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Looking ahead: What's on tap for IEC this summer

It was a busy spring for IEC and summer shows no signs of slowing down. We're heading into the summer stretch with some exciting opportunities to educate and engage elected officials, community leaders, and Iowans around the state about clean energy, climate, clean water and land stewardship and more. 

Our Weekly Water Watch series has returned with weekly beach advisories and water news. We're putting the final touches on our Summer Beach Bash, which we'll host at George Wyth Lake in Cedar Falls on July 15, where we'll educate Iowans about water quality issues and engage on environmental justice issues with a healthy dose of fun! 

We're continuing our awareness campaign of the realities of the failures of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, now 10 years old, with a new website: Iowa's Declining Decade. We remain in communication with the DNR and partner groups as the agency finalizes updated AFO rules through the summer and fall. You can support that work by taking action to send your own comments to the DNR.

We're engaging in several clean energy events in the coming weeks, including renewable energy educational programs for local leaders in Iowa. These programs come as opposition to utility-scale development in Iowa continues to grow at the local level. We're also keeping watch on next steps in several IUB rulings, such as the Board's Wind PRIME ruling.  MidAmerican Energy filed for reconsideration on that ruling and a decision from the IUB is due this week. 

We hope you'll stay connected and engaged with IEC as you enjoy all that summer has to offer in Iowa! If you have questions about our work, programs, or upcoming events, please reach out at iecmail@iaenvironment.org.  

More IEC News

Get outside and reflect for Juneteenth this year

Outdoor Afro, a nationwide nonprofit that celebrates and inspires Black connections,  leadership, and activities in nature, is marking Juneteenth 2023 as 'Freedom to Access Water.' They encourage people to discover and enjoy a local waterway for at least 2.5 hours to reflect and honor the 2.5 years that freedom was delayed for the enslaved people of Galveston, TX.

Another way to mark the day is to attend a local event. IEC is proud to sponsor Central Iowa's Juneteenth events, including Neighbor's Day on Saturday, June 17. See the list of Juneteenth events happening in Des Moines, or take a look at other Juneteenth activities around the state

Illustration courtesy of Outdoor Afro

Iowa legislators see stormwater improvements firsthand

Several state legislators joined staff with IEC, Iowa Rivers Revival, and others at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) at UNI for a stormwater infrastructure walking tour Tuesday.

IEC assisted in coordinating the event as part of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislator's summer tour.

Iowa lawmakers took a walking tour of stormwater infrastructure on the UNI campus, and visited nearby Dry Run Creek to learn firsthand about how stormwater infrastructure contributes to floodplain resilience, soil health, water quality, and river health.

Coming up: Soo Green Transmission Line

Next month IEC will participate in a hearing on the innovative Soo Green transmission line. The proposed line would be built underground along a railroad right-of-way from north-central Iowa to Illinois. Following along the railroad means the line would not affect land use or wildlife like an overhead line could.

The line would connect Iowa customers with an energy market that includes Illinois and states to the east. This connection across regions can improve reliability and reduce cost disparities across markets, just like Cardinal Hickory Creek would make energy more affordable. In support of Soo Green, IEC filed testimony with the Utilities Board last month.

Upcoming IEC Events

Celebrate 10 years of being Pro H2O, however you choose!

On Thursday, we'll gather supporters, staff, board members, partners, and our 2023 award recipients to celebrate in Des Moines and Okoboji! Tickets are still available - get them now or at the door if you'd like to join us! Can't join us in person? You can support IEC's clean water and land stewardship work by bidding on amazing prizes in the virtual auction, going on now through Saturday, or make a donation to IEC's River Giver campaign and help us unlock a $3,000 matching gift!

Upcoming Environmental Events 

6/15 - IEC's 10th Annual Pro H2O
6/15 - Advocacy 101 Training, Midwest Building Decarb Coalition
6/15 - Citizen Science Needs on the Mississippi River, 1 Mississippi
6/15 - Salt Watch Season 6 Wrap-Up, Izaak Walton League
6/17 - Nature Connection and Community: A Mindful Experience for River Days of Action, Mississippi River Network
6/18 - The Science Festival Trail, Science Iowa
6/21 - The Role of Energy Efficiency in a High Renewable Energy Future, ACEEE
6/22 - Energy Justice 101, Midwest Building Decarb Coalition
6/26 - 6/29 - North American Prairie Conference, INHF and Prairie Rivers of Iowa
6/29 - People's hearing on the Farm Bill webinar, Iowa IPL
7/8 - Revitalizing Citizen Climate Advocacy, Iowa CCL
7/11 - Composting 101, Greater DSM Botanical Garden
7/15 - Save the Date: IEC's Beach Bash at George Wyth Beach

Organizational Member News

Tallgrass Prairie Center celebrates prairie land donation

The number of acres of restored prairie developed and managed by the Tallgrass Prairie Center at the University of Northern Iowa will soon triple in size. 

Cathy Irvine of Dysart donated land from her husband’s family farm to the UNI Foundation to allow it to be returned to tallgrass prairie, which will increase Irvine Prairie from 77 acres to almost 300 acres to become one of the largest tracts of restored prairie in eastern Iowa. 

Photo courtesy of Tallgrass Prairie Center

Bringing awareness and tools for energy burdens in NE Iowa

Earlier this year, Clayton County Energy District hosted an Energy Burden Relief Open House + Listening Post in Elkader.

An energy burden rate is calculated by dividing annual utility bills by annual income. More than 48% of Clayton County residents experience rates of 6% or higher, which is considered the threshold for energy burden.

Learn more about what CCED heard from attendees, and about resources and tools for relief shared during the event.

Photo courtesy of CCED

Queer in Iowa: The Good, the Bad, and the Hopeful

This Pride month, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light team member (and past IEC staffer!) Ren Mattson shares their experiences, frustrations, and hopes as a queer non-binary Iowan.

They also share how they see climate work connected to the issues that affect the queer community and people of different races, religions, and incomes. 

Read Ren's blog post on the Iowa IPL website.

Iowa Water News

Des Moines Register - Is Iowa's water cleaner after ten years of state efforts? It depends on who you ask

KIWA Radio - Reviews mixed as the Iowa plan to cut nutrient runoff reaches 10 years

Times-Republican - Real water quality progress should be measured by outcomes

Storm Lake Times - Editorial: It's still dead

Iowa Public Radio - Does the Mississippi River have rights? It's part of a growing 'Rights of Nature' movement

Gazette - A lifetime of research links Gulf of Mexico 'dead zone' to Midwest fertilizer runoff

Investigate Midwest - Majority of new CAFOs were built in Iowa last year

Iowa Capital Dispatch - Manure-laced water flows into creek after grassed waterway was removed

Prairie Rivers of Iowa - Notable quotes from Sackett v. EPA

Gazette - Ahead of 2008 Iowa flood anniversary, Hinson introduces flood mitigation bill

Iowa Energy News

Gazette - Here's what you need to know about your energy this summer

Des Moines Register - Opinion: 'Electricity highways' are needed for the future in Iowa

Southeast Iowa Union - Iowa County supervisors approve 50-acre solar farm southwest of Marengo

Daily Iowan - Iowa City City Council approves resolution for fare-free transit pilot program

Corridor Business Journal - MidAmerican Energy seeks increase in Iowa natural gas rates

ACEEE - Household gas bills expected to soar; strategic decarbonization planning needed

Canary Media - Rural electricity is getting its biggest boost since FDR -- here's how

Utility Dive - US residential heat pump sales pass gas furnaces for first time as interest in efficiency tech surges: IEA

Canary Media - US wind manufacturing makes a comeback thanks to IRA

Iowa Climate News

Gazette - Responding to climate change will take massive reinvention

Iowa Capital Dispatch - Effects of climate change on farming, federal spending explored by US Senate panel

Decorah News - Two Decorah residents are in Washinton, D. C. this week to discuss climate change with Iowa representatives

Iowa State Daily - The Ames Climate Action Plan and its effect on residents

Iowa Public Radio - A new report says climate may breach 1.5 degrees of warming in 5 years

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - 'Unchartered territory: Warming oceans and disappearing sea ice alarm scientists

CBS News - Thousands of dead fish wash up along Texas Gulf Coast

Yale e360 - As ocean oxygen levels dip, fish face an uncertain future

Axios - Uninsurable America: Climate change hits the insurance industry

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