Environment & Weather
Braley Will Host Emergency Telephone Town Hall on Drought Situation in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 15:49

Braley will talk with farmers about the drought’s effect on agriculture in eastern Iowa 

Washington, DC – On Thursday, July 19, 2012, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) will host an emergency telephone town hall with Iowa farmers to discuss the Iowa drought, its impact on Iowa agriculture, disaster relief, and this year’s Farm Bill. Braley will be joined by Juan Garcia, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Braley has hosted 12 listening sessions on the Food, Farm and Job Bill across eastern Iowa this summer. The listening sessions have taken Braley to Grinnell, Independence, Manchester, Marengo, Marshalltown, Peosta, St. Ansgar, Strawberry Point, Toledo, and Vinton.  Also, Braley joined USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at listening session events in Maquoketa and Cedar Rapids last month.

Braley and Garcia will be available to answer Iowans’ questions and comments live over the phone. The event is open to the public. Iowans interested in participating should use the following instructions.

Call-In Information: 

When: Thursday, July 19, 2012

Time: 7:00 PM Central Time

Phone Number: 877-229-8493, Code: 110428#

# # #

Loebsack Welcomes USDA Disaster Designation for Southern Iowa Counties PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 12:43

Washington, D.C. – July 17, 2012 - Congressman Dave Loebsack today applauded the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for issuing an agriculture disaster designation for the entire state of Missouri.  The designation also includes 10 Iowa counties along the border.

“Iowans who have lost livestock, have seen the quality of their crop decline, and are seeing grazing land dry up are in need of this assistance.  I applaud the USDA for their decision and stand ready to assist the farmers and rural areas who have been greatly impacted by the recent heat wave and lack of rain.  As Iowans continue to struggle to recover, our rural areas and farmers need this assistance to help assure they are well-positioned to contribute to our economic recovery.”

The 10 contiguous counties in Southern Iowa where benefits are also available include Appanoose, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Lee, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Van Buren and Wayne.


Governor Quinn Expands Drought Relief Effort PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 16 July 2012 14:32

Offers Ongoing Assistance to Affected Farmers and Communities

MT. VERNON, IL – July 16, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced state assistance available to farmers and residents in drought impacted areas after meeting with farmers and viewing crop damage resulting from persistent, widespread drought conditions in Southern Illinois. Joined by Illinois Department of Agriculture Acting Director Bob Flider, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director David Vaught and Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller, the governor called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to grant a disaster designation to a total of 33 Illinois counties, up from the 26 determined eligible for emergency support by the USDA last week.

Through a request to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Governor Quinn requested that seven additional counties (Bond, Champaign, Greene, Monroe, Morgan, Stephenson and Washington) be declared eligible for emergency USDA support. He also announced a set of four agricultural aid programs offered by the Illinois Finance Authority.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Illinois’ economy, and as we’ve seen today, severe drought conditions are devastating crop production throughout the state,” Governor Quinn said. “As this drought continues, we are committed to using all the tools we have to help impacted farmers and communities bounce back.”

Governor Quinn’s letter to Secretary Vilsack notes that the seven additional counties have demonstrated crop reduction losses of 30 percent or more, which is the USDA threshold for triggering disaster relief. In addition, Governor Quinn called for the federal Congress to finish its work on the Farm Bill which includes assistance for crops and livestock that will help Illinois farmers.

“We will continue to identify every resource possible for producers who have been impacted by this drought,” IDOA Acting Director Bob Flider said.  “We are working closely with the agricultural community of Illinois and the USDA to continually evaluate conditions throughout the state.”

Farmers in USDA disaster-designated areas can seek assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including emergency loans. Those in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for assistance.

In addition to the USDA relief, Governor Quinn announced that the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) will partner with local banks to activate four programs statewide to accelerate support to eligible farmers:

·         Agricultural Restructuring Debt Guarantee Program provides an 85 percent guarantee with a term up to 30 years on a local bank loan up to $500,000 used to consolidate existing debt and spread payments out over a longer period

·         Working Capital Guarantee Program provides an 85 percent guarantee with a commitment up to three years on a local bank loan up to $250,000 used for input costs related to planting and raising agricultural crops

·         Agricultural Loan Participation Program provides IFA purchase of up to $500,000 of a customer’s bank loan to reduce interest rate with a loan term up to 10 years

·         Rural Development Loan Program provides loans under a relending program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development from $50,000 to $250,000 for economic development financing in communities with less than 25,000 population

The Governor also launched Drought.Illinois.gov, a web repository for information on drought conditions, disaster declarations and related information. The website includes quick access to resources like the Department of Agriculture’s “Illinois Hay Directory” which can help Illinois producers locate hay to feed their livestock. Many pastures have been badly damaged this year, making the Hay Directory especially important. Printed copies of the Hay Directory also are available by calling (217) 782-4925.

Today’s announcements build on the recommendations of the Governor’s Drought Response Task Force, a group of state, federal and university officials called together last week to report on the conditions of the state’s water resources. They will continue to gather, monitor and report on all local and statewide water issues. They will continue to offer recommendations and update Drought.Illinois.gov as weather conditions change.

The 26 counties in Illinois that have received Secretarial Disaster Designation include: Alexander, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White and Williamson.

A combination of extremely hot and dry weather in Illinois made the first half of 2012 the sixth driest on record, according to the Illinois State Water Survey.  Statewide rainfall averaged just 12.6 inches for the period of January through June, nearly seven inches below normal.  Every month this year has had above normal temperatures and the statewide average of 52.8 degrees for the past sixth months is the warmest on record.

For more information, please visit Drought.Illinois.gov.

About the Illinois Finance Authority

The Illinois Finance Authority provides expert, hands-on support to help businesses get the capital they need for growth. To support Illinois businesses and the State’s economic development agenda, the IFA provides access to low-cost, non-conventional financing, through banks and other sources. IFA secures financing for farms, industries, businesses, local governments, hospitals and other non-profits. The agency is continually seeking new opportunities and invites developers, financiers and community partners to see how IFA can help. Go to www.il-fa.com to learn more.


News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Erin Robinson Vorac   
Monday, 16 July 2012 14:07

QUAD CITIES—Xstream Cleanup, presented by Riverboat Development Authority and Group O, is seeking hundreds of volunteers to clean up 43 sites in the Quad Cities area on Saturday, August 11 from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Cleanups will take place in Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire and McCausland, Iowa; Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis, Illinois.

Volunteers can choose to participate in either a light-duty or heavy-duty cleanup, invasive plant removal or a greening/beautification project. All volunteers registered by August 2 receive a free t-shirt and a pass for a special viewing area at River Roots Live on August 18.

No previous cleanup experience is necessary and supplies will be provided. A parent or guardian must accompany volunteers under the age of 18. Interested persons should register online at www.xstreamcleanup.org. The registration deadline is August 2.

This event will mark the ninth annual Xstream Cleanup. Last year nearly 1,300 volunteers worked on August 13 and removed 69,455 pounds of debris from area waterways and illegal dump sites.

Xstream Cleanup 2012 is sponsored by: Presenting Sponsors: Group O and Riverboat Development Authority. Platinum Sponsors: Alcoa, iLivehere® and Living Lands & Waters. Gold Sponsors: Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, Iowa American Water, Rock Island County Waste Management Agency and The Moline Foundation. Silver Sponsors: Alter Metal Recycling, DHL Global Forwarding, Independent Insurance Agents of Scott County, McCarthy-Bush Corporation, Oystar Packaging Technologies, Quad City Conservation Alliance, Radish magazine, Sears Seating and Wallace’s Garden Center. Bronze Sponsors: Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Eastern Iowa Grain Inspection, Mel Foster Company and Midas Auto Systems Experts. Logistics Sponsors: Cities of Bettendorf, Buffalo, Davenport, LeClaire, McCausland, Milan, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis. Allied Waste, Bi-State Regional Commission, Keep Rock Island Beautiful, Partners of Scott County Watersheds, River Roots Live and Waste Commission of Scott County.


EPA Seeks IDNR Action to Correct Deficiencies in Iowa’s CAFO Permitting and Compliance Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Kris Lancaster   
Friday, 13 July 2012 12:25

(Kansas City, Kan., July 12, 2012) – EPA’s initial findings from an informal investigation of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) permit program for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) disclose several correctable deficiencies.

EPA’s investigation was carried out in response to a petition for withdrawal of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program authorization from IDNR that was filed in 2007 by the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Sierra Club and the Environmental Integrity Project.  Federal regulations allow interested parties to file these petitions when they are concerned that a state is not meeting the minimum NPDES program requirements.

EPA’s initial findings identify deficiencies in IDNR’s NPDES program that the state agency will need to correct.  Among others, EPA found that IDNR does not have an adequate program to assess whether unpermitted CAFOs need NPDES permits. The findings also note that IDNR must clarify its authority to issue NPDES permits to confinement (roofed) CAFOs that discharge.

EPA also found that in a number of cases involving Clean Water Act (CWA) violations, IDNR failed to take timely and adequate enforcement actions, and assess adequate penalties. The report containing the initial findings is available at www.epa.gov/region7/water/.

“Although today’s report highlights areas for improvement, IDNR has made substantial strides in identifying large open feedlots and requiring those operators to apply for permits,” said Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator.  “As a national leader in beef, swine and poultry production, with roughly 7,000 animal feeding operations, it is imperative that Iowa have an NPDES permitting, compliance and enforcement program that complies with federal law and protects the quality of Iowa’s rivers, lakes and streams.

The issuance of the initial report is the first step in the process in which EPA will work with IDNR to correct the deficiencies. EPA has asked that IDNR provide a written response to the report, within 60 days, describing the actions IDNR has taken or will take to correct the deficiencies, including a proposed plan and timeline to address the deficiencies. EPA intends to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on IDNR proposals to correct the deficiencies.

Any discharge of pollutants into a river or stream is a violation of the Clean Water Act unless the discharge is authorized by an NPDES permit. NPDES, a part of the Clean Water Act, requires CAFOs that discharge to obtain a permit from EPA or authorized states. The Clean Water Act also requires EPA and authorized states to assess whether CAFOs discharge and need an NPDES permit.

# # #

Learn more about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Clean Water Act:


Learn more about the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

and how it regulates concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs):


For a summary of how the NPDES regulations define large, medium and small CAFOs:


EPA Region 7 offers 10 tips to help CAFO owners and operators prepare for inspections:


Connect with EPA Region 7 on Facebook:


<< Start < Prev 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 Next > End >>

Page 63 of 96