State of Iowa to use $250,000 in federal funds for E30 “blender” pumps


Photo by Gage Skidmore; Flickr

The State of Iowa will use a $250,000 federal grant to bolster a program that pays gas stations to install “blender” pumps that incorporate a higher percentage of corn-based ethanol in motor fuels. Most Iowa stations offer a 10 percent ethanol blend. Governor Terry Branstad says the goal is to boost usage of a 30 percent blend.

“It’s my understanding that 30 percent is kind of the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of the best fuel efficiency with an ethanol blend,” Branstad says.

Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says the expanded sale of E-30 will help Iowa maintain its leadership position in the ethanol industry.

To learn more, head over to Radio Iowa.

Register editorial calls for agricultural reform

Photo by cwwycoff1; Flickr
Photo by cwwycoff1; Flickr

A recent editorial in the Des Moines Register highlights the need for state-wide agricultural reform in the context of escalating environmental issues. The column criticizes Iowa’s political leadership and agricultural groups for failing to institute the necessary rules and regulations to protect the environment. Continue reading

Branstad in Hot, Dirty Water with Environmental Groups

Photo by Dylan; Flickr

Environmental groups are accusing Governor Terry Branstad of favoring agricultural practices over water quality and the environment.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Iowa Sierra Club filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents about negotiations between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Continue reading

Environment Iowa Delivers Petition to Protect Iowa Rivers

Photo by cwwycoff1; Flickr


Environment Iowa delivered a petition with over 5,000 signatures to Senator Dick Dearden, chair of the Natural Resources committee. The petition calls on Iowa leaders to reduce runoff pollution from corporate agribusiness.

Environment Iowa is a non-profit, statewide, environmental advocacy program. To learn more about the petition and Environment Iowa, follow this link.

On the Radio: MidAmerican Wind Energy

Photo by ali_pk; Flickr

This week’s segment talks about MidAmerican Energy’s future wind turbine plans for Iowa. Read the transcript below, or listen to the audio hereContinue reading

On The Radio: Students take part in Iowa High School Renewable Energy Conference

Photo by Kevin Cooper

Read this week’s radio transcript below, or listen to the audio here. This week’s segment recaps a first annual renewable energy conference.

Iowa’s first-annual High School Renewable Energy Conference drew a large crowd.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Continue reading

Environmental group wants extension of feedback period for nutrient reduction proposal

Governor Branstad. Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr.

As mentioned last week, Governor Branstad has released a plan to reduce nutrient pollution in Iowa’s waterways.

The plan is available online, and the public has till January 4 to offer feedback on the proposal.

The Iowa Environmental Council does not think this is enough time for the public to review the 200 page nutrient reduction strategy, and is calling on the governor to extend the review beyond the busy holiday season.

Read more here.

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.

IDNR asks legislature to help reduce air pollution


Credit: Nick Humphries, Flickr

To combat high levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in Iowa’s air, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is recommending, among other responses, a ban on open burning of residential waste in all municipalities, reports

The recommendations will likely meet major resistance from newly sworn in Governor Terry Branstad, who campaigned on promises of budget cuts and is averse to business regulation. Continue reading

Iowa’s polluted waterways hit record high

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The number of polluted waterways in Iowa have reached a record high, according to the 2010 draft of an upcoming DNR report.

The count was at least 572 – an increase of about 6 percent from the 2008 tally of 542 and the highest number in 14 years of record keeping, said John Olson, a DNR water quality expert. Continue reading