Science & Technology
Comment Period Reopens for Midwest Wind Energy Conservation Plan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service   
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 13:38
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the comment period for accepting information and ideas from the public on a proposal to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan for wind energy facilities in the Midwest.  The new comment period ends Dec. 3, 2012.

The Service is leading development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the Midwest that will conserve endangered species, such as the Indiana bat, and promote development of clean energy.  Partners in the development of this plan are eight Midwestern states, the American Wind Energy Association, representing a consortium of wind energy companies, and The Conservation Fund.  The Service is asking the public to help identify issues that are important to them as the plan is developed.  The incidental take permit(s) will cover participating wind energy facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

While it is well known that some species of bats are particularly vulnerable to striking turbines at wind energy facilities, the purpose of the plan is to develop conservation measures such as siting of turbines or facilities, minimizing adverse effects from construction and operations, and mitigation of adverse impacts through the development of a strategic mitigation strategy for the long-term conservation of species.  The Endangered Species Act makes it illegal to “take” – harm, harass or kill -- animals on the Endangered Species List; therefore a permit is needed if take is expected to happen.  The proposed plan is required to obtain an incidental take permit(s) for participating wind energy facilities in the Midwest.

The Service is requesting information and comment concerning the planning process, permitting approach, the interaction of wind facilities and species, scientific data that may help inform the plan or monitoring of impacts, and any other information that interested parties would like to offer.  Comments may be mailed to: Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amidon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458; faxed to:  612/713-5292 (Attn: Rick Amidon); or E-mailed to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  The deadline for receiving comments is December 3, 2012.

More information on habitat conservation plans and endangered wildlife can be found at:
.  Information about the role that the Service plays in wind energy development and the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife can be found at

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

Loebsack Applauds 2013 Biodiesel Renewable Fuel Standard Volume Increase PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:07

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today commended the Administration’s decision to approve an increase in biodiesel usage through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from 1 billion to 1.28 billion gallons for 2013.  Loebsack has led efforts in the House of Representatives to ensure the inclusion of a biodiesel standard in the RFS, as well as to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit.

“The updated standard will bring more certainty to the biodiesel industry,” said Loebsack.  “This growing industry creates good paying jobs for Iowans and helps to shore up rural economies.  This updated standard for 2013 will help ensure that biodiesel continues to thrive in Iowa and provide employment and economic growth.”


Biodiesel -- RFS Volume Increase announcement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:46
Friday, September 14, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley commented today about the final number released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the Renewable Fuels Standard volume increase.  Senator Grassley joined other senators six months ago in sending the attached letter urging OMB to act on this decision.

“This decision was too long in coming, especially with the negative impact the lack of certainty about policies in Washington is having on America’s economy.  Biodiesel is a very good example of the impact that regulatory decisions and tax policy have on jobs and the economy.  Biodiesel has been a highlight of the Renewable Fuels Standard so far, so moving ahead with this increase is good news for plant workers going forward.  Along with creating jobs, biodiesel helps to expand renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on foreign oil.”

Braley Receives Award from Iowa Renewable Fuel Group PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 07:59

Dubuque, IA – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) received the 2012 Fueling Growth Award from Growth Energy, who represents 79 ethanol producing plants, dozens of associate members, and thousands of grassroots supporters across the nation. Jim Nussle, former Congressman from Iowa’s First District, is the President and COO of Growth Energy.

This award is the highest honor presented to congressional leaders who support ethanol – America’s home-grown, renewable fuel.

Mars Curiosity & the Human Condition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 07:41
Religious Scholar Cites 4 Reasons
to Support Space Exploration

Despite slashing government budgets on everything from entitlement to defense programs, NASA is proceeding with its $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Central to the mission’s success is Curiosity – a one-ton rover that continues to impress Earthlings with laser blasts for rock samples, mobility via a joystick and plenty of video and pictures. On all accounts, the mission, which may provide answers to questions of life on Mars, has so far been a wild success.

“With this Mars program, NASA has once again captured the imaginations of people throughout the world, instigating conversations about the universe and even the significance of life not only on Earth, but also on other planets,” says Sanjay C. Patel, (, author of “God Is Real,” a book that explores similarities between modern science and ancient cosmology.

Science and religion do not conflict with each other; they are different languages that ultimately lead to the same truth, he says. As science has done in the past, Patel suspects more data from extraterrestrial locations like Mars will continue to confirm ancient religious theories. He discusses four reasons why the Mars mission is well worth the expense.

• 2012 meets 1492 – an argument for resources: It’s not just science-fiction anymore; prominent scientists like Steven Hawking say Earth’s moon, Mars and Titan, a moon of Saturn, have resources people will need sooner rather than later. The main reason – the world’s explosive growth in human population and the exponential consumption of land and other necessities. What we might find, Patel says, is a scenario very much like that which early Europeans experienced in the New World: new foods, reams of building supplies, new fuels, land and other resources. We may discover things that will become essential to future human beings.

• A spiritual-scientific connection: Science has confirmed what religion posited more than a millennium ago, Patel says. For example, scientific findings have confirmed what ancient Yogis said: That volcanic fire scorched India about 120 million years ago. Related volcanoes in the ocean south of India submerged about 117 million years ago. “The submarine Fire exists in the ocean,” he says, quoting ancient Yogis. “It drinks the seawater and removes its saltiness. It then expels the desalinated water from another opening. … That perfectly describes the undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents near India.”

• If we’re not moving forward … Predictions as to where we’d be with space exploration in 2012 were quite ambitious during the race to the moon in the 1960s. But we haven’t accomplished a lot since then. Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently argued that we’re still reaping the benefits of the research and development that went into the space race decades ago, and to negate space exploration is to turn off one of humanity’s most important dimensions – our ambition to innovate.

• Alien life may not be so alien: As the European discovery of the New World revealed, the meeting of foreign civilizations can have disastrous consequences. However, the discovery of life elsewhere, whether or not it is intelligent or self-aware, can further enlighten us as to our origins, our reason for being, and our role in the universe, Patel says.

About Sanjay C. Patel

Sanjay C. Patel studied theology, Sanskrit, ancient cosmology, advanced yoga and meditation techniques, among many other subjects, earning a degree in Divinity at the BAPS Swaminarayan Ashram in India. He continued studies of modern science and ancient spiritual texts for 30 years. His discoveries regarding the convergence of science and ancient texts were published in mainstream science journals and presented at the 22nd International Congress of History of Science in Beijing.

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