Get the Newsletter


Recent posts by Katie Rock

Supportive energy policy shines spotlight on rural Iowa

As renewable energy continues to bring prosperity to states with supportive policies, rural communities are in the spotlight. Solar and wind energy projects create new jobs and tax revenue in communities that host them—providing needed cash flow to many rural areas, helping them become more independent and resilient.

Flowing Forward: Planning Iowa’s Water Quality Future

Iowa holds a rare landscape lush in high yielding, rainfed agriculture, but the bounty comes at a price. The state’s water quality threatens public health and outdoor recreation with excessive nitrate, phosphorus, bacteria, sediment, and other pollutants in surface waters. The modern agriculture landscape has altered the movement of water within the state’s watershed and reduced the land’s natural resiliency. Over the five years since Iowa created the Nutrient Reduction Strategy and began its Water Quality Initiative, improvements on the landscape have made a positive impact, but water quality continues to decline.

File attachments: 

Public support to raise sales tax remains high

Nine years ago, voters approved a statewide ballot referendum to amend the Iowa Constitution to create the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. Support remains strong for paying for the trust fund with a sales tax increase. A recent Des Moines Register poll indicated 65 percent of Iowans support a full cent sales tax increase to pay for a combination of water quality projects and mental health services.

A Look at Iowa’s Water History

Over the last 83 years, much has changed in Iowa. The state has weathered a Great Recession, undergone significant demographic shifts, and grappled with a changing agricultural economy.

However, one discussion has remained a hot topic for what is now the better part of a century—water quality. For many decades, Iowans have worked together to identify solutions in improving water quality statewide.

File attachments: 

Lawmakers: don't take away our energy independence

Last week, state lawmakers allied with Iowa’s biggest investor-owned utility to introduce House Study Bill 185. This bill would limit the ability of farms and individuals to produce their own electricity. While other Midwest states are blazing a trail in expanding solar power generation, House Study Bill 185 would set Iowa back as consumers look to cut costs and become energy independent.