photo by JimmyWayne, Flickr.

Roquette America Inc. has to pay $4.1 million in penalties because of environmental violations that took place at their grain processing plant in Keokuk.

The plant illegally discharged waste through storm drains at least 30 times, leading to more than 250,000 gallons of waste entering the Mississippi River and the nearby Soap Creek.

On top of the fines, the company may need to pay upwards of $17 million to upgrade their sewer and wastewater treatment plant.

Read more here.

Bald Eagle Appreciation Days this weekend


Bald eagle near Davenport, IA. Photo by LSykora, Flickr.

This upcoming weekend, Keokuk will hold its 28th annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days.

The event will include guided bird watching, environmental exhibits and seminars, and live bird presentations.

The bald eagle population has fluctuated greatly in both Iowa and the rest of the country over our nation’s history. Estimates indicate that there were 100,000 eagle pairs in the lower 48 states at the time of European settlement in North America. By 1960 there were less than 4,000 eagles left. This decline is attributed to direct human disturbance, habitat loss and pesticides.

In Iowa, there was no known evidence of bald eagle nesting after 1905. Thanks in large part to a series of bald eagle protective acts, the specie’s population has increased dramatically in both Iowa and the rest of the U.S. over the past 50 years. Continue reading

Keokuk to upgrade outdated sewer system


Photo by Carl Wycoff, licensed for reuse on Flickr

The City of Keokuk is moving to upgrade an outmoded sewer system that sends millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Mississippi River and its tributaries each year. Continue reading

Investigators seek suspect in eagle poaching


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As Mississippi River towns are preparing to celebrate the bald eagle, state and federal investigators are looking for someone who shot and killed one member of the federally-protected non-game species in a field north of Letts in Southeast Iowa.

“This is the first time in my (25-year) career I can remember an eagle being shot, that I personally investigated,” Tom Campbell, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officer in Muscatine and Louisa counties told the Muscatine Journal. Continue reading

A widening scope of disaster


Add seven more names to the list of Iowa counties eligible for disaster aid. Calhoun, Clarke, Dallas, Hamilton, Ida, Keokuk and Washington counties now join 50 others on the July 29 Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance.

This mammoth list puts the extent of flooding this summer in perspective. It means that more than half of Iowa’s counties have officially brushed with disaster.

According to a press release on Gov. Chet Culver’s Website:

Public Assistance funds are available to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations…for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.

while:

Individual Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Read more information from FEMA.