Session Prompts Unprecedented Advocate Engagement

posted on Friday, March 24, 2017

This session we have seen legislation that would hinder progress made to conserve and protect Iowa’s natural resources. Legislation eliminating the bottle deposit law, dismantling Des Moines Waterworks, and restricting damages in lawsuits against CAFOs, have been introduced while the extension of important renewable energy tax credits has been neglected. But you have taken action! Your actions have helped to slow the advancement of some of this legislation. You have asked questions at forums, posted on social media and emailed your legislators to let them know that you are paying attention to decisions that will affect Iowa for generations to come. In review of the Council’s work this Session, what stands out is your constant support.

The proposed repeal of Iowa’s bottle deposit program has huge opposition from many corners. In place since 1979, the program has been very successful with an estimated 86% of beverage containers in Iowa redeemed annually compared to a 24% recycling rate in states with no such law in place. So far, an impressive 1,056 people have contacted their legislators to object to this harmful change. Add your voice, and email your legislators.

Iowa’s renewable energy production tax incentive is set to expire at the end of this year. Unlike some other tax incentives for renewables, this program can be used by municipal and rural electric co-operatives and schools. Currently, it supports the largest community solar project in Iowa at Cedar Falls Utilities, as well as major projects at Farmer’s Electric Cooperative, a national leader in the amount of solar energy per customer. Losing this credit would be a loss for Iowa’s progress toward one hundred percent renewable energy; and we are calling on you to voice your support for its renewal because of the direct benefits it brings Iowa communities. Add your voice, and email your legislators to preserve these important tax credits.

solar farm

Solar farm.

We are also asking you to weigh in on the bill to dismantle the Des Moines Waterworks and the water boards of West Des Moines and Urbandale. This is an unnecessarily rushed move by the legislature that does nothing to improve Iowa’s water quality. Since the bill’s announcement, you have turned out in droves to show your opposition. We have seen testimony at hearings, meetings and forums, as well as letters to the editor and posts on social media. Although this bill is still under consideration, your actions have helped to convince legislators in both parties to oppose this bill. Email your legislators, and ask them to oppose this bill.

We have received an overwhelming response to our work on these issues from you, our members and social media followers. This demonstrates to us that we are fighting for causes that Iowans believe in. Though we may not always see the desired outcome for each bill we are targeting, our work is certainly sending the message to legislators that people care about Iowa’s natural resources and they are watching the actions legislators take.

Lobby Day 16

Environmental Lobby and REAP Day, 2016.

We are nearing the home stretch for the 2017 Iowa Legislative Session. Next week is the second funnel – a time that determines what bills will die and what bills will advance to debate and votes. If you have been active, thank you; and keep up the great work! If you haven’t spoken up yet, now is the time! Environmental Lobby and REAP Day is coming up on March 29th. Join us in person or online on March 29 for this wonderful opportunity to show the power and strength of Iowans united in support for renewable energy, clean water and protection of our natural resources.

Written by Kerri Johannsen and Emily Holley.

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