Friday Afternoon News, August 28
Environmental Protection Agency To Begin Enforcing WOTUS Rules
(Le Mars) -- Today, (Friday) was to be the date when the Environmental Protection Agency was to begin enforcing the new rules of the Waters of the United States, under the Clean Water Act. However, a North Dakota federal court, yesterday, placed an injunction on the enforcement of the rules established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Chris Gruenhagen serves as the Iowa Farm Bureau's Government Relations Counsel. She says there is a question whether the E-P-A will honor the injunction nationwide, or just within the federal district. Gruenhagen says the EPA expanded the definition and ruling so it could account for all waters.
Group Opposes Veterans Memorial
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A group says a veterans memorial in a Knoxville city park that shows a plywood cutout of a soldier kneeling next to a cross amounts to a government endorsement of Christianity.
The Americans United for Church and State is asking the city for the removal of the cross.
The memorial's creator, 67-year-old Vietnam War veteran Al Larsen, tells The Des Moines Register that he didn't intend for the cross to have a religious connotation.
He says the cross is meant to represent a grave marker, similar to the rows of white crosses at a France cemetery, where more than 9,000 American World War II troops are buried.
The Knoxville mayor says the City Council will decide on whether to remove the memorial during a September meeting.
University Of Iowa To Forbid Catcalls
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Student government leaders at the University of Iowa have launched a campaign to reduce catcalling, saying that the shouts are a form of sexual harassment.
Television station KCRG reports that shuttles used during the recruitment process for fraternities and sororities at the university will display anti-catcalling posters.
Student Government Vice President Morgan Brittain says the vehicles' drivers have been asked to be on the lookout for instances of catcalling and to address them.
The initiative first launched last spring as part of a national effort called "It's On Us," aimed at ending sexual violence on college campuses.
Sophomore student Autumn Domres says catcalling is a problem she often sees in downtown Iowa City.
Pella Electrical Cooperative Drops Fees To Install Solar Panels
PELLA, Iowa (AP) - Facing a backlash, a rural Iowa power co-operative is dropping a plan to charge customers who install solar panels on their homes a special $85 monthly charge.
The Pella Cooperative Electric Association withdrew its proposal Thursday in a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board.
The plan had angered customers who have or were planning to install solar generation systems that would connect with the utility's distribution system. Environmental groups and solar energy backers were also opposed, calling the charge discriminatory.
In a news release, the association insists the plan was justified because it covered solar customers' true cost of service.
But the group says that it has withdrawn the plan until "we can better educate our members and the community as to the fair and equitable recovery of fixed costs."
MidAmerican Energy To Build Wind Farms In Ida And O'Brien Counties
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy says it will build its next two wind farms in northwest Iowa.
The company says there will be 134 generators at the Ida County site and 104 at the site in O'Brien County, providing a combined capacity of 552 megawatts. The estimated investment for the two projects is $900 million.
A MidAmerican vice president, Mike Gehringer, says that by the end of the year, more of MidAmerican's electricity will come from wind than from any other single source. MidAmerican spokeswoman Ruth Comer says that by the end of 2016, when both projects are completed, the Berkshire Hathaway-owned company will have more than 2,000 wind turbines across Iowa.