Science & Technology
President's wind energy visit to Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 13:51

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa authored and won enactment of the first-ever wind energy production tax credit in 1992.  The incentive was designed to give wind energy the ability to compete against coal-fired and nuclear energy and helped to launch the wind energy industry.  He has worked to extend the credit ever since.  He made the following comment on President Obama’s visit to Iowa on wind energy this week.


“I’m glad the President likes Iowa but his visit won’t have much to do with getting the wind energy tax credit extended.  He could travel down the street from the White House to the Capitol and talk to the congressional leadership instead, especially in the Senate, controlled by his party.  It was surprising to read in the paper this week that he hasn’t talked to key committee chairmen in his own party in months.  Maybe the lack of communication is why the President and the Senate Democrats let the biodiesel tax credit expire at the end of 2011 and made that industry suffer from uncertain tax policy.


“There’s strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate for extending the wind energy tax credit.   I introduced a bill with bipartisan co-sponsors in March, for example.  The provision is hung up in the lack of a way forward on dozens of expiring tax provisions.  The President could exert his leadership by working with Congress on a way forward instead of calling for a provision that’s a no-brainer for many of us.  He’s focusing on the easy part of a bigger task.  The stakes for the wind industry and the country in general will only get worse with delay.    It’s time to act, not politick.”


Information on Grassley’s bipartisan bill to extend the wind energy tax credit is available here.

USDA Praises Industry, Midwest Stakeholders, as they Sign an Agreement To Develop Commercial Biofuels PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Sarah Bittleman   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 13:01 logo

Great things continue to happen as America moves forward in developing an “all of the above” strategy to become more energy independent.  For example, an agreement was signed between aviation industry leaders and Midwest stakeholders to develop and commercialize sustainable biofuels.  USDA will act as an advisor to this effort.

The Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI)  supports President Obama’s goal of achieving greater energy independence. Increasing our reliance on sustainable, home-grown sources of energy is good for the nation, good for business, good for rural economies and good for the environment. And agreements like this increase the effectiveness of those efforts, as will, as the President has called for: maintaining the favorable tax treatments such as section 48C of the Internal Revenue Code which provides an investment tax credit of up to 30 percent of qualified investment in a qualifying advanced energy project;  the Producer Tax Credit (PTC) and the Accelerated Depreciation Allowance for cellulosic biofuel producers; and the biodiesel tax credit, all of  which  reduce investment risk. We know these work because accelerated depreciation has been offered for decades to the oil and gas industry to encourage investment and innovation.

The agreement calls for the parties to hold workshops with stakeholders to identify appropriate feedstocks, supply chain logistics and a set of sustainability principles.  It was signed by United Air Lines Inc., the Boeing Co., Honeywell UOP, the City of Chicago’s Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust. MASBI’s Advisory Council will be comprised of national leaders in advanced biofuels including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of the Navy, other Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions.

One of the group’s principal tasks is to identify the challenges of creating viable markets in the Midwest for aviation biofuels. Specifically, it will determine:

  • The transportation and infrastructure needs to deliver biofuels
  • The growth potential for commercial aviation biofuels
  • The best fuel source(s)
  • Policies that are needed to stimulate private-market development of biofuels

The agreement calls for the parties to hold 4-6 workshops by April 2013.  The workshops will include feedstock growers, processors, fuel users, financiers, policy makers and non-government organizations.  A report will be produced at the conclusion of the workshops.

USDA’s support of the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative builds upon USDA’s ongoing work to further the development of biofuels. USDA already has several memorandums of understanding (MOU) on the subject and several programs to fund biofuels research and development. In January 2010, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus signed an MOU to develop advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems for commercial and military transportation needs. Also in 2010, Under Secretary Dallas  Tonsager signed an MOU with Airlines for America on the Farm to Fly project which has studied the feedstock and infrastructure needs for the development of aviation biofuels in the U.S.  In addition, Secretaries Vilsack, Mabus and Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu signed an agreement in January 2011 to work with private industry to develop drop-in biofuels for military and commercial uses.  Most recently, in January 2012, USDA, Boeing, and the Air Transport Association of America, Inc. (now Airlines for America), issued a report summarizing their agreement to work together to accelerate the availability of commercially viable and sustainable aviation biofuels.

For additional information on USDA’s renewable energy programs and activities, check out the USDA Energy page or the Rural Development Energy Programs page on our website.

For more information about today’s announcement click here.

Odyssey of the Mind Brings Thousands to Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Odyssey of the Mind   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:22
Odyssey of the Mind, the largest creative problem-solving competition in the world, will be starting off this year's World Finals tonight with its Opening Ceremonies. It's the beginning of a three-day whirlwind of creativity, competition, and fun. The ceremony is the official opening of the 33rd annual World Finals. Students will meet and support each other, as well as represent their state or country in a march around Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University, which will also be packed with Odyssey supporters and volunteers.
When? Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m.
Where? Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State University, Ames
Who? Over 10,000 excited students from around the world!
Contact: Joan Coates (515) 294-476 Room 4, Scheman Building

Obama should Support Real Energy Solutions, Not More Costly “Green Energy” Giveways PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Mark Lucas   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:18

Des Moines, IA – In advance of President Obama’s planned visit, Americans for Prosperity – Iowa (AFP-IA) is urging the President to support proven energy policies, not more expensive, taxpayer-funded gimmicks like the wind energy tax credit.

“Iowans are tired of propping up politically favored industries while their gas prices soar and unemployment remains high,” said Mark Lucas, State Director of AFP-IA. “Twenty years ago, the wind power industry told us they only needed taxpayer support for a little while to help get them off the ground. Twenty years later, we’re still providing a $5 billion special tax subsidy each year for an industry that supplies just over 2% of our power.”

AFP-IA supports ending all special tax preferences for energy producers and instead allowing the free market to determine which companies succeed.

“We don’t need more Solyndras and Solar Trusts draining taxpayer resources in pursuit of ambiguous “green energy” goals. It’s time for the President to pursue a real “all of the above” energy policy that lowers gas prices and creates jobs.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office. For more information, visit


State Hygienic Laboratory takes the LEED PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Hawkeye Caucus   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:47

What does it take to build a LEED-certified testing facility?  The State Hygienic Laboratory recently earned gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design because it was built and operates in an eco-friendly manner.

Located on the UI Research Park campus, the Hygienic Lab incorporates the rigorous design and safety requirements of a laboratory facility along with LEED elements in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environment. It all combines for a sustainable yet very welcoming place to work.

That means that many of the construction materials were manufactured within the region to reduce the environmental burden associated with hauling materials to the Coralville site. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were selected to minimize or eliminate the emission of compounds that contribute to ozone depletion.  Lockers and break-room chairs were constructed with 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials.


UI President Sally Mason: “This is a lot more than just a laboratory facility.  It represents a promise we’ve made to the people of Iowa for over 100 years, and that’s to protect them and help ensure that we live in the healthiest state possible.”

The Hygienic Laboratory monitors Iowa waterways and the air for contaminants, screens all babies for congenital disorders, and conducts surveillance for infectious diseases.  That amounts to nearly 600,000 public health tests for Iowans each year.

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