Environment & Weather
CLEANWATERIOWA.ORG: New site launched to help Iowans protect water quality PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Monday, 28 October 2013 14:18

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds joined Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp today for the launch of www.CleanWaterIowa.org, a new website that will serve as a resource to help Iowans protect and improve water quality.

“Iowans can take steps to help improve Iowa’s water quality and this site serves as a one-stop-shop for conservation practices we can all use, whether it is on the farm, at a business or by a homeowner,” said Branstad.

The site has “Farm,” “Residential & Urban,” and “City & Industry” sections that provide information about science-based practices that can be implemented to improve water quality. The site includes descriptions of water quality practices that can be utilized, benefits of the practices, and links to additional information.

“This site is one of the resources available to help Iowans achieve the goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Reynolds. “Working together and everyone doing their part will help us continue to make significant water quality improvements.”

Success stories, information on upcoming events and education materials will also be available on the site. Iowans are also invited to share their water quality success stories as well.

“It is an exciting time and we are seeing a tremendous amount of interest in water quality practices from Iowans across the state,” said Northey. “Farmers are engaged and we are in a scaling up phase as we get these science-based practices on more and more acres.”

In addition to the website, Iowans can follow @CleanWaterIowa on Twitter or “like” the page on Facebook to receive updates and other information about the ongoing Iowa water quality initiative.

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Bob Miller of Alma, WI Elected Pilot/CEO of National Mississippi River Parkway Commission PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kate Hagen   
Friday, 25 October 2013 08:25

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (October 24, 2013) – Bob Miller was elected Pilot/CEO of the National Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MRPC) at their annual meeting in St. Louis, MO September 18-20, 2013.

Mr. Miller has served on the Executive Committee for the past three years. In the past Miller served as chair of the MRPC Environment, Recreation and Agriculture Committee and the Endowment Foundation Committee, and spent seven years as the Wisconsin Commissioner.

“It is an honor to have been selected to lead this great organization,” Miller said. “I’ve enjoyed being a part of it for many years and I’m excited to bring that experience to this new position.”

In addition to his dedication and contributions to the MRPC, members also chose Miller for his instrumental role in developing a 10-state agritourism promotion funded in part by a National Scenic Byway grant.

The Mississippi River Parkway Commission was formed in 1938, made up of the 10 states that parallel the Mississippi River on both sides, for the purpose of developing the Great River Road.

The MRPC continues to support, preserve and enhance the resources and economic opportunities of the Mississippi River Valley and to develop highways and amenities of the Great River Road. The road stretches nearly 3,000 miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information about the MRPC, log on to experiencemississippiriver.com or call (866) 763-8310.


Power Shift Conference Produces Great Results PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Dave Murphy   
Friday, 25 October 2013 08:19

Pittsburgh used to be one of the dirtiest cities in the world. With its coal-burning steel plants and petroleum refineries, the air in Pittsburgh was so dirty the street lights often ran during the day! Now, Pittsburgh is changing its reputation. A city once dominated by fossil fuels is now among the leaders in green technologies. Companies formerly dependent on mining and burning coal for energy are now switching to wind and solar power. They still have a way to go, but the results, both environmentally and economically, are starting to show.

Because of its history and its ties to energy (both clean and dirty), Pittsburgh was the site of this year’s Power Shift conference. Ten thousand youth leaders all focused on taking action against global climate change, fracking, Keystone XL and more gathered to hear speeches from Bill McKibben of 350.org, Gasland director/writer Josh Fox, and Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, among others. They also attended seminars, received leadership training and networked with like-minded activists.

The Great March for Climate Action’s own youth leader, Marcher Director Zach Heffernen and a team of hard-working volunteers, recruited 60 new marchers while participating in the conference!

This changes the roster and profile of marchers significantly. Thirty-two states and Washington, D.C. are now represented along with three foreign countries. California was the state with the second most marchers, now they’re in fifth. The bulk of the marchers are now in their twenties.

So our marcher community is now, perhaps, much like Pittsburgh: growing, changing and developing for the better.

-Dave Murphy, Communications Director

The Great March for Climate Action

– stepping forward for our Planet, our Future --

EPA Won’t Appeal Court Decision on Wastewater Treatment Rule PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 07:43

October 21, 2013

Vitter, Grassley reiterate call for transparency, and for EPA to affirm its position; Say next move should apply court decision on a national scale


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) made the following statements regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision not to seek Supreme Court review of an appellate court ruling that invalidated new Agency wastewater treatment regulations. EPA had revealed in correspondence with Grassley that it had been enforcing a new interpretation regarding the blending of partially and fully treated wastewater at the municipality level that was not part of the EPA’s existing regulations and had not gone through proper rule-making procedures. Vitter and Grassley challenged the EPA on such a controversial practice earlier this year.

“I’d call this a modest win for municipalities across the country, reaffirming that EPA can’t sneak in a burdensome, new water treatment regulation whenever they want to. This isn’t the first time EPA has gotten creative to avoid transparency and established procedure to affect policy changes, and I don’t expect it’ll be the last,” said Vitter. “I urge the EPA to unambiguously and fairly apply the invalidation of this illegal water treatment regulation on a national level.”

“EPA said in its court petition that subjecting agency letters to Administrative Procedure Act review would create a ‘chilling effect’ that would hurt EPA’s ability to answer requests about its interpretation of laws and regulations.  This misses the point,” Grassley said.  “The court found that the EPA was improperly enforcing an interpretation of the law that was contrary to its published regulations, which is a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.  The fact that the EPA said as much in writing to me simply brought this violation to light.  The solution is not to stop telling Congress what it’s up to, but to stop using interpretations that have not gone through the proper rulemaking procedures.  EPA should learn its lesson and follow the procedures in law meant to keep the agency accountable to the public and Congress.”

In March 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit decided to invalidate new wastewater regulations disguised as guidance letters. EPA had attempted to explain their letters as a new interpretation of existing rules, but the three-judge panel decided that EPA changed its policy without notice and comment, as required by law.

Vitter and Grassley sent a letter in June to the EPA expressing their concern of how the Agency was moving forward with regulations on the wastewater treatment processes, following the 8th Circuit decision saying they cannot circumvent the Administrative Procedure Act. Click here to read more.


Vote Chad Pregracke as the 2013 CNN Hero PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau   
Monday, 14 October 2013 13:07

Chad Pregracke is one of the top 10 finalists in the 2013 CNN Heroes contest.   One of the top 10 will receive $250,000 for their cause if the public chooses them as the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year.   Go Vote for Chad!  Vote daily until November 17th.

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