Good Government

The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is committed to environmental protection   The Chapter applies pressure on political leaders and government decision makers in order to achieve positive changes to protect the environment.  Active participation in a democracy ensures our elected officials and decision makers fairly represent the voters and the public interests, not the polluters’ interests. 

Members and supporters are involved with influencing decision makers in city, county, state and federal governments.   Our work involves the legislative, executive and judicial branches of state government.   We regularly bring issues to the commissions, boards and stakeholder groups of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Iowa Utilities Board, and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.   The Chapter also takes legal action in the state and federal courts to support our environmental initiatives. 

Pipeline Rally, Pilot Mound, Iowa

The Chapter supports

  • Removing corporate personhood from both the United States constitution and Iowa’s constitution
  • Ensuring voting rights are protected for all citizens
  • Public funding of election campaigns
  • Ensuring that the open meetings laws are followed and expanded to include stakeholders groups and subcommittees
  • Ensuring that the public has access to public records and that copies are low-cost or free
  • Retaining local control of mine siting for silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing
  • Ensuring that environmental regulations protect the public, not the polluters

The Chapter has compiled educational information and fact sheets about policies and recommendations for improving government so that it works for all of us.

Land Use

Successful protection of natural areas from highways construction

Iowa Sand Used in Fracking

Eminent domain and easements

Tax increment financing (TIF) encourages sprawl by spreading urban areas into the countryside, which destroys farmland, wildlife habitat, and natural areas.  Because of sprawl, transportation needs increase, which increases greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles.  Aside from electricity generation, agriculture and transportation are other big emitters of greenhouse gases. 

How tax increment financing works

Primer on tax increment financing (TIF)

Tax Increment Financing Reform


Understanding planning and zoning

Policy on smart planning

Clean Elections

Protecting voter access to the pollsThe Iowa Chapter advocates for policies that allow all citizens to have access to the polls, restore felon voting rights, create early voting opportunities, and provide easy means of registering to vote.  See Voting is a Right for All US Citizens

Restoring felon voting rights

Voter-owned clean election funding

Enabling Shareholders to Object to Corporate Campaign Contributions

Open Meetings and Open Records -- Letting the Sun Shine In

Ensuring that government committees, subcommittees, and advisory committees are open to the public - Stronger Open Meetings Law

Open records to allow greater public access

Viewing and obtaining public records

Putting the public in public hearings

CR Rally.JPG

Regulatory Policy and General policy

Regulators provide oversight to ensure that laws and rules are followed.  In other words, regulations are yellow lines, stop signs, and speed signs that define the rules and protect the public.  Even public agencies can break the law, such as happened with the drinking water issues in Flint, Michigan.

Rational and fair regulation is good for all Iowans

Environmental Protection Commission

Rule-making: implementing legislation

Attorney general opinion on Governor's preclearance for rule-making

Why the market doesn't take care of pollution

Bureaucratic inaction

A Bold Vision for Iowa’s Economy of the Future

Green Jobs: Economic Development, Environmental Protection, and Workers’ Rights 

Constitutional Amendment on Protection of the Environment

Repeal the Environmental Audit Law-–The Polluter Immunity Law

Prohibiting Members of Boards of Supervisors from Serving as Members of County Conservation Boards

State Environmental Quality Act

IUB reform

Protecting K-12 Science Education

State Constitutional amendment removing corporate personhood

Where is your county treasurer depositing taxpayer money?

Tips for getting involved in local government issues