Science & Technology
Turn Green Into Green: Illinois Energy Now Public Sector Workshop PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Theresa Wittenauer   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 10:04
ROCK FALLS, IL – Carol Kulek, Consultant for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities (DCEO), will speak at the upcoming Turn Green Into Green: Illinois Energy Now Public Sector Workshop. The meeting will be held on December 12th at 10:00 AM at the Ogle County Farm Bureau located at 421 West Pines Road in Oregon, IL.

Carol and other representatives will present information regarding financial incentives that are being offered through Illinois Energy Now. These incentives cover a portion of facility upgrades to electric and natural gas systems including HVAC equipment, motors and drives, water heaters, boilers, lighting equipment, gas furnaces and refrigeration equipment. The workshop is designed to help local government officials and other public facility managers identify specific ways they can help cut energy costs and access millions of dollars in funding available through the DCEO Illinois Energy office.

DCEO staff will be on site to schedule free energy audits for public facilities and provide application assistance. The presentation will cover a new "Sweet Deal Bonus" which could increase the qualifying incentive of a project for a limited time.

The workshop is intended for any representatives of public sector facilities located in Carroll, Lee, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties. This workshop is free of charge and open to the public. However, participants are asked to pre-register. For additional information about the Turn Green Into Green: Illinois Energy Public Sector Workshop or to register, please contact Blackhawk Hills at (815) 625-3854 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

About Blackhawk Hills

Blackhawk Hills is a not-for-profit corporation based in Rock Falls, IL, that serves Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties in northwest Illinois. Services include community planning, development assistance, natural resources  conservation and protection support, and grant writing and administration. Blackhawk Hills is sponsored by local county boards and Soil and Water Conservation Districts and is overseen by an 18-member council, consisting of three representatives from each of the six counties.

Questions about Blackhawk Hills may be directed to Theresa Wittenauer at (815) 625-3854 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Grassley, Udall to Headline Press Conference on Extending the Wind Production Tax Credit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 14:50

Senators to be joined by Reps. McNerney & King, veterans working in wind industry

TOMORROW, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, Senators Chuck Grassley and Mark Udall will headline a press conference with Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and veterans from around the country to discuss the importance of extending the Wind Production Tax Credit.  Around 40 veterans, many of whom have found post-military careers in the wind energy industry, are participating in a two day fly-in during which they also will meet with members of Congress from their home states.

The Wind PTC is due to expire at the end of this year unless Congress renews it.  Without renewal, thousands of jobs and our energy security will be jeopardized.  The wind PTC supports thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs throughout the country.  Americans of all stripes, including veterans, have benefited from the job opportunities and growth created by the wind energy industry.

Grassley has been the father of the wind PTC and has fought to ensure that the wind industry has the support it needs to power communities.  Udall has been a vocal proponent for the wind PTC, speaking almost every day the Senate has been in session to urge his colleagues to extend the PTC and secure made-in-America energy and the jobs it creates.

Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy released for public comment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Tim Albrecht   
Monday, 19 November 2012 13:52

Strategy is a science and technology based approach to reducing nutrients to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico

(DES MOINES) – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad today joined Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Director Chuck Gipp from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Dr. John Lawrence from Iowa State University to announce the release of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy for public comment.

“Iowans care about our natural resources and want to protect them for future generations.” Branstad said. “This strategy keeps us at the forefront of using voluntary, science-based practices to improve water quality in our state, and is an important step forward.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based approach to assess and reduce nutrients delivered to Iowa waterways and the Gulf of Mexico.  The strategy outlines voluntary efforts to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point sources, such as wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban areas, in a scientific, reasonable and cost effective manner.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) worked with Iowa State University over a two-year period to develop the strategy.  The resulting strategy is the first time such a comprehensive and integrated approach addressing both point and nonpoint sources of nutrients has been completed.

The Iowa strategy has been developed in response to the 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan that calls for the 12 states along the Mississippi River to develop strategies to reduce nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico.  The Iowa strategy follows the recommended framework provided by EPA in 2011 and is only the second state to complete a statewide nutrient reduction strategy.

“The strategy’s science assessment provides a research-based foundation to quantify the effectiveness of current practices for reducing nutrient losses from the landscape,” said John Lawrence, associate dean for extension and outreach programs in ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of ISU Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension. “The assessment reflects two years of work to evaluate and model the effects of the practices by scientists from ISU, IDALS, DNR, USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and other institutions.”

Iowans are invited to review the strategy and provide feedback during a 45 day comment period that starts today and will end on January 4, 2013.  The full report, additional information and place for comments can be found at

In addition, presentations will be made to farmers, certified crop advisors and others in the agriculture industry as part of ISU Extension and Outreach educational meetings beginning this fall. Thousands of people will learn of the strategy, where to find more information and how to provide comments about it.

Point Sources (DNR)

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be working with major facilities throughout the state to reduce nutrient discharges from point sources to Iowa’s waters with a goal of reducing total phosphorus by 16 percent and total nitrogen by 4 percent.

“The DNR has been working with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa State for nearly two years and support this strategy document and the collaborative process that created it.  Many Iowans enjoy our state’s natural resources and it important we protect them for future generations,” Gipp said.

Nonpoint Sources

To address nutrient transport from nonpoint sources the strategy uses a comprehensive, first of its kind scientific assessment of conservation practices and associated costs to reduce loading of nutrients to Iowa surface waters.  The strategy identifies five key categories to focus the efforts in addressing nonpoint sources and identifies multiple action items within each category.

The five categories are: Setting Priorities; Documenting Progress; Research and Technology; Strengthen Outreach, Education, Collaboration; and Funding.

By harnessing the collective innovation and capacity of Iowa agricultural organizations, ag businesses and farmers the strategy takes a significant step forward towards implementing practices to improve water and soil quality.

“This strategy provides the most up-to-date scientific information available to farmers as they seek to use the best practices available to reduce nutrient delivery from their farm,” Northey said.  “The goal of this strategy is to get more conservation practices on the ground.  This is not about rules or regulations, instead this strategy provides resources to farmers to help them improve water quality.”


Branstad and Reynolds applaud decision to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 19 November 2012 13:45

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds applaud the Federal government’s decision to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and deny pending waiver requests.  Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, accounting for 25% of total U.S. ethanol production.  In addition, Iowa’s biofuels industry has added $13.1 billion to our economy, generated $2.4 billion in household income and supported 49,000 jobs.

Gov. Branstad sent a letter earlier this year encouraging the EPA to maintain the RFS and avoid the scenario of adding more uncertainty into the agriculture sector by granting the waiver requests.

Governor Branstad said the following:

“There is no question that this year’s drought caused hardships in the agriculture sector, particularly for the livestock producers.  The EPA rightfully decided that the waivers were not an effective remedy to those hardships and would have instead injected unnecessary additional uncertainty into another component of the agriculture sector.”

Lt. Governor Reynolds stated the following:

“Governor Branstad and I continue to  believe that biofuels can play a significant role in diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio and making our nation more energy independent.”

More information on the EPA decision can be found at:

# # #

Loebsack Pushes Speaker Boehner to Renew Wind Energy Credit Immediately PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 16 November 2012 09:38

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today led the push, along with a group of lawmakers, in calling for the passage of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy.  The lawmakers took to the House floor to call on Speaker Boehner to bring up and pass legislation to extend the wind energy tax credit, which expires at the end of the year.  Video of his remarks can be found here.

“Iowa is the second largest producer of wind energy. Wind manufacturing involves about 200 companies and 6,000 good-paying jobs for Iowans,” said Loebsack on the House floor.  “Congress should not play games with people’s jobs and pull the rug out from an industry employing thousands in the middle of an economic downturn.  The wind credit is also important for energy production and job creation. Congress must extend the wind credit now, before more jobs are lost.”

Loebsack has taken the lead in Congress to demand that Speaker Boehner act to ensure the jobs associated with wind energy, including 6,000 in Iowa, are not lost because of the inaction by the Leadership in the House.  Since the beginning of the year, Loebsack has met personally with the President to encourage his leadership on this issue and stressed the importance of passing this legislation on multiple occasions with Speaker Boehner.


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