Environmental activists plan to be busy at the statehouse over the coming months. Marian Riggs Gelb, executive director for the Iowa Environmental Council, says one of their top legislative priorities is reducing the amount of energy Iowans use.
The IEC is recommending a two-percent annual reduction in electricity and natural gas usage. "Energy efficiency, by far, is the most cost effective and quickest way to reduce our emissions and address the global warming problem," Riggs Gelb said. She says investing in Iowa’s renewable energy industry holds great potential for the state economy.
"We’ve got five renewable energy manufacturers in the state now and we’ve got more wind than we need. We could power the nation with the wind that blows in Iowa. So, it’s a matter of taking the challenges and turning them into solutions that are good for Iowa," Riggs Gelb said. The IEC is also calling on lawmakers to develop a comprehensive state water plan.
Riggs Gelb says Iowa hasn’t conducted a state water plan since 1979. She says the plan should address both water quality and quantity issue for surface and groundwater resources. In addition, the council is pushing for sustainable funding for Iowa’s natural resources.
Riggs Gelb says Iowa ranks near the bottom among the states in terms of such funding. The IEC is also requesting formal adoption of a greenhouse gas reduction goal of at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by year 2050. A complete list of the council’s priorities is available online at www.iaenvironment.org .