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

IISC connects University of Iowa to Iowa communities


Dubuque. Photo by SD Dirk, Flickr.
Dubuque. Photo by SD Dirk, Flickr.

The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) continues to build partnerships between the University of Iowa and Iowa communities.

Over the past two years, the IISC has worked with Dubuque on a series of sustainability projects. Now the IISC is working on three new projects in Muscatine and Dubuque. The IISC also has plans for other projects during the 2013-14 school year in Muscatine, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and Washington.

Learn all about IISC’s plans here.

Climate change skeptic causes debate


Alan Carlin ignited the climate change discussions in Washington last month and the debate shows no signs of dying down.

The New York Times reports:

Alan Carlin, a 72-year-old analyst and economist, had labored in obscurity in a little-known office at the Environmental Protection Agency since the Nixon administration.

In June, however, he became a sudden celebrity with the surfacing of a few e-mail messages that seemed to show that his contrarian views on global warming had been suppressed by his superiors because they were inconvenient to the Obama administration’s climate change policy. Conservative commentators and Congressional Republicans said he had been muzzled because he did not toe the liberal line.

But a closer look at his case and a broader set of internal E.P.A. documents obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act paint a more complicated picture.

It is true that Dr. Carlin’s supervisor refused to accept his comments on a proposed E.P.A. finding, since adopted, that greenhouse gases endangered health and the environment, and that he did so in a dismissive way.

But the newly obtained documents show that Dr. Carlin’s highly skeptical views on global warming, which have been known for more than a decade within the small unit where he works, have been repeatedly challenged by scientists inside and outside the E.P.A.; that he holds a doctorate in economics, not in atmospheric science or climatology; that he has never been assigned to work on climate change; and that his comments on the endangerment finding were a product of rushed and at times shoddy scholarship, as he acknowledged Thursday in an interview. 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.