Science & Technology
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 www.americansforprosperity.org

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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.

QUOTE/UNQUOTE

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.”

DID YOU KNOW?
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.

 
Loebsack Introduces Legislation to Connect Rural Schools to the Digital World PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 09:35

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack recently introduced legislation that will target rural schools to ensure they have access to the latest digital learning technologies.  The Schools of the Future Act will provide grants to transform the typical classroom experience into one that is more student-centered and provides teachers with more accurate information and feedback on student progress so that they can better address the needs of struggling students. Loebsack is co-chair of the bipartisan Rural Education Caucus.

“Technology has the power to vastly expand the educational options available to students in rural areas, providing students with a cutting-edge 21st Century education regardless of geography,” said Loebsack.  “Digital technology holds great potential for rural schools, which often have trouble recruiting and retaining teachers and offering a variety of electives or advanced coursework.”

This legislation builds off of the work already being done in Iowa.  For example, the Iowa Department of Education is working with the University of Iowa to develop the Iowa Online Advance Placement Academy to deliver Advanced Placement courses to high school students across the state, particularly rural and small schools that may not have the capacity to provide these courses themselves, using online technology. The Iowa Department of Education also runs Iowa Learning Online (ILO), which allows students from across the state to enroll in any number of distance education courses, including high school credit classes and post-secondary courses available through Iowa community colleges and universities.

Specifically, the legislation Loebsack introduced will provide funding for schools to implement digital learning strategies such as:

·         providing expanded curriculum opportunities,

·         providing accelerated or advanced coursework, or

·         personalizing the learning experience by providing content that is tailored to an individual student’s learning style, ability, and needs.

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Connect Iowa Report Details Broadband’s Impact on Businesses, Economy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Jessica Ditto   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:21

Survey of business technology adoption shows broadband an economic driver vital to continuing recovery

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Des Moines, IA – Connect Iowa today released a comprehensive report detailing the key role broadband plays in business performance and the implications for a continuing economic recovery. Online sales in Iowa account for approximately $2.9 billion in annual sales revenue, and yet 27% of businesses in Iowa still do not use broadband.

“Broadband is crucial to keeping the Iowa economy growing, vibrant, and competitive,” said Connect Iowa Project Manager Amy Kuhlers. “The findings of this research offer important information to our state’s policymakers and business leaders about how to plan further expansion of broadband access, adoption, and use and how existing services are impacting our local economy and our competitiveness on a global scale.”

The report, titled Technology Adoption Among Iowa Businesses, is based on a scientific survey of 804 business establishments in Iowa.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Broadband-connected businesses bring in approximately $300,000 more in annual median revenues than non-broadband adopting businesses
  • 24,000 Iowa businesses use the Internet to advertise job openings or accept job applications
  • 22,000 businesses in Iowa are still not connected to broadband and are unable to actively participate in the digital global economy
  • Approximately 21,000 Iowa businesses allow employees to telework, including approximately 11,000 small businesses with fewer than 5 employees
  • About 43,000 Iowa business establishments have websites, including 21,000 rural Iowa businesses

For several years, Connect Iowa’s parent organization, Connected Nation, has worked to quantify the impact that increased broadband availability and utilization has on the economy. The broadband and business study is an annual study to provide insights in the business side of broadband adoption. Across Iowa, 73% of businesses subscribe to broadband service, a slight increase from 2010 when 72% of businesses subscribed.

Connect Iowa’s Business Technology Assessment was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant program, funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The business survey results have been independently peer reviewed, and this survey will be used by state and local leaders to help drive increased adoption and use of broadband. In particular, these surveys will be used to inform Connect Iowa’s Connected community engagement program where local and regionals volunteers in dozens of communities are undergoing a broadband assessment and identifying technology needs and opportunities.

Through broadband mapping, education, and research such as this business survey, nonprofit Connect Iowa has been working on promoting broadband access, adoption, and use since 2009. Find out more at www.connectiowa.org or contact Kuhlers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (515) 421-2561.

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About Connect Iowa: Connect Iowa is a subsidiary of Connected Nation and operates as a nonprofit in the state of Iowa to promote broadband access, adoption, and use. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is leading the initiative to increase broadband Internet access throughout rural Iowa. Connect Iowa was commissioned by the state to work with all broadband providers in Iowa to create detailed maps of broadband coverage and develop a statewide plan for the deployment and adoption of broadband. For more information visit: www.connectiowa.org.

 
It is Past Time to Renew Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:48

Submits statement to House Ways and Means Committee calling for action to avoid uncertainty

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in calling on the House Ways and Means Committee to include a renewal of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy in upcoming tax legislation. As a cosponsor of the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011, Loebsack has pushed to end the current uncertainty caused by the approaching expiration of the credit and bring attention to the wind energy industry in Iowa.  He has visited numerous wind industry facilities throughout Iowa that create good jobs in the state and promote economic development.

“The wind industry is creating thousands of jobs across the country, supporting the work of hundreds of wind‐related manufacturing facilities, and offering lease payments to thousands of farmers,” the Congressmen expressed to the Ways and Means Committee leadership. “The uncertainty caused by the looming expiration of the credit is already hampering future industry growth. Given our expanding but still fragile economy, now is not the time to undermine these substantial public and private investments.”

Earlier this year, Loebsack wrote to House Speaker John Boehner calling for action on the renewal of the PTC for wind energy.  A copy of the statement Loebsack and a bipartisan group of his colleagues submitted to the Ways and Means Committee for the hearing today, is below.

 

April 26, 2012

The Honorable Pat Tiberi

Chairman

U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

106 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Richard Neal

Ranking Member

U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

2208 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Tiberi and Ranking Member Neal:

As you evaluate tax provisions that either expired in 2011 or will expire in 2012, we write to highlight our belief that extension of the production tax credit is firmly in the national interest and a vital component of America’s future competitiveness and we urge its inclusion the next available piece of tax legislation.

The wind industry is creating thousands of jobs across the country, supporting the work of hundreds of wind‐related manufacturing facilities, and offering lease payments to thousands of farmers and ranchers. Thirty‐eight states have utility‐scale wind projects, powering more than 12 million homes. Wind energy drives the diversification of our energy supply and strengthens our resilience to energy related challenges, while improving our national energy security. Additionally, the more than 40,000 megawatts of wind power installed through 2010 annually avoids 83.5 million tons of carbon pollution.

The production tax credit, which enjoys broad support across regions and across the political spectrum, has underwritten many of these developments. In fact, there is a strong correlation to industry growth and the existence of the credit. In years following expiration of the credit, for instance, installations dropped between 79‐93%, resulting in major job losses and lost opportunities. The uncertainty caused by the looming expiration of the credit is already hampering future industry growth. Given our expanding but still fragile economy, now is not the time to undermine these substantial public and private investments.

Thank you for your careful consideration of this incentive.

Sincerely,

 Dave Loebsack

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