Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Spat between White House, EPA could derail federal coal ash rules

By Jason Hancock | 01.11.10 | 3:13 pm

The White House and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are at odds over what federal regulations should look like in regards to the disposal of coal ash, and the outcome will have an impact on Iowa.

The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that in an unusual move, the office of President Barack Obama’s regulatory czar has held nearly 20 meetings with coal industry groups since October. The topic of discussion is whether the EPA should classify coal ash, the toxic byproduct of coal combustion, as a hazardous waste.

Watchdog groups say it is unusual for the OMB to insert itself so prominently, and so early, into the process. In this case, the EPA has yet to publish its proposed new regulations for coal ash, a step that would then open the door to public comment and hearings.

“Industry is trying to influence the process in a back-door fashion,” said Lisa Evans, a senior attorney for Earthjustice, an environmental organization.

The EPA originally promised to release draft regulations of coal ash by the end of 2009, and in doing so, open the rules up for public comment. That deadline was pushed back indefinitely last month. The fear among many hoping for tough new rules is that the EPA will issue regulations that either don’t classify coal ash as hazardous waste or split its designation between wet and dry ash.

In Iowa, there are four coal ash disposal sites that have received state waivers allowing them to accept ash without protective liners to prevent toxins such as mercury, zinc, lead, arsenic and selenium from leeching into groundwater. The sites are also not required to test groundwater to see if the pollution is already taking place.

Gov. Chet Culver and legislative leaders have said that once the EPA releases draft rules the state will determine whether to work on its own regulations. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources worked for more than a year on tougher coal ash regulations before opposition from site owners and coal-burning businesses, along with uncertainty about what regulations the federal government may eventually impose, caused the effort to stall.

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