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The 2014 Iowa Chapter Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, October 4, at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City.  A volunteer-led hike will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the luncheon to be served at noon.  Karl Brooks, Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator, will be the featured speaker..  

 

Calendar of Events

Get in some outdoor time. Our Sierra Club Groups in Iowa regularly plan outings and other activities.  Select a Local Group in the My backyard dropdown menu and get details of the outings groups have planned.  

 

Clair Tappaan Lodge Outings

 

Need to get away?  Check out the activities being offered at the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge at the Sierra Nevada of California mountains in the middle of the Tahoe National Forest.

 

 

What interests you?

The Iowa Chapter developed a survey to find out what our members and supporters are interested in. This will help us better understand how to contact you when your issue arises. We'd love to hear about what matters most to you, what issues you're involved in, if you have time to work with us, and more!

Please take a few minutes to complete our survey.

 

Volunteer Page

News about volunteer activities and upcoming projects.   Click here for more information.

 

 

News Releases

Read recent Sierra Club news releases.

 

 

Web Archives

Information that has been moved off the front page.

 

 

2014 Legislation

Are you interested in what is going on with our lawmakers in Des Moines? See the Legislation that is of interest to you, your environment, and your community. Find out more and respond to our action alerts.

 

Manure Spills and Fish Kills

Find out where the latest manure spill and/or fish kill occurred here...

 

 

Fish Advisories Posted

The Department of Natural Resources has posted fish consumption advisories for nine sites.  Find out where they are here...

 

Bypasses

Excess rainwater or snow melt need somewhere to go.  Often, the sewage bypasses a treatment plant thus preventing sewage from backing up into basements. Facilities are required to report bypasses caused by mechanical failures to the DNR within 12 hours of onset or discovery. Facilities do not have to immediately report bypasses from precipitation events, but must include them in their monthly operating report to the DNR.  Click here to see the most current information about your city's bypass history this year.

 

 

The Green Life

Tips for living well and doing good.

 

 

Corporations Are Not People

The Sierra Club has joined a coalition to advance the efforts to amend the constitution so that corporations are not persons.  Find out more and sign the MoveToAmend petition.


 DONATE TO THE IOWA CHAPTER

The Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club now accepts PayPal so you can help financially support Iowa Sierra Club's objectives for clean air, clean water and a cleaner environment.

Make a non-deductible donation to the Iowa Chapter.

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You can also make a tax deductible donation to the Iowa Chapter.

NEWS 

Veto Jeopardizes Historic REAP Vote

Iowans made it loud and clear in 2014 that REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection) is a popular program.   Legislators heard us and, in response, fumnded REAP at $25 million through three pieces of legislation.\

Gov,. Terry Branstad vetoed all but $16 million of the bill.  

Learn what you can do.

 

National Day of Action in Des Moines, May 17th

Local citizens said “No” to Keystone XL and “Yes” to clean energy

Central Iowans joined hands to ask the President and local officials to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and other dirty fuel projects that threaten our communities and destabilize our climate.

The event was one of hundreds of synchronized events with Hands Across the Sand/Land and other partners to raise awareness about the dangers of dirty fuels and the need to speed the transition to available, affordable clean energy solutions.

The National Day of Action is another manifestation of a growing movement demanding that our leaders act quickly and boldly to address climate change. It comes in the wake of the U. S. Department of State's recent announcement that it was extending its review of the pipeline, and the Reject & Protect encampment in Washington, DC which dramatically highlighted the opposition of farmers, ranchers and Native Americans who would be directly impacted by the pipeline, 

In early March, Keystone activists presented the Administration with over 2.5 million comments opposing the pipeline.

 

Sierra Club Calls for More Balanced Stakeholder Group, Public Meetings in Considering Topsoil Retention Rule 

The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is calling on Chuck Gipp, Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), to expand the stakeholder group involved with reviewing a rule requiring that construction companies return four inches of topsoil to construction sites upon completion. 

In the Notice of the Stakeholder Group, the DNR states that “Concerns have been expressed by impacted individuals that the costs and impacts of the topsoil preservation requirements are greater than anticipated and greater than what should reasonably be borne by developers and home buyers.” 

The Notice further states that “The stakeholder group will consider alternative topsoil preservation requirements that would satisfy the federal requirement, maintain locally expected levels of surface water protection and soil preservation, and minimize costs associated with these standards.” 

“The reason for the topsoil restoration rule is to help increase water infiltration into the soil,” said Debbie Neustadt, Iowa Chapter chair. “It also helps prevent runoff and erosion, retains healthy soil, and lessens the degradation of water quality. Topsoil retention will aid the homebuyers in their efforts to establish landscaping – grass, trees and gardens – on their lots.” 

Under Governor Branstad’s Executive Order 80, agencies are required to form stakeholder groups to review any proposed rule before the rulemaking process can begin. Item 2 of the Executive Order states that “The group shall consist of stakeholders that can adequately represent the varying interests that will be significantly affected by any contemplated draft rule proposal that may result from the deliberation so [sic] of the stakeholder rulemaking group. The appointing agency shall ensure that all significant or known interests have an opportunity to be represented, to the extent practicable.” 

Because of the effect this rule has on water quality, the Iowa Chapter supports adding stakeholders with interest in protecting water quality and restoring the soil to a site to enable normal ground water functions. 

The current stakeholders include four representatives from the construction industry, one from storm water, one who owns a plant nursery, and one who represents the Environmental Protection Commission. Two women and five men were selected with the majority of them from the Des Moines area. 

“It is obvious that the stakeholders were selected with a bias in favor of the construction industry to ensure the rule changes would favor construction,” said Neustadt. “Unfortunately, changing the rule would come at the expense of protecting water quality.” 

The Iowa Chapter is requesting that Gipp add stakeholders that would create a more diverse membership, including more gender and geographic balance. 

Item 5 of Executive Order 80 requires public input. Given that the current membership of the stakeholder group does not reflect all stakeholder interests, the Iowa Chapter is calling upon the Department of Natural Resources to conduct the meetings in public with a provision for public comment at each meeting. 

Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy

The Iowa Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University released its Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  The strategy is supposed to include plans for reducing the amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorus that flow from the Mississippi River watershed into the Gulf of Mexico, where the pollutants contribute to the dead zone.

The strategy, however, addresses a reduction in Nitrogen and Phosphorus resulting from non-point sources (primarily agriculture) by voluntary compliance, more research and additional technology.  

Read the strategy document.  Be advised that the Nutrient Reduction Strategy is 197 pages long.

The Iowa Chapter submitted comments on the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy are being accepted. Read the Iowa Chapter's comments.  Read EPA's comments.

 

2012 Iowa Scientists: Drought Consistent with Climate Change

Iowans can expect more extreme weather like the 2012 drought thanks to changes in the climate caused by greenhouse gases. That’s according to a statewide group of Iowa scientists who believe that Iowans should act now to reduce economic costs due to climate change.  Find out more.

 

EPA Representatives Meet to Discuss CAFO Permits

UPDATE: The EPA has posted its draft work plan agreement with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  The Iowa DNR has yet to sign it.  See the draft agreement.

Region VII EPA representatives met with members of Sierra Club Iowa Chapter and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement in Des Moines in October.  David Cozad, Regional Counsel, and Karen Flournoy, Water, Wetlands and Pesticides Division director, heard from those affected by CAFOs and answered questions.

The meeting was part of an ongoing effort to keep communication lines open between EPA and members of three organizations who filed a dedelegation petition in September 2007 that would strip the Iowa DNR of its authority to manage federally mandated water permitting programs.  

EPA Region 7 in Kansas City also accepted comments on  regulation of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Iowa. Officials wanted to hear from members of the public about the problems with CAFOs and how CAFOs can be better regulated to protect the public and the environment.  

Read the comments submitted by Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Environmental Integrity Project, the three organizations that filed the dedelegation petition that prompted the investigation.  

EPA has posted documents on its website pertaining to the investigation. Read all public comments submitted.

Go to our CAFOs page to learn more.

 

Share Your Piece of America

Sierra Club launched My Piece of America, where we encourage you to share your favorite outdoor place and take action to protect special areas.

Many of our favorite wild places -- from the striking red rock deserts of the Southwest to the cool, leafy city park where you take your kids -- need your help to protect them from threats like oil drilling and climate change.

One way you can help right now is by urging President Obama to designate some of America's best wild places as national monuments.

Upload and share a photo of your favorite piece of America with your family and friends, and inspire them to take action, too.

 

Clean Water Report Card

See how Iowa's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives scored on Sierra Club's Clean Water Report Card.

 

Ask the Gov

Gov. Terry Branstad launched his weekly video initiative in 2011 where he answers questions submitted via Twitter, Facebook, email and via his website.  Watch the governor's videos or send in a question.  See the video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club's members are approximately 5,000 of your friends and neighbors. Inspired by nature, we work together to protect our communities and the planet. The Club is America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2008 Sierra Club. The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.

Last updated 08.28.2014

 

 
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