|In the Iowa
CNN Features Bills Regulating Videotaping Animal Factories
HF589, which passed the Iowa House on March 17 and is on the Senate debate calendar, would prohibit videotaping animal factories. See CNN's story about Iowa's bill and attempts by Minnesota and Florida to pass comparable legislation.
The Iowa Chapter sent a letter to Iowa Senators after it was discovered that Gov. Terry Branstad appointed too many Republicans to the Environmental Protection Commission. Read the letter for more information.
The Governor then rescinded the re-appointment of Eugene VerSteeg. Branstad has not yet announced who will be appointed.
How did your legislator vote on environmental issues during
the 83rd Iowa General Assembly?
Last Updated 10/12/2011
ARRC Fails to Support Lead Ban in Dove Hunting
The Iowa Natural Resource Commission (NRC) gave its final approval to a rule to allow the hunting of Mourning Doves on July 14. In a surprise move, the NRC also added an amendment that would require hunters to use non-toxic ammunition.
The amendment, introduced by Conrad Clement, a recent Branstad-appointee to the commission, said he had spoken with Gov. Branstad at 6 o’clock that morning and received the governor's blessing as long as there was consensus among the commissioners. The NRC unanimously passed the amendment. However, the National Rifle Association (NRA) put out an action alert urging members to ask Gov. Branstad to overrule the commission's amendment to ban lead shot.
Although Mourning Doves have been protected since 1918, they are no longer protected in Iowa. Senate File 464 passed the Senate by a vote of 30-18 on March 22. The House, with some circuitous maneuvering by Rep. Rich Arnold (R-Russell), passed the bill 58-39 on March 23. Gov. Branstad signed the bill into law March 24. It was a stunning achievement.
The bill required the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to immediately begin rulemaking so hunters could have their first shot at the Mourning Doves just over four months after the bill passed. DNR wrote the rule and opened a comment period, the Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC) reviewed the rule May 10 and the NRC approved the amendment and then approved the rule by a 6-1 vote (Janelle Rettig voted no) on July 14. Yet another stunning achievement since the rulemaking process generally takes months to complete.
The ARRC, a legislative oversight committee on rulemaking, reversed the NRC’s decision to ban lead ammunition for dove hunting in August. The Legislature is expected to address the issue during the 2012 session.
The Chapter continues to oppose the hunting of Mourning Doves in Iowa. However, the very least elected officials can do is require non-toxic ammunition.
The 2011 Legislative Session ended June 30, 2011, two months later than scheduled. Keep reading for updates on legislative action.
Federal AQ Rule Still Applies Even After Branstad Rescinds Iowa Rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) completed standards for hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from
existing stationary diesel engines, also known as the Reciprocating
Internal Combustion Engine (RICE) rules, in March 2010.
Affected facilities have until May 2013 to comply with the rule.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) presented a Notice
of Intended Action to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC)
to begin rulemaking at its May 2010 meeting.
The measure passed. After
a public comment period, the EPC passed the final
rule in September 2010 and it became effective in February 2011.
On March 9, 2011, Senators Bartz, Johnson, Kettering, Hahn, Sodders, Behn, Ragan, Hamerlinck, Bacon, Kibbie, Gronstal, Schoenjahn, Rielly, Kapucian, Boettger, Feenstra, Beall, Chelgren, Hancock, Wilhelm, Seymour, Dandekar, McKinley, Ernst, Fraise and Sorenson introduced Senate Resolution 7 urging EPA to nullify RICE rules. The resolution passed the Senate by a voice vote on April 7, 2011.
Resolution 37 was introduced April 8, 2011, by Representatives
Pettengill, Kaufmann, Sands, J. Smith, Alons, Iverson, Watts, Shaw,
Heaton, Baudler, Tjepkes, Drake, Schultz, Baltimore, Byrnes, Horbach,
Rasmussen, Soderberg, Grassley, Paustian, Dolecheck, Chambers, Vander
Linden, Muhlbauer, Hein, Wittneben, Rayhons, Windschitl, Wenthe, Moore,
Thomas, De Boef, Deyoe, Fry, Massie and Quirk. House
Resolution 37 replicated Senate
Resolution 7. The House had not acted on the Resolution as of
June 29, 2011.
Gov. Terry Branstad issued Executive
Order 72 on April 4, 2011, rescinding the Iowa rule Implementing
RICE. Branstad cited, among
other things, that the standard “…imposes unnecessary and crippling
costs on small Iowa municipal utilities,” that “…some Iowa
municipal utilities have found that the unnecessary, increased
regulatory burden could cost their consumers…” and that the
“…standards may make it cost prohibitive for some utilities to
maintain and operate emergency engines, jeopardizing the security of the
national power grid…” Gov.
Branstad then sent a letter to Lisa Jackson, U.S. EPA Director on
April 5, 2011, indicating his concerns.
On June 13, 2011, EPA Director
to Gov. Branstad indicating that the EPA would review Gov.
Branstad’s letter, and comments submitted by Pat Stief, General
Manager of the municipal utility in Traer, Iowa, and inform the governor
of the EPA’s decision. EPA
will also post its decision on its website.
As a result of the Governor’s
action, Iowa DNR no longer has full delegated authority for the RICE
rule. The federal RICE rule remains in effect and EPA is still
implementing the standard. The federal compliance date for most existing
stationary diesel engines of May 3, 2013, remains in effect under
UPDATE: Session Ends With More Cuts to DNR, REAP
SF509, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship/Department of Natural Resource appropriations bill, finally passed both chambers on June 27. General Fund appropriations to the DNR total $12,266,688 "[f]or purposes of supporting the department, including its divisions, for administration, regulation, and programs; for salaries, support, maintenance, and miscellaneous purposes; and for not more than 1,145.95 full-time equivalent positions.
Although Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) is legislatively approved to receive not more than $20,000 million per year, the 2011-2012 budget appropriates $12,000,000. REAP received $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2010-2011.
UPDATE: Nuclear Power Bill Still Alive in the Senate
Although the Legislature has ended its 2011 session, bills could come back for debate during the 2012 session.
The bills enable MidAmerican Energy to begin charging ratepayers for a nuclear power plant that may never be built.
What would a deal with MidAmerican Energy mean for you?
House Passes Nuclear Power Bill
On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, the Iowa House of Representatives adopted HF561 setting the stage for MidAmerican Energy to proceed with plans to build a nuclear power facility at an undisclosed location. Read more about the nuclear power debate. See how House members voted.
Visit the Iowa Chapter's Nuclear Power page and learn more about nuclear energy.
The Senate Appropriations Committee met April 21, 2011.
No Senate Action on "Ag Gag" bill
On March 17, the House passed by a vote of 66-27 on HF589, also known as the "ag gag bill."
The bill would have prohibited entering on or damaging property associated with a facility or operation where animals or crops are maintained; prohibit tampering with property associated with an animal facility or crop operation, including damaging property, killing or injuring an animal or crop, committing theft, or disrupting operations; prohibit a person from interfering with an animal facility or crop operation. including producing an audio or visual record which reproduces an image distributing the record; prohibit committing fraud by obtaining access to an animal facility or crop operation by false pretenses for the purpose of committing an act not authorized by the owner, or making a false statement as part of an application to be employed at the location. Because the House passed the bill, it could come up in the Senate in 2012.
UPDATE: House passed bill to move DNR water quality programs to IDALS; Senate didn't consider
HF643 (formerly HSB180) is a bill Gov. Terry Branstad and some legislators wanted adopted because agricultural practices are the primary source of non-point source water pollution in Iowa. Section 319/Clean Water Act programs include compliance functions, water monitoring and other water quality protection programs.
This bill never made it out of the senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee. However, it could reappear during the 2012 session.
History: The bill passed the House on March 23rd and IOWATER (Iowa's volunteer water monitoring program) could be at risk. Iowa's impaired waters list and improvement plan processes could be drastically altered so improvements could take years or decades. More than $4.4 million in 319 water quality programming would be transferred to an agency whose primary function is to serve and promote agriculture. See for yourself how all of the 319 programs are interconnected and the DNR's budget for fiscal year 2010.
Legislators were told water quality programming could be done "more efficiently" if given to the Secretary of Agriculture. If this responsibility is abdicated to the Secretary of Agriculture, all current DNR water rules would have to be rescinded and new processes started to adopt IDALS rules. Each rule making procedure is a multi-year process and IDALS has no oversight commission. All EPA funds would have to be de-obligated from DNR and new contracts written with IDALS.
This legislation is totally unnecessary and clearly demonstrates a lack of fiscal accountability by elected officials whose campaigns promised fiscal responsibility.
Find out more about what this bill does to the destruction of Iowa's water programs.
Iowa Senators stripped the bill of the four issues that concerned Sierra Club:
The full Senate passed the amended bill 48-1 on February 17 and sent it back to the House. The House then adopted the Senate version on February 21 by a vote of 95-0. The Governor signed the bill March 8 after vetoing the sunset date of the Legislative Health Care Coverage Commission. Read the signed bill.
Thank you to everyone who contacted your Senator and encouraged a "no" vote on HF45. Congratulations on this first victory of the legislative session!
2011 Iowa Chapter Priorities:
CHANGE—The Iowa Chapter’s legislative energy and climate change
priorities continue to include promotion of renewable energy solutions
and distributed generation through feed-in tariffs.
During the last session, a property assessed clean energy bill
(PACE) was introduced but never made it to debate.
We will continue to support PACE; but with it in limbo at the
federal level, it seems unlikely anything will happen with it in Iowa.
Although the 83rd General Assembly approved $10
million in funding for passenger rail projects between Davenport and
Iowa City and received another $300,000 plus in TIGER funds returned by
Wisconsin and Minnesota, newly inaugurated Governor Terry Branstad is
considering canceling the project and returning the TIGER funds.
In addition, the Chapter supports green building code changes, a
solar energy rebate program, feed-in tariff legislation and a burn ban
of residential waste. The Chapter will actively oppose any bills that
encourage nuclear power.
QUALITY—Defensive efforts to stop the Legislature from weakening
water quality laws and new antidegradation rules will again be one of
the Chapter’s priorities. Historically,
we have experienced surprise legislative attacks to weaken existing
water quality protections and enforcement.
Threats include the elimination of the Environmental Protection
Committee and drastic budget cuts for the Iowa Department of Natural
Resources (DNR). The Chapter will support legislation that helps keep
water on the land through Smart Planning and other floodplain management
session, the Chapter must employ defensive efforts to stop the
legislature from weakening existing
legislation and DNR rules that regulate the operation of CAFOs,
including a recent ban on the spreading of manure on snow-covered or
frozen ground. The Chapter
supports legislation that calls for local control of CAFO siting, a
moratorium on new construction of CAFOs, that reduces the density of
concentrated animal feeding operations – a practice that contributes
to greenhouse gas emissions -- and stronger regulation of odor and air
FUNDING—Iowans approved in November 2010 a Constitutional
amendment that establishes a Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation
Trust Fund. During the 2010
legislative session, enabling legislation (which is not protected in the
Iowa Constitution) to set up the funding formula that previously had
been agreed on passed. During the final
weeks before the election, the Iowa Farm Bureau opposed the trust fund
and ran an unsuccessful campaign to defeat the Constitutional amendment.
The Chapter is now concerned that opponents will launch efforts
to alter the enabling legislation changing the funding formula
and/or inserting other damaging language in a bill. Staff and
volunteers will monitor budget and standings bills and advocate for
increased funding for conservation and environmental protection.
Some legislators oppose purchase of additional public land.
Iowa is already near the bottom of all 50 states in the amount of public
land. Legislation has already been introduced banning the purchase
of public land by the Iowa DNR (even with federal dollars) and the
nationally recognized and popular Resources Enhancement and Protection
Fund (REAP) is under attack, especially the open spaces account.
Retaining water on the land is a priority.
Climate change has increased our state’s future flooding
impacts and experts are projecting increased precipitation and more
frequent extreme rain events. The
flooding impacts of 1993, 2008 and 2010 will continue unless Iowa takes
floodplain management seriously now.
The Chapter will actively support strengthening policy that
prohibits building in floodplains and to stop unnecessary development in
500-year floodplains. The
Rebuild Iowa Office (RIO), organized after the 2008 floods, will sunset
during 2011. The Chapter
will closely monitor progress made by RIO and any attempts to
legislatively undermine policies RIO put into place.