Environment & Weather
Harkin, Loebsack Welcomes USDA Disaster Designation for Drought-Stricken Iowa Counties PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Joe Hand   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 12:42

Continues call for action on Farm Bill and Disaster Assistance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after learning that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had issued a disaster declaration to assist Iowa farmers who have suffered losses from the ongoing drought impacting the Midwest.   The counties identified in this declaration have experienced a drought intensity value of at least severe for eight or more consecutive weeks, with some counties experiencing extreme drought conditions at some point.  Harkin is a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.

“The ongoing drought continues to inflict hardship on farmers in Iowa and across the Midwest,” said Harkin.  “With today’s announcement, farmers in eligible counties may apply and qualify for low-interest loans and other disaster assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency, and farmers in all Iowa counties will be allowed expanded haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres.  I welcome today’s actions and thank Secretary Vilsack for responding to our severe drought problems in Iowa.”

In Washington, Congressman Dave Loebsack today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for issuing an agriculture disaster declaration for 42 counties that have seen extensive damage to crops and livestock from the recent drought.  Last week, Loebsack introduced the Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act to help farmers and livestock producers with drought losses beyond insurance until a new farm bill is signed into law.

“I have been walking the rows with farmers to hear firsthand about the damage the recent heat and lack of rain has done to their crops and livestock.  I applaud the USDA for their decision and will continue advocating for the farmers and rural areas who have been greatly impacted.

“USDA has moved to help Iowa farmers – now Congress needs to act and stop playing politics.  As Iowans continue to struggle to recover, our rural areas and farmers need certainty during these tough times. They need Congress to pass a long-term farm bill and extend access to agriculture disaster assistance, not take votes for the appearance of action and then leave for August recess.  Unfortunately, with disaster programs already expired and the farm bill is about to expire – it is now more important than ever for Congress to get to work instead of going on vacation while the fields wither.”

Specifically, the counties of Appanoose, Benton, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Clayton, Clinton, Davis, Delaware, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne.

Benefits are also available for the contiguous counties of Allamakee, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Warren, Washington, Webster, Winneshiek and Wright.

 

###

 
Scott Co. Board of Supervisors Tentative Agenda July 30 Aug 3 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Chris Berge   
Friday, 27 July 2012 12:07

 
Educational Workshops to Take Place on New Floating Classroom PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Friday, 27 July 2012 08:11
Davenport, IA / July 25, 2012 – It’s not always easy to bring the lesson into the classroom, especially if it involves the health of our Country’s rivers. That is why Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) has found a way to bring the classroom to the river with their new barge. This new 150-foot long barge features a handicapped-accessible classroom, which can host up to 60 attendees at a time, as well as sleeping quarters for an 8 person Living Lands & Waters crew. The new barge will be in Davenport for an educator workshop Monday, August 6th and Tuesday, August 7th.

The educator workshops will bring teachers and instructors on board for day long programs on a number of different topics ranging from History to Biology to the Navigation of our waterways, which they can then bring back to their classroom. This is also a chance for teachers to learn about the opportunity of student workshops, which will be conducted in various locations throughout the school year. Living Lands & Waters has been conducting educational workshops since 2003, but this experience could only be attended by teachers and instructors.  “We developed these workshops to give teachers a hands on look at our river environment with lessons they could take back to their students.  The instructors who attended were so engaged, but all said this would have much more of an impact if their students could be on the barge for something like this,” says Tammy Becker, coordinator of the LL&W’s Educational Workshops.  Over the years, LL&W held 92 teacher workshops for more than 1,700 teachers and educators. There were over a 100 different presenters in these presentations and over 60 different topics covered.

“This is a big collaborative effort that will affect so many students nationally.  A first hand look at our rivers will have an impact on these kids for years to come,” says Chad Pregracke, LL&W founder.   LL&W plans to begin focusing on High School Juniors and Seniors. “We plan to work with teachers to customize workshops to dove-tail with the curriculum they are currently concentrating on, be it ecology, history or economics,” said LL&W founder Chad Pregracke.

“This is really taking the education of our rivers to a whole new level and it could not have been done without the help of the many businesses who believe in what we’re doing,” expressed Pregracke.  The floating classroom was made possible by the generous support of five of LL&W’s long-term partners: ADM, AEP River Operations, Ingram Barge Company, Caterpillar and Cargill as well as a number of Unions who gave so many hours of labor to help complete this project.

Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and to the education of people about environmental issues. From his single boat beginning, LL&W has grown to an internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats.  LL&W engages thousands of volunteers each year in river cleanups, hands-on environmental education workshops, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup, Adopt-a-River-Mile programs and the Million Trees Project.  Recently, LL&W founder Chad Pregracke was honored by the Points of Light Foundation.  This distinguished honor, established by former U.S. President George H. W. Bush was awarded during a televised ceremony from the Lincoln Center which featured all of the living former presidents.   Chad ads this honor to many others he’s received in recognition of his achievements since founding LL&W.  They include a Jefferson Award, and awards from the American Institute for Public Service; Heroes of Conservation Nomination and Field & Stream Magazine.

###.

 
Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Strengthen Environmental Protections PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Nafia Khan   
Friday, 27 July 2012 08:09

New laws ensure efficient recycling, waste management and plumbing practices; protect ecosystems

RIVERWOODS – July 26, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed three new laws strengthening environmental protections in Illinois. The new laws protect ecosystems while also taking steps to ensure the state has sound recycling, waste management and plumbing practices. Today’s action is the governor’s latest to safeguard the environment.

“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to protect our natural resources for future generations,” Governor Quinn said. “These laws will make sure that we are using the best recycling and waste management practices to preserve natural resources, while also preventing invasive species from invading our ecosystems.”

Sponsored by Rep. Karen May (D-Highwood) and Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest), House Bill 4986 establishes the Task Force on the Advancement of Materials Recycling to review recycling and solid waste management planning in Illinois. Task Force appointees will have two years to analyze recycling and waste management policies, initiatives and funding in Illinois. They will then report their findings and recommendations to the governor and General Assembly. This law will ensure Illinois’ waste management and recycling practices are efficient and identify ways to maximize productive use of waste materials.

HB 4986 also establishes recycling and composting standards that each county waste management plan must meet. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will be authorized to provide grants to counties and large municipalities in order to help them reach these standards. The law is effective Jan. 1.

Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 4496 updates the plumbing standards code with new green technologies and plumbing practices in Illinois. Sponsored by Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) and Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest), the bill requires the Plumbing Advisory Council to submit recommendations for updated standards to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) by Jan. 1. IDPH will then review these recommendations and submit amendments to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules by May 31, 2013. This bill was an initiative of the Lake County Forest Preserve and will ensure Illinois’ plumbing standards better protect public health, more efficiently utilize natural resources and are consistent with leading technologies and methods.

The law is effective immediately.

The governor also signed House Bill 3892 and House Bill 3888, both sponsored by Rep. JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) and Sen. Suzi Schmidt (R-Lake Villa). HB 3892 allows the Lake County Forest Preserve District to sell a structure on forest preserve land without selling the land itself. The bill also allows the forest preserve to sell surplus property without advertisement if three-fifths of the members of the forest preserve board believe the sale is in the district’s best interest. The law is effective immediately.

HB 3888 requires that any vehicle, seaplane or watercraft in navigable Illinois waters must have all aquatic plants or animals removed from its exterior before being transported away from the body of water. This law will protect aquatic ecosystems in Illinois from invasive species. These species threaten the ecological stability of the habitats they invade, causing severe and permanent damage. Similar laws are currently in place in other Midwest states. The law is effective Jan.1.

###

 
Schilling Requests Secretarial Disaster Declaration from Ag. Secretary Vilsack PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 15:00
Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today joined members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and Governor Pat Quinn in requesting a Secretarial Disaster Declaration from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  This declaration will help Illinois’ agriculture communities currently being impacted by the drought.

“Agriculture has been a bright spot in our economy over the last several years, especially here in the 17th District, which ranks 14th out of 435 Congressional Districts when it comes to the value of sales of corn and soybeans,” Schilling said.  “Some of Illinois’ counties have received disaster declarations, but it’s time that all eligible counties receive the designation.  Farmers and producers here and across the state of Illinois are finding themselves in a difficult spot with this devastating drought, and just can’t wait any longer.”

Schilling was also joined last week by Congressmen Aaron Schock (IL-18) and Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) in sending a bipartisan letter to House leadership urging them to bring H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, to a vote before August.  The Farm Bill passed the House Agriculture Committee, on which Schilling serves, by a strong bipartisan vote of 35-11 on July 12, 2012.  

PDF of the letter can be found by clicking here.

# # #

To send Congressman Schilling an e-mail, click here

 
<< Start < Prev 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 Next > End >>

Page 60 of 94