Science & Technology
Grassley urges Administration to consider formal protest of European Commission action against U.S. ethanol exports PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:44

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has signed onto a letter urging the U.S. Trade Representative and the Acting Secretary of Commerce to consider initiating a challenge at the World Trade Organization regarding the recent decision by the European Commission to impose an anti-dumping duty on exports of ethanol from the United States.

“The administration ought to take a very aggressive position against this penalty because of the way it violates trade law standards and practices that are well established,” Grassley said.  “What’s happened is an unfair trade practice, and the negative impact on the U.S. renewable energy industry is already measurable.”

The penalty is “unprecedented” with the Commission’s “failure to make any particular finding of dumping by any producer or marketer investigated in connection with the case,” wrote the bipartisan group of 15 senators led by Senators John Thune and Amy Klobuchar.  “We believe this rule sets dangerous precedent for trade and trade remedies in advance of the well-publicized state of important trade talks between the United States and the European Union, and will dramatically and unilaterally change the boundaries and limits of international dumping law,” they wrote.

In addition to trade case precedent that has required findings of actual dumping, the senators’ letter said there isn’t an adequate finding by the European Commission that any injury was suffered in the European ethanol industry, noting it is another requirement of international anti-dumping trade law.

Certain member states of the European Union represent significant export markets for U.S. ethanol producers.  In 2012, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands represented the second and fourth largest importers of importers of U.S. ethanol.

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Governor Quinn Announces New Human Services Digital Record System Saves Time and Resources PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 29 April 2013 14:26

Will Eliminate Seven Million Documents per Year and Reduce Client Response Time from Days to Seconds

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced a new digital record system at the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) that will eliminate more than seven million documents per year is already reducing response times for client service from days to seconds. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to reduce government waste and save taxpayer money.

"Our human services caseworkers can best serve their customers by spending time with them, not battling wasteful paperwork,” Governor Quinn said. “This system will allow us to increase accountability while eliminating millions of pieces of paper from the process, helping our caseworkers focus on the needs of their clients.”

DHS is using IBM software to digitize three forms critical to the benefit eligibility determination process: calculation sheets, the combined application form and the chronological record of case processing. Digitizing these forms will eliminate more than seven million pieces of paper annually. With the new system, these forms are electronically filed, which produces an immediate paper savings. It also eliminates the need to wade through more than 100 million pieces of paper stored in case files at local offices and warehouses throughout the state when case workers need to retrieve and update information.

“This solution is an excellent example of state government and private industry working together to develop strategies for maximizing our limited resources,” DHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler said. “Just as important, it helps us streamline our local offices and improve efficiency, which in turn enhances the workplace, employee morale and service to our customers.” 

The IBM system cost $325,000 but paid for itself in just three months with the savings that were realized from its use by more than 2,000 DHS caseworkers. Caseworkers input information into the system and the system automatically determines program eligibility and stores the electronic forms in a central repository for later retrieval. Caseworker time spent retrieving information has gone from days to just seconds, which has been a big boost to customer service.

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Explore the Amazing World of Insects this summer PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Thursday, 25 April 2013 13:05

Join us this summer at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Scott County as weexplore the amazing world of insects in “Insectaganza!” our 4-H Clover Kids summer program.Youth ages five through nine will closely investigate insects such as crickets, butterflies and ladybugs to learn how they communicate, eat, grow, and survive in their natural habitats. Please note that 5 year olds must have completed kindergarten during the 2012-2013 school year.

Registration is on a first come, first served basis. Families can chose from a Monday group or a Wednesday group. Both groups will meet from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. for eight weeks beginning the week of June 10, 2013. The program costs $10.00 for new 4-H Clover Kids. For more information and to print the registration forms visit http://www.extension.iastate.edu/scott orcontact Jodi at (563) 359-7577 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Governor Quinn Announces UIC Health Technology Research Hub PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Erin Wilson   
Thursday, 25 April 2013 07:30

Health, Technology, Innovation at Chicago Will Provide Lab and Office Space, Crucial Support to Drive Life Science Innovation and Job Creation

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by officials from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Illinois Medical District (IMD) Commission to announce a $3.4 million, 12,000-square-foot lab and office space that will serve as a new hub for Chicago’s flourishing bioscience industry. Part of the governor’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward, the Health, Technology, Innovation (HTI) at Chicago Technology Park will bring scientists, clinicians, engineers and industry together and create the nexus for an interdisciplinary approach to drug, diagnostic, medical device and information technology development. The announcement comes as Chicago hosts the BIO Conference, the largest biotech conference in the nation.

“Illinois’ thriving, cutting edge life sciences sector creates jobs while improving people’s lives,” Governor Quinn said. “The HTI will drive further growth in the field, serving as a key resource for our medical science researchers and providing a new platform through which innovative ideas can be developed and introduced to the marketplace.”

Strategically located within the Illinois Medical District near the campus of UIC’s Medical School, the new facility is funded through a $1.7 million state capital investment that was matched by $1.7 million of UIC funds. It is expected to open this summer and will house both shared wet and dry laboratory space, in addition to co-working office space. The HTI will be anchored by a fully-equipped meeting and classroom with high-definition video conferencing, recording and streaming.

The facility will provide the infrastructure where technology development work can take place outside of academic labs, with support and access to professional services to assist in commercialization planning and venture formation guidance. Access to talent, industry networks and connections to capital sources will be a future offering.

With a community based approach, HTI will serve University faculty, staff and students, Chicago area research institutions as well as the broader entrepreneurial community as a nexus of biotechnology commercialization. Laboratory and office space will be ready for occupancy in summer 2013.

HTI is an outgrowth of the Illinois Innovation Council which was created by Governor Quinn in February 2011 to identify and advance strategies that accelerate innovation, economic growth, and job creation. 

"Biotechnology start-ups have an often complicated road through development," University of Illinois President Robert Easter said. "With a fresh approach to incubating promising technologies, HTI will provide a foundation that aligns technology and market feasibility early on, even before companies are formed. Our aim is to produce not only more start-ups but more viable start-ups - companies that will advance both health care and economic development."

“IMD is very pleased to be able to work with our partners to deliver on Governor Quinn’s vision of harnessing the brainpower of our researchers to advance medical science and create jobs,” IMD Director Warren Ribley said. “The HTI will provide both a physical space and support services that will validate technology, convert innovation into products, and accelerate projects to venture readiness.”

“Life science start-ups have unique challenges, including the need for major capital and long development lifecycles,” Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Adam Pollet said. “We hope to create a platform that lowers barriers, addresses early stage risk and provides access to resources.”

Governor Quinn announced earlier this week that a new independent study by Ernst & Young LLP ranked Illinois at the top of the nation’s biotechnology industry, and the state is at the core of the most vibrant bioscience hub in the United States. The report, “The Economic Engine of Biotechnology in Illinois,” shows the Midwest Super Cluster, which includes Illinois and the surrounding eight-state region, surpasses California and the East Coast in biotechnology-related employment, number of establishments and research and development expenditures.

According to the new report, within the Midwest Super Cluster there are more than 16,800 biotechnology establishments employing more than 377,900 people. In addition, the overall economic output of Illinois' biotechnology industry is more than $98.6 billion, accounting for 81,000 direct jobs and more than 3,500 biotechnology companies in the state.

The full report may be viewed at ibio.org/illinoisbiotechreport.

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Iowa Wind Energy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Larry Flowers   
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:34
I wanted to provide you a quick update on Iowa Senate bill SF 372, legislation that proposed to make it easier for owners of smaller scale wind energy projects to contract with utility companies at a fair market price.

SF 372 made excellent progress in the Iowa State Senate, but it will not be passed into law this year.  The Iowa Senate Majority Leader sent the bill back to the Senate Agriculture Committee, which had already approved the bill by a unanimous bipartisan vote. 

When the Iowa legislature reconvenes next year, we will alert you to opportunities to express your support for this legislation.

 
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