Category Archives: Latest News

Bad Energy Bill threatens Solar, Energy Efficiency, and Iowa Utility Customers

Right  now, making it’s way through the Iowa State House is a horrible bill  – Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093). This bill has sweeping changes that essentially deregulate utilities in Iowa, leaving all utility customers vulnerable to soaring prices and the whims of the utility companies.

If enacted, Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093), which is being championed by Senator Chapman and Iowa’s investor owned utilities, would:
  • Effectively deregulate Iowa’s energy utilities;
  • Slash energy efficiency programs, potentially by up to 90% or more;
  • Essentially kill rooftop and community solar by allowing utility companies to discriminate against solar customers.
So what does that mean for you? It means:
Utility companies can build unnecessary fossils fuel generation plants and charge all of their customers to foot the bill.
Utilities can unfairly charge solar customers excessive rates, making it unaffordable to install solar. And it would make it much harder for  Iowa communities to build community level solar projects.
We could see a potential loss of over 20,000 jobs in the solar and energy efficiency sectors and over $200,000,000 in savings for utility customers.
If you are asking what we can do about it, keep reading!

 

 

Celebrate smart development

1000 Friends of Iowa is pleased to celebrate the winners of the 2017 Best Development Awards. The Awards Program showcases projects that exemplify the connections between building, land, and natural resource development and quality of life. With a mission focused on responsible land use, 1000 Friends of Iowa promotes smart growth planning principles that help achieve socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. The public is invited to recognize our award recipients with us.

The projects recognized in this year’s awards are located in the following cities: Charles City, Clive, Denison, Des Moines, Dubuque, Glidden, Marshalltown, Muscatine, Norwalk, Sioux City, Waterloo. Find details on the award-winning projects at http://1000friendsofiowa.org/2017-best-development-award-winners/

What:                             2017 Best Development Awards Ceremony

When:                            January 16, 2018, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Where:                           Iowa State Capitol Building, 1st Floor Rotunda

2017 Best Development Award Winners

1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces eleven recipients as its Best Development Award winners of 2017. Five independent jurors from across the state selected projects that implement the efficient use of our resources to develop sustainable communities that provide a high quality of life.

The 2017 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, winner, project, city, link). For more information about each project, click the link.

  • In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Clive for the Walnut Creek and Clive Greenbelt initiatives in Clive <link>
  • In the Mixed Use category, Blackbird Investments for the Wilkins Building in Des Moines <link>
  • In the New Residential category, KCL Engineering for the Parkside Residential Development in Charles City <link>
  • In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, the City of Glidden for the Albert Kruger, Sr. Shelter in Glidden <link>
  • In the Renewable Energy category, St. John the Apostle Catholic Church and Red Lion Renewables for the Solar Array in Norwalk <link>
  • In the Renovated Civic category, the City of Sioux City for the Sioux City Promenade in Sioux City <link>
  • In the Renovated Commercial category, SingleSpeed Brewing Co. for the Wonder Bread Building in Waterloo <link>
  • Renovated Residential category, Downtown Leases and Lofts for the Kibbey Building in Marshalltown <link>
  • In the Stormwater Management category, City of Denison for the 14th Street Parking Lot in Denison <link>
  • In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Muscatine for the Kent Stein Park to Deep Lakes Park Trail in Muscatine <link>
  • In a special Jurors’ Choice category, the City of Dubuque for its long-term, big-vision cross-cutting activities. <link>

The press and public are invited to celebrate these “development heroes” at an Award Ceremony, to be held at the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at 11:45 a.m.

2017 Best Development Award Nominations

Edited Nov. 29, 2017: Thank you for your interest! Nominations closed on Nov 17, 2017. Please join us for the Awards Ceremony.

Everyone is welcome to attend our Awards Ceremony to celebrate our winners — Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. A light lunch will be served at the beautiful Capitol Rotunda beforehand.

Want to do more to help? Volunteer to set up and tear down by sending email to awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

Iowa communities moving forward with topsoil rules.

Protecting topsoil is one of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s highest priorities. Last fall, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Commission gutted the requirement to maintain at least 4 inches of topsoil on residential construction sites, and we are turning to individual communities to take action.

The City of Clive is in the process of passing an 8-inch topsoil rule. While we strongly support this proposal, there are builders who would like to create a loophole allowing them to avoid maintaining topsoil if they implement other storm water management solutions. Though utilizing additional storm water management solutions is a great idea, it is still critically important that builders maintain topsoil on the property.

The City of Clive is asking for people to make comments on the proposed rule. Go to the link below to voice your opinion on the City’s open forum. Look for “Soil health for construction projects.” The forum is open until 6 p.m. on April 15: http://www.cityofclive.com/government/clive-open-forum#peak_democracy 

We are also encouraging people to email the Clive City Council directly to support the requirement that topsoil be maintained on the property, even with additional storm water management systems. Find their emails at: http://www.cityofclive.com/government/city-clerk/boards-and-commissions/council-members

Please plan to attend the Clive City Council meeting on Thursday, April 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Some talking points for the topsoil protection rule:

  • We strongly support requiring that builders maintain 8 inches of topsoil on properties after the build. This rule will not only help to manage stormwater runoff, but it will also reduce water pollution and add value to the property.
  • Topsoil retention is very important to urban landscapes — growing plants need healthy soil. New homeowners with no topsoil left in place are often faced with very expensive soil remediation to even begin to establish healthy lawns, trees, and gardens.
  • We understand that scraping soil is part of the site preparation process, but instead of hauling away the soil that has been scraped off, it can be stock piled and spread out after construction is completed. The extra cost to the building and construction industry for keeping the soil on site are nominal compared to the costs to the homeowners, the watershed and our drinking water if it is removed.
  • When the soil is stripped away, homeowners often turn to fertilizers and chemical amendments to encourage plant growth. Wit no soil to soak into, these chemicals find their way into our waterways after rain events, polluting  our rivers, lakes, and streams.
  • It is costly for homeowners who must spend extra money for repeat fertilizer applications. Keeping soil in place contributes to natural storm water management solutions and helps build healthy, green, and more sustainable neighborhoods for future generations.