Taking Action for Iowa's Environment

posted on Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Iowa legislative session is moving quickly, and we are already seeing IEC priority issues discussed. With so much at stake for Iowa’s environment, now is the time for each of us to engage our legislators. Talking to your representatives is intimidating, but it is the most effective way to take action on issues. There are several ways to interact with legislators. To make it easier, we are bringing you a series of blogs on “How to Talk to Your Legislators About Environmental Issues”. Each piece will delve into a specific action you can take, as well as some effective talking points on the issues the Council is watching this session relating to land, water, and energy.

Our first method is the Action Alert. When a debate or vote is taken on an important bill the Council is watching, we will send out an action alert email asking for your voice.

By clicking the link and entering your address, our system locates your legislators and sends them an email that has been pre-written by our staff asking legislators to oppose or support a bill. You can send the email as is, or for a more effective message, you can edit it by sharing a personal connection to the legislation.

This is an easy way to join your voice with others across the state on a specific issue. Legislators take notice when they receive many emails from their constituents. It lets them know that their constituents are paying attention and that they care. 

The Council sent out our first action alert for 2017 this week when the Senate, House and Governor’s office agreed to cut agency and program funding for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by $1.3 million and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). The bill also contains a cut to REAP funding to make up for the cut to the DNR budget. While we are pleased that the renewable energy tax credits are unaffected by these cuts, the Council feels that these cuts are an unnecessary and unfair hit to programs that are already underfunded and will have long-term impacts on our ability to ensure stewardship of Iowa’s lands and waters and promote public health.

Today, the Iowa Senate passed the de-appropriations bill that contain these cuts. The bill will then be debated and voted on by the Iowa House. Now it’s time for you to take action! Add your voice to hundreds of others across the state and let your legislators know that DNR and IDALS budget cuts will not bring our state any closer to aggressively addressing water quality issues and may, in fact, weaken attempts made to strengthen and improve drinking and recreational water quality. Send out this important action alert to your legislators and sign up to receive future IEC action alerts now!

Here are a few other ways you can engage legislators:

Attend a public forum. Held all over the state, forums are the best venue for in-person questions and concerns. Find your legislators and check out these links for legislative forums in your district:

Iowa House Republican Forums

Iowa House Democrat Forums

Iowa Senate Republican Forums

Iowa Senate Democrat Forums

Call your representatives office. Local, state and federal representatives catalog all the calls received for every issue. 
Visit them! Legislative offices are open to the public, watch for an upcoming video with tips and tricks to make the most of these visits.

We will dive deeper into all of these over the next few months. We are excited to present these engagement best practices and to give you tips in this series on how you can be an effective advocate for Iowa’s environment.

Written by IEC Communications and Outreach Director Emily Holley and Government Relations Manager Kerri Johannsen.

  1. clean energy
  2. conservation
  3. iowa legislature
  4. water quality