Energy + Environment

In Washington, agricultural policymakers circulate among Farm Bureau, USDA and industry

BY: - September 6, 2022

This story originally appeared in Investigate Midwest.  In the weeks prior to leaving his role as U.S. Department of Agriculture chief of staff in January 2021, Joby Young received emails from lobbyists with links to private-industry jobs with titles like “director of government relations,” “project manager, environmental stewardship” and “director of crop insurance.” Private-sector job openings […]

Conservationists celebrate milestone in effort to save Missouri’s endangered hellbenders

BY: - September 5, 2022

In dripping black wetsuits and scuba masks, standing in the middle of a southern Missouri river last month, a state herpetologist and two zookeepers hugged each other and cheered. “Number 10,000!” That day, state herpetologist Jeff Briggler with the Missouri Department of Conservation and two Saint Louis Zoo keepers released into the wild the 10,000th […]

Vilsack: America’s voluntary approach to agriculture is better than Europe’s mandates

BY: - August 31, 2022

BOONE, Iowa — The more than $1 billion the federal government is devoting to voluntary efforts to reduce agriculture’s adverse effects on the environment is a better long-term strategy than mandating new rules for farmers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Tuesday. While state and federal officials in the United States have tended to […]

More Midwest banks see opportunity to finance solar, energy efficiency projects

BY: - August 23, 2022

This article was originally published by Energy News Network. Smaller, regional banks and credit unions are increasingly looking to help homeowners finance solar installations in a sign of growing recognition of the opportunities in clean energy finance. In the Midwest, Iowa-based Decorah Bank & Trust is among the latest to begin marketing loans for solar […]

Biden administration plays long game for agriculture and trade

BY: - August 19, 2022

WOODWARD, Iowa — The United States could take international trade actions that might have an immediate impact on the operating costs for farmers and the markets available for their crops, but the Biden administration has opted for a longer-term strategy, one of the nation’s top emissaries said Thursday during a trip to a central Iowa […]

SEC proposal could shine a light on Big Ag companies’ supply chain emissions

BY: - August 18, 2022

This story was originally published by Investigate Midwest.  Estimates vary on how much greenhouse gas agriculture emits into the air. The Environmental Protection Agency puts it at 11% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. But that doesn’t include a whole host of other emissions associated with the industry. The percentage could be higher. Last year, the United Nations estimated the food […]

Ameren may turn to natural gas to make up for shuttering Rush Island coal plant

BY: - August 17, 2022

Ameren Missouri may restart natural gas burners to offset the court-ordered shuttering of a coal-fired power plant that violated federal law, the company told state regulators Wednesday.  The St. Louis-based electric utility announced late last year that it would retire its Rush Island Energy Center in early 2024 after a federal court found in 2019 […]

Clean energy lender will stop making high-interest PACE loans in Missouri

BY: - August 15, 2022

This story was originally published by ProPublica. One of the nation’s biggest residential “clean energy” lenders has suspended making loans to homeowners in Missouri, citing economic conditions and a new state law that mandated more consumer protections and oversight. Ygrene Energy Fund, based in California, said it will also stop lending in California, but will […]

U.S. House Democrats send sweeping climate, health and tax legislation to Biden

BY: - August 12, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Friday cleared Democrats’ long-sought climate, health care and tax package, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature. The roughly $750 billion measure is much smaller than the $2 trillion reconciliation package the House originally sent to the Senate in November. The final product left out dozens of […]

State attorneys general support new poultry rule but question oversight

BY: - August 10, 2022

The attorneys general of 10 states are backing a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is meant to get poultry growers fair agreements with meat processors, but they want stronger oversight. “One of the many reasons it’s tough for small poultry farmers — and small farmers of all kinds — to afford […]

Congress could beef up meatpacking oversight this fall. But obstacles to enforcement remain

BY: - August 9, 2022

This story was originally published by Investigate Midwest. A century ago, Congress wrote a law intended to counteract unfair business practices in the meatpacking industry. Fast forward to 2022: Just four companies control more than half of the beef, pork and poultry markets, and the meatpacking industry has fielded lawsuits alleging abusive behavior. The Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 largely […]

U.S. Senate passes major health, tax and climate bill in boost for Democrats

BY: and - August 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate, along party lines, passed a sweeping energy, health care, climate and tax package Sunday afternoon, following an overnight marathon of votes that resulted in just a handful of notable changes to the legislation. The 755-page bill was passed after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the evenly divided Senate. […]