Earth Day events are planned for today (Thursday) at several Iowa universities, including Iowa State and Drake. Nick Rugen , a spokesman for the Iowa chapter of Public Interest Research Group, says he’d like to see more emphasis placed on wind farming in Iowa instead of the traditional farming of corn, soybeans and hogs. Rugen says wind farming could change Iowa — for the better. He says wind farming “really has an ability to revitalize the rural economy if we take the right steps,” by providing incentives that would help farmers who are making less money for the crops to essentially start farming wind. Rugen says legislation is being considered that would do exactly that.Rugen would like to see the investment made in Iowa wind farming so the state could reduce its dependence on other vital natural resources while generating enough power for ourselves and perhaps selling the excess wind-generated electricity to other states. Melissa Gardner, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Sierra Club, says mercury is likely poisoning the fish the waterway dividing Iowa and Nebraska.She says figures from the Omaha Power Plant show it releases 82-pounds of mercury per year while one single gram of mercury can contaminate a 25-acre lake to the extent fish advisories are needed. Gardner says that 82-pounds translates into 37-thousand-195 grams of mercury. She says mercury pollutants from coal-fired power plants enter waterways and contaminate fish. She says pregnant women who eat contaminated fish put unborn children at risk. Health effects on children include: mental retardation, developmental delays and other neurological damages.
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