Iowa Ideas 2023

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Energy & Environment

Healthy and efficient means to protecting Iowa's energy and environmental resources.

    How and why Iowa’s residents can test their water to help monitor quality.

    DIY Water Quality: How and why Iowa’s residents can test their water to help monitor quality. As water quality becomes a more partisan issue, what can Iowa residents (and non-residents) do to monitor the quality of the water in the state? Why is water testing important? And how can testing be used to improve the quality of our water in Iowa?

    October 12, 2023 at 10:10AM

    • Zach Moss

    • Dale Braun

    • Mary Scopek

    • Heather Wilson


    Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

    Agriculture is responsible for more than 10 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and Iowa is No. 2 for greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. In a country where half the states have no greenhouse gas reduction goals, what can be done to reduce emissions? Which states are focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and how are they working toward their goals? Is it possible to reduce emissions from agriculture without hurting farmers?

    October 12, 2023 at 11:15AM

    • Jason Hill


    Planning for the Grid of the Future

    Will the energy grids of tomorrow include adequate support for renewable energy? How can we ensure that wind, solar and hydrogen will be sustainable and reliable?

    October 12, 2023 at 1:20PM

    • Anne Kimber

    • Robert Walter

    • Tony Hunziker

    • Ian Dobson


    Protecting ourselves from Forever Chemicals

    Session 5 2:25 - 3:25 PM Protecting ourselves from forever chemicals M- Erin J PFAS – substances known as “forever chemicals” -- are so prevalent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say most Americans have been exposed to them. What can we do – if anything -- to protect ourselves from them? Will the EPA’s new PFAS drinking water standards do anything to help?

    October 12, 2023 at 2:25PM

    • Andrew Kida

    • Joe Charbonnet

    • David Cwiertney

    • Corey McCoid


    Making progress on conservation practices

    Research has shown that practices like wetlands, cover crops, prairies and buffer strips can improve water quality and prevent erosion. Where does Iowa stand in implementation of these practices? And what will it take to make their use more widespread?

    October 13, 2023 at 8:30AM

    • Mitch Hora

    • Ruth Rabinowitz

    • Silvia Secchi


    Trucks, trains, and pipelines: Transporting hazardous materials

    Following the derailment of a train in Ohio that was carrying hazardous waste, and the rupture of a CO2 pipeline in Mississippi, we ask what is the safest way to transport hazardous materials? Are CO2 pipelines safer than semi trucks? Are trains safer than pipelines? How can we best transport these materials? Will there always be risk?

    October 13, 2023 at 9:40AM

    • Steve Guyer

    • Bill Caram


    Environmental Justice in Iowa

    Marginalized groups often face unique challenges and roadblocks when it comes to accessing clean air, water and resources that help them live sustainably. How can we draft environmental laws and policies that ensure everyone is being served and protected equally? What kind of assistance is available and how could it be improved?

    October 13, 2023 at 10:45AM

Energy & Environment Articles

  • The Gazette’s Iowa Ideas In-depth Week focused on water quality wrapped up Friday, with more than 150 people participating in virtual discussions. Below are some of our favorite quotes from the week. Monday: Water quality policy
  • Drinking water is harvested from the earth, the sky, the seas. We worry about having enough of it and how to keep it clean, spending millions on infrastructure. But how do Iowans get their drinking water?
  • When it comes to cleaning up Iowa’s dirty water, do we need to stop the insanity or persuade farmers and landowners to embrace a “new vision” for agriculture? That was the gist of the debate on an Iowa Ideas panel I recently moderated. Chris Jones, IIHR research engineer at the University of Iowa and one of the leading voices and researchers on ...
  • We all want the lights to turn on when we flip the switch and to have heat when there’s a blizzard and air conditioning during a heat wave. But American utility companies, including those in Iowa, are facing increasing pressure to slash greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of preventing the worst effects of global climate change.
  • The tall grasses that billow and bend in the wind between Melrose Avenue and the Finkbine Commuter parking lot on Iowa City’s west side not only are beautiful, but they help the University of Iowa toward its goal of going coal free by 2025. Since 2015, the University of Iowa steadily has increased the acres of giant miscanthus, a perennial grass...
  • Doug Berven doesn’t mind if the word “transitional” is used to describe ethanol as a fuel — as long as people recognize the transition between gasoline-powered vehicles and an all-electric fleet likely will take some time and ethanol may have a part in the future. “If ethanol is a bridge, it’s a very wide bridge and you can’t see the other side,...
  • It’s officially summer and many Iowans are hitting the road for their favorite lakeside vacation spots to do some swimming, boating or fishing. But how much does the quality of the water factor into which lake we visit?
  • Water is perhaps the most important thing in the world. Life centers on it. Our bodies are three-fourths water. We can't exist without it.
  • As derecho and COVID 19 impacts all, certain demographics felt the challenges deeper than most. Looking for resources from food, water, ice, and more how do we better our system for at-risk populations. What does the future look like as impact of increased energy bills from loss of tree canopy to socio-economic challenges? What do we need to do ...
  • Improving Iowa's water quality issues remains at the top of the to do list for many. But how to do it is a source of debate. We'll look at a few cover crop/manure research and upstream policy projects that are under way as well as discuss Iowa's latest efforts on its nutrient reduction strategy. Panelists include: Scott Nelson, Director of Agron...

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