News, State Feed

Anonymous tip leads to illegal killing of swans, charges

DNR SwansANKENY, Iowa – On December 6, 2019, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources received an anonymous tip about a man shooting trumpeter swans at Paul Errington Marsh, just east of Ankeny.

A hunter alerted authorities of a man shooting trumpeter swans at the marsh. The hunter later heard three shots fired and then saw three swans flopping in the water, as well as other swans flying over.

DNR Conservation Officer Dustin Eighmy arrived on scene a short time later and witnessed the man shoot a trumpeter swan. As Conservation Officer Eighmy was approaching the man, the man shot at another swan. He also witnessed three swans in a pile near the man, as well as the swan he had just killed and two others in the marsh that the man could not retrieve. When questioned, the man claimed he thought the swans were geese.

Loai Abdulal, 28, of Ankeny, is charged with six counts of illegal taking of a non-protected game and one count for an unplugged shotgun. A DNR conservation officer seized his shotgun. The man had shot six trumpeter swans, with five of them being young swans. If convicted, the man will face a $1,500 civil penalty per trumpeter swan.

“Sadly, this isn’t uncommon lately, we’ve seen this happening more frequently so it’s very important that all hunters identify their target before pulling the trigger,” said DNR Conservation Officer Dustin Eighmy. “We’re very thankful that a hunter knew to call to alert us of this poaching incident in a very timely manner.”

NOTE: A criminal charge is merely an accusation unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.

Photo courtesy of the Iowa DNR

 

 


MidAmerican Energy announces first electric vehicle fast-charging sites

Company to build network of 18 fast-charging stations, including 11 “ultra-fast” chargers

DES MOINES, Iowa – MidAmerican Energy Company today announced plans to begin constructing publicly accessible electric vehicle fast-charging stations in five Iowa cities by the end of this year, and 13 more next year, including nearly a dozen “ultra-fast” chargers.

By the end of next month, MidAmerican Energy will begin to install 50 kilowatt direct-current fast chargers in Clarinda, Emmetsburg, Fort Dodge, Sheldon and Waterloo. Next year, the company will install 50 kW chargers in Altoona and Carroll.

Also next year, MidAmerican Energy plans to install 160 kW DC ultra-fast chargers in more heavily traveled corridors in Avoca, Davenport, Early, Fort Dodge and Waterloo. MidAmerican Energy is working with other communities for six additional sites, including two near Des Moines, which the company will announce when it finalizes agreements.

DC fast-chargers, with two charging plugs per station, can generally provide an electric vehicle with an 80% charge in less than 40 minutes. DC ultra-fast chargers can provide the same charge in half the time, depending on certain factors.

In late July, MidAmerican Energy announced a first-of-its kind effort in Iowa to build a fast-charger network throughout the state. The company chose locations within roughly 50 miles of each other to address electric vehicle range anxiety and promote electric vehicle adoption statewide.

“MidAmerican Energy is now breaking ground on a first-of-its-kind electric vehicle charging network in Iowa,” Andrew Lewis, MidAmerican Energy lead engineer, said. “We expect to complete our first DC fast-charging site next month. Throughout next year we’ll add more fast-charging sites as well as ultra-fast chargers, which we’re really excited about,” Lewis added. “This network will benefit our customers, host communities, travelers and the environment.”

Site hosts to operate charging stations
MidAmerican Energy has contracted with Los Angeles-based Greenlots to install charging stations and provide payment systems at host locations. MidAmerican Energy will establish and maintain the charging stations while the site hosts will operate them. Customers pay the usage fee, set by the site host and consistent with state laws and regulations, through a payment card or Greenlots app.

Charging network locations
The 18 charging stations will be within MidAmerican Energy’s service territory, with a focus on the Interstate 80, Interstate 29 and Highway 20 corridors. The chargers will be compatible with nearly all electric vehicles.

50 kW DC fast-charging stations to begin construction by Dec. 31:

  • Clarinda: Casey’s General Store, 1107 S. 16th St.
  • Emmetsburg: Casey’s General Store, 2406 Main St.
  • Fort Dodge: Hy-Vee, 115 S. 29th St.
  • Sheldon: Fareway, 2603 Park St.
  • Waterloo: Waterloo Center for the Arts, 225 Commercial St.

50 kW DC fast-charging station to be built in 2020:

  • Altoona: Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh, 3590 Prairie Fire Drive NW
  • Carroll: site under negotiation

160 kW DC ultra-fast charging stations to be built in 2020:

  • Avoca: Casey’s General Store, 1019 N. Chestnut St.
  • Davenport: site under negotiation
  • Early: Casey’s General Store, 2245 Karr Ave.
  • Fort Dodge: site under negotiation
  • Waterloo: Hy-Vee, 1422 Flammang Dr.
  • Six additional sites under negotiation

Electric vehicle and charger rebates
To further promote electric vehicle adoption in Iowa, MidAmerican Energy began offering electric vehicle and charging station rebates to its customers earlier this year.

The company provides $500 rebates to residential customers who buy or lease a new electric vehicle.

The company also offers $1,500 rebates to businesses that purchase “level 2” charging stations, which generally charge electric vehicles in 4-8 hours.

Rebate information is available on the company’s website at MidAmericanEnergy.com.

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves more than 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 765,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at MidAmericanEnergy.com and company social media channels.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service selects MidAmerican Energy’s habitat conservation plan as best option to preserve bats and bald eagles at wind farms

MidAmerican Energy will also establish multimillion-dollar conservation funds to grow bat and eagle populations 

DES MOINES, Iowa – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a habitat conservation plan proposed by MidAmerican Energy as the best solution to help preserve certain bat and eagle species at company wind farms.

As part of the plan, MidAmerican Energy will establish conservation funds for statewide bat and eagle programs that will help bolster their populations.

After public input and extensive evaluation, the Fish and Wildlife Service released its final environmental impact statement that concludes MidAmerican Energy’s habitat conservation plan “best fulfills the agency’s statutory mission and responsibilities while meeting the purpose and need.” There is now a 30-day period for the public to review the plan after which the agency can make a final decision to issue a 30-year “incidental take permit.”

The permit would allow for a limited number of incidental takes for four bat species and 10 turbine-related incidental bald eagle takes per year. Bats covered by the permit include the federally endangered Indiana bat, the federally threatened northern long-eared bat, the non-endangered little brown bat and tri-colored bat. The bald eagle is not an endangered species but is protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

The Fish and Wildlife Service found in its final environmental impact statement that this amount of mortality is not likely to result in population-level impacts to bald eagles or bats.

“MidAmerican Energy has worked hard to identify and develop practices that help preserve bats and eagles at the company’s clean energy wind farms,” Josh Mohr, MidAmerican Energy senior director of environmental programs, said. “Through this extensive effort, involving years of comprehensive research and detailed analysis, MidAmerican Energy has established and adopted unparalleled conservation practices at our wind farms. And that won’t change as we continue to grow our wind energy footprint in Iowa.”

Bat and bald eagle protection measures
MidAmerican Energy’s plan, first proposed in April of 2018, helps protect the four bat species by modifying nighttime wind turbine operations during certain months. At four wind farms where researchers found increased signs of nearby bat activity, the company will make additional operational changes, including blade feathering, from mid-July through September. Blade feathering, or turning a blade to reduce its wind exposure, helps keep turbine blades from spinning slowly when light winds don’t blow strongly enough to produce energy.

The company will seasonally adjust the wind speed at which a turbine begins to spin and produce energy. Studies show the adjustment can reduce bat fatalities up to 58%. The changes slightly decrease electric generation output.

The plan also includes measures to reduce bald eagle impacts at MidAmerican Energy wind farms, including educating landowners about removing animal remains that may attract eagles.

MidAmerican Energy to establish bat and bald eagle conservation funds
Under the plan, MidAmerican Energy has committed nearly $10 million to create bat and eagle conservation funds. The funds will support statewide projects to offset impacts to the affected species and help bolster their populations.

“MidAmerican Energy’s investment in a 30-year commitment for a Habitat Conservation Plan that covers the entire state of Iowa for their 22 wind projects to address current and potential conflicts with Bald Eagles demonstrates a commitment not only to a clean energy economy but also to the conservation of an iconic species of bird that is the symbol of our country, and that Audubon and our members treasure,” the conservation advocacy group Audubon Society wrote in public comments it filed with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Plan based on comprehensive study
MidAmerican Energy’s habitat conservation plan follows an unprecedented four-year series of independent studies covering most of its wind fleet. In November 2014, MidAmerican Energy, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, began the studies to determine how wind farms impact bald eagles and the four bat species. The efforts examined where sensitive bat species and bald eagles appear near MidAmerican Energy wind farms and evaluated their impacts.

The company is using study results to enhance conservation practices for current and future wind farms. MidAmerican Energy will provide annual reports to the agency on company conservation efforts and their effectiveness.

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves more than 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 765,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at MidAmericanEnergy.com and company social media channels.


MidAmerican Energy to launch electric vehicle fast-charging station network across Iowa

Company seeks to jump-start EV use with fast charging stations at 15 locations

DES MOINES, Iowa – MidAmerican Energy Company today launched a first-of-its kind effort in Iowa to establish a network of electric vehicle fast-charging stations in more than a dozen cities throughout the state.

The company plans to build publicly accessible direct current fast-charging stations, with two charging plugs per station, in 15 urban and rural communities. A DC fast-charger, also called a “Level 3” charger, can generally charge an electric vehicle in 20-45 minutes.

MidAmerican Energy is now accepting applications from businesses and community entities in targeted areas that are interested in hosting charging facilities that MidAmerican Energy will purchase, install and maintain. The company will select at least one location in each targeted area.

MidAmerican Energy seeks to install DC fast-charging sites in Altoona, Avoca, Carroll, Clarinda, Davenport, Dexter, Early, Emmetsburg, Iowa City, Fort Dodge, Little Sioux, Oskaloosa, Sheldon, Sioux City and Waterloo, which are all within the company’s service territory.

“We’re investing in a program that supports our customers by making emission-free driving more attractive and convenient,” Nick Nation, electric operations general manager, said. “This goes hand-in-hand with MidAmerican Energy’s vision to provide our customers with 100% clean, renewable energy.”

Once MidAmerican Energy selects site hosts, the company plans to begin building the charging network by the end of the year.

Charging station hosts will set their own usage fees, consistent with state laws and regulations.

“Car owners and potential buyers tell us access to charging stations within reach of the routes they drive will improve their confidence the electric vehicle will meet their needs,” Nation said. “We’ve come up with a plan to address the range anxiety issue by building an infrastructure of 15 fast-charging stations across Iowa that should be within roughly 50 miles of each other. We think our efforts will help jump-start Iowa’s electric vehicle industry.”

Electric vehicle and charger rebates
To further promote electric vehicle adoption in Iowa, this year, MidAmerican Energy started offering electric vehicle and charging station rebates to its customers.

The company provides $500 rebates to residential customers who buy or lease a new electric vehicle.

The company also offers $1,500 rebates to businesses that purchase “Level 2” charging stations, which generally charge electric vehicles in 4-8 hours.

Rebate information is available on the company’s website at MidAmericanEnergy.com. 

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves more than 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 765,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at MidAmericanEnergy.com and company social media channels.


MidAmerican Energy provided 51.4% renewable energy to its Iowa customers in 2018, utilities board verifies

Company moves closer to 100% renewable energy vision 

DES MOINES, Iowa – MidAmerican Energy Company provided its Iowa customers with 51.4% of their energy from renewable sources last year, the Iowa Utilities Board verified in an order filed Friday.

The number reflects the amount of renewable generation, as a percent of total retail energy delivered, that MidAmerican Energy provided to its customers in Iowa in 2018.

The renewable energy percentage rose slightly from 2017. MidAmerican Energy expects it to continue to increase, without seeking rate increases, as the company completes additional projects.

“Providing 100% renewable energy annually to our customers is part of MidAmerican Energy’s vision to be the best. We’re on track to do that in the next several years while still keeping rates low,” Adam Wright, MidAmerican Energy president and CEO, said. “Access to clean energy, combined with low rates and high reliability, helps drive Iowa’s economy.”

GreenAdvantage program
MidAmerican Energy’s GreenAdvantage program, available at no charge to all customers, quantifies the amount of renewable energy that electric customers can claim. The program enables businesses, especially those that emphasize clean energy, to claim the verified percentage of energy they received to help them meet corporate sustainability goals.

Company moves closer to 100% renewable energy vision
Last year, MidAmerican Energy announced its latest wind energy project, called Wind XII, which is now underway. The company expects to complete the project late next year.

Wind XII will help move the company closer to being the first investor-owned electric utility in the nation to generate renewable energy equal to 100% of its customers’ usage on an annual basis.

“We continue to work hard every day to add clean wind energy because our customers want it,” Wright said. “And we’re building it at no net cost to them while providing substantial and lasting economic benefits to Iowa communities.”

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, serves more than 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota, and 765,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available at MidAmericanEnergy.com and company social media channels.


KEDLEY STEPS DOWN FROM IOWA’S 2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE

Osceola, Iowa - Osceola Mayor Thomas Kedley is stepping down from Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District Race.  The 31-year-old Republican educator filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission in early May after the retirement announcement of Congressman Dave Loebsack, but has decided to back out of the race to continue to serve his hometown community, Osceola.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Iowans from all over our 24 county district.  They say there is no place like home, and as I traveled, I realized I wasn’t done yet in Osceola. At this time, I feel like I can make the biggest impact at the local and state level. There are many initiatives that I would like to see through and I owe it to our incredible community to do that,” said Kedley.

Kedley will continue his career in politics by serving Iowa on the local and regional level. He will teach the youth of Osceola, serve as mayor and looks forward to running for state politics. He encourages elected officials to cut through the partisan gridlock and truly focus on sufficiently funding public education and mental health, decrease government red tape for the family farmer and pass a balanced budget. “I want to sincerely thank everyone for their support, encouragement and conversations. It has been an honor to meet and work with all of you.”


IOWA CONSERVATIVE ENERGY FORUM WELCOMES PRESIDENT TRUMP'S EXPANSION OF E15 FUEL

DES MOINES – The Iowa Conservative Energy Forum, a nonprofit organization that support clean energy solutions to benefit the Iowa economy and environment, expressed its support of the Trump administration's move to allow year-round production and consumption of E15 blended fuel.

“The president's decision has been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike. In today's political environment, that broad-based support speaks volumes about the value that E15 will deliver for our economy and the environment," said ICEF chairman Ray Gaesser, a Corning Farm and former president of the Iowa and American soybean associations.

The fuel is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. E15, which the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association describes as "the most tested fuel in history," is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in all cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks manufactured in 2001 and later. E10, which contains 10 percent ethanol, is currently the most commonly used fuel in the United States.

"E15, if widely adopted, would represent up to a 50-percent increase in the amount of ethanol produced and consumed in U.S. markets. It is a renewable fuel that is a real boost for Iowa farmers, good for the U.S. economy and national security, and gentler on the global environment," Gaesser said. "The president's announcement is an example of the common-sense, conservative principles that unshackle the free market to the benefit of our state, nation and world today, tomorrow and far into the future."

About ICEF: The Iowa Conservative Energy Forum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates for common-sense, market-based energy solutions that increase access to clean, affordable and reliable energy statewide. ICEF was established in 2019 as a platform for Iowa conservatives to promote the benefits of an “all of the above” energy strategy that values clean energy and seeks to level the playing field among energy sources. ICEF is a member of a growing network of conservative state-level organizations that promote clean energy and energy waste reduction to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, protect and responsibly use our natural resources, while improving energy reliability and enhancing national and grid security. To learn more, visit: https://www.iowacef.org/


KEDLEY FOR CONGRESS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR IOWA’S SECOND DISTRICT

Osceola, Iowa – Osceola Mayor Thomas Kedley is hitting the campaign trail. The 31-year-old Republican educator filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission in May after the retirement announcement of Congressman Dave Loebsack but stated his focus would remain on his students until summer. With school out of session, Kedley is officially hitting the campaign trail.

“I look forward to traveling this beautiful district of 24 counties and hearing from Republicans, Democrats and Independents,” said Kedley. “I want to hear your concerns, your solutions and I want to take your energy to Washington, D.C.”

Kedley’s story is one of resilience. From living on the doorstep of poverty, to completing a college degree, having a career in education, and being elected to public office…success for Kedley has not come without overcoming challenges.

“As a young man growing up in Clinton, I helped my grandfather on the family farm and watched my mother work multiple jobs to support her family of five. I lived on the front line of poverty where the American dream seemed out of reach. Friends would share their lunches, couches and pennies. I remember spending countless hours at school with my teachers because that is where I could see a glimmer of my dreams coming true,” said Kedley. “My family, friends and teachers taught me resilience and to persevere. They taught me to follow my calling to be a solution seeker and to be a voice for others.”

As the mayor of Osceola, Kedley has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for residents through recreation, updating infrastructure and securing a reliable water source. Now the time has come for Kedley to take his track record of strong leadership to Washington to seek solutions that make the 2nd district, Iowa and country stronger both now and in the future.

Kedley is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Education. He is serving his second term as mayor of Osceola where he lives with his wife, Becca, two sons, Teddy and Rocky, and goldendoodle, Penny.

Learn more about Kedley and his campaign by visiting www.kedleyforcongress.com.


Iowa DNR Hosts Open House on Updated Floodplain Maps

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will host an open house where residents of Linn County can view proposed updated floodplain maps. The open house will be held Thursday, May 30, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the City Services Center (500 15th Avenue SW). All Linn County residents are welcome to attend.  

The open house will provide an opportunity for property owners to view proposed floodplain maps developed with improved modelling technology through FEMA and the Iowa DNR, learn how their flood risk may have changed and gain a better understanding of flood insurance options available. Residents throughout Linn County are encouraged to attend and learn more about whether new insurance rates or regulatory changes may apply to their property.  

Floodplain maps are used for floodplain management, flood insurance ratings, and to identify flood hazards. Insurance companies will use the maps to determine flood insurance rates. Representatives from FEMA and the Iowa DNR will be on hand to answer questions and address residents’ concerns about the preliminary flood maps, which are being updated based on more recent flood studies, hydraulics, and topographic data.  

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States.  It is vital that property owners understand their risk and take advantage of tools or programs available to them, including flood insurance.   

Residents can find more information this map update project at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Land-Quality/Flood-Plain-Management/Flood-Plain-Mapping   

Residents with additional questions can contact the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources at 515-725-8333 or Jason.Conn@dnr.iowa.gov.