June 2022 Newsletter

Summer is the time for political candidates to campaign.  It is also a great time for you to meet the candidates.  Introduce yourself to them.  Ask them what they are going to do to protect our environment.  And remember their answers in November.

Take care,
Pam Mackey Taylor, Chapter Director and Newsletter Editor


 Photo is a paddler on the Wapsipinicon River between Central City and Waubeek, Iowa.

What you can do to help the environment

  1. Share your thoughts on electric vehicle charging stations with the Iowa Department of Transportation
  2. Donate to the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club so that we can continue this work.


In this issue of the Iowa Sierran

Climate Change

Carbon Dioxide Pipelines

Water Quality and Agriculture

News from the Legislature



  • To see the archive of previous Iowa Chapter newsletters

Update on Carbon Dioxide Pipelines

Navigator Files New Route - adds counties, drops counties

The Navigator pipeline project connects ethanol and fertilizer plants in Iowa to a pipeline that leads to Illinois where the carbon dioxide (CO2) will be stored underground.

The big news is that Navigator Heartland Greenway issued a new map of its route.  It has added a number of counties to its route, snaking across the western Image of latest Navigator route mappart of the state, connecting the Poet ethanol plants to the pipeline.  At the same time, it has dropped a number of counties in the eastern part of the state.  Further, Navigator has decided to build-out its pipeline network in two phases. 

See a map of the counties that will be crossed by Phase 1 of the project

Navigator is planning to conduct a series of meetings involving the landowners and the Iowa Utilities Board beginning in August and running through September.  The planned schedule is








The Gathering Place, 1711 N 2nd St,
Manchester, IA 52057




Heartland Acres Agribition Center, 2600
Swan Lake Blvd, Independence, IA 50644




The Coliseum, 101 1st St SW,
Oelwein, IA 50662




The Centre Hall, 1211 4th St SW,
Waverly, IA 50677




Greene Community Center,
202 W South St,
Greene, IA 50636




ECC Agricultural Renewable Energy
Center, 509 Ellsworth Ave,
Iowa Falls, IA 50126




Briggs Woods Conf. Center,
2501 Briggs Woods Trl,
Webster City, IA 50595




Webster County Fairgrounds, Auditorium
Building, 22770 Old Highway 169,
Fort Dodge, IA 50501

Weather Reschedule





Sept 21




Sept 21


Participation through IUB WebEx system




Forster Community Center, 404 1st Ave,
Rock Rapids, IA 51246




9th Street Centre, 418 9th St,
Sibley IA, 51249




Lee County Fairgrounds, Youth Learning
Center, 1100 N. Main St,
Donnellson, IA 52625



We want real climate solutions - not greenwashing schemes!  This pipeline is centered around Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). It would carry captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and fertilizer plants. CCS is very complicated but when you boil it down, the basic premise is that it captures the carbon dioxide and stores it underground (CCS) or it captures the carbon dioxide and uses it for industrial purposes.

Navigator claims that they are going to permanently store the CO2 underground,  The pipeline is being offered as a false climate solution, especially if it will be extending the life of coal-fired power plants and the ethanol industry. 

We already know the solutions to our climate crisis - we must end our dependence on fossil fuels and invest in solar, wind, battery storage, conservation and efficiency!

CCS is a false solution in this instance because: 

  • It does not address other emissions or forms of pollution from fossil fuel extraction and industrial agriculture 
  • It will allow for the extension of fossil fuel extraction through enhanced oil recovery 
  • Fails to acknowledge CO2 is incredibly dangerous and a pipeline leak or break could poison surrounding communities and first responders
  • It will extend the life of the polluting ethanol industry and industrial agriculture practices that have contributed to our climate crisis, water pollution and more.
  • CCS continues business as usual and delays investment in REAL climate solutions 

CCS is a false solution that takes us farther away from our climate goals. The pipeline continues business as usual, will only be feasible with massive public subsidies, and should not be approved.  Let’s invest in REAL climate solutions.

PFAS: EPA issues new health advisories

This month the Environmental Protection (EPA) issued nonbinding health advisories for two PFAS chemicals – PFOA and PFOS – at near zero.  PFOA was set at .004 parts per trillion while PFOS was set at .02 parts per trillion.  The previous level, which was set in 2016, was 70 parts per trillion.  The health advisory is the level of a chemical that can be in drinking water which is not expected cause adverse health effects.  Matthew Daly of Associated Press reported, “While the new guidelines set acceptable risk below levels that can currently be measured, as a practical matter the EPA recommends that utilities take action against the chemicals when they reach levels that can be measured – currently about four parts per trillion, a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday night.”

Further, EPA issued final health advisories for two additional PFAS chemicals – GenX which was set at 10 parts per trillion and PFBS which was set at 2,000 parts per trillion.photo

PFAS is a class of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.  There are thousands of compounds, estimated over 5000, in the PFAS class.  PFAS persists in the environment and does not break down.  These substances are difficult to dispose of.  That is why they are called “forever chemicals”.  The compounds are linked to cancer, liver damage, and abnormal childhood development.

PFAS chemicals are resistant to water, oil, grease, and heat.  These chemicals have been used as fire retardants, in non-stick cookware (such as Teflon), on stain-resistant clothing (such as Goretex) and fabrics (including Scotchgard-protected fabrics), carpets (such as Stainmaster), umbrellas, tents, in food packaging, in cleaning products, in polishes and waxes, in paint, in insulation for wiring, and in fire-suppressing foams.  The fire-suppressing foams are used at military installations, fire training centers, airports, and some manufacturing facilities.  Airports have used de-icers that contained PFAS.  Some industries, such as chrome plating, electronics manufacturing, and oil recovery, use PFAS compounds.  They are even found in mascara, long-lasting lipstick, foundations, and shampoo.  Some pizza boxes contain PFAS, as well as microwave popcorn bags, candy wrappers, and fast-food wrappers.  In other words, they are everywhere.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has been testing water supplies across Iowa for PFOA and PFOS.  Several tests of drinking water found levels of the chemicals at higher levels that the newly revised threshold, but lower than the previous 70 parts per trillion.  Based on reporting by Jared Strong from Capital Dispatch, those cities include Central City, Ames, Burlington, Camanche, Davenport, Keokuk, Muscatine, Rock Valley, Sioux City, Tama, and West Des Moines plus the Kammerer Mobile Home Park near Muscatine.  The EPA announcement indicated “EPA encourages states, Tribes, territories, drinking water utilities, and community leaders that find PFAS in their drinking water to take steps to inform residents, undertake additional monitoring to assess the level, scope, and source of contamination, and examine steps to reduce exposure”.

EPA indicated that it plans to release its proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS in the fall of 2022 and a final release in 2023.  Sierra Club will be monitoring the EPA’s draft and final release and its final implementation in Iowa.


“EPA Announces New Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFAS Chemicals, $1 Billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding to Strengthen Health Protections”, June 15, 2022, EPA Press Office

Matthew Daly, “EPA: ‘Forever chemicals’ pose risk even at very low levels”, June 15, 2022, Associated Press

Jared Strong, “All ‘forever chemicals’ detected in Iowa drinking water exceed new safety advisories”, Capital Dispatch, June 15, 2022

Pre-publication Notice, “Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisories for Four Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)”, Environmental Protection Agency, FRL 9855-01-OW, June 14, 2022

DNR is reporting PFAS testing results on their webpage.  The DNR is updating their webpage as testing is completed.

Update on Supreme Beef - Flawed water withdrawal permit approved

Supreme Beef is a cattle feedlot in Clayton County. It will house 11,600 head of cattle.  It was first envisioned as a waste-to-energy operation in 2017.  Ever since it has had a troubled history.

Supreme Beef (formerly known as Walz Energy) was fined several times for stormwater violations. 

Then it submitted at least two nutrient management plans (NMP) that were rejected by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Finally, based on reasons we have yet to discover, the DNR approved an NMP that was flawed in many respects.  Sierra Club has challenged that NMP in court and the court case is ongoing.  We are going to take depositions of DNR employees and get documents that will show that the DNR acted improperly in approving the NMP.

And the interesting interplay between Supreme Beef and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources continues.  The DNR has renewed Supreme Beef's permit for water withdrawal.  What that means is that Supreme Beef will be taking water from the groundwater aquifer to give the cattle water to drink.  The problem is that the original permit issued in 2017 was for 10,000 cattle, not 11,600, and that Supreme Beef claims each cow will consume 6 gallons of water per day.  But all of the data says that the average cow will consume 10-20 gallons per day.  So Supreme Beef will be using a lot more water than is permitted.

This is a problem because there are farms and residences with wells in the area that use water from the same aquifer as Supreme Beef.  Those wells will be in danger of not having enough water if the Supreme Beef draws more water than permitted or should reasonably be allowed to use.  Iowa law says that water resources belong to the public and use of that water can be permitted only for a beneficial use.  This means that a use of water that is unreasonable or drains the aquifer too much is not a beneficial use.

The aquifer under Clayton County is called the Jordan Aquifer, which provides water to many areas of the state.  The Jordan Aquifer is unique in the area of Clayton County; the aquifer is very near the surface so it is shallow and subject to being drained more quickly.  Also, Clayton County has karst topography, which means it has fractures in the bedrock and sinkholes.  If the aquifer is drained too quickly, before it can be recharged, the bedrock will collapse and destroy the aquifer.

Sierra Club and others submitted comments to the DNR expressing our concerns about the Supreme Beef permit.  The DNR disregarded our comments.  The DNR is requiring Supreme Beef to install meters to track the amount of water withdrawn each month and to file the records with the DNR annually.

The Sierra Club will continue to monitor Supreme Beef.


Update on bills signed by the Governor

The governor signed SF2378 - changes to the bottle deposit law.  The legislature passed a bill that would allow grocers, convenience stores, and other stores to opt out of redeeming empty soda,photo beer, and alcohol bottles if the dealer holds a food establishment license allowing them to prepare or serve food; if the dealer has an agreement with an approved redemption center for the operation of a mobile redemption system plus provides adequate space, utilities, and internet connection to operate the mobile redemption system; if the dealer’s business is in a county with more than 30,000 residents and within 10 miles of a redemption center; or if the dealer’s place of business is in a county with 30,000 or fewer people and within 15 miles of a redemption center.  Obviously, this will significantly reduce the locations where you can redeem your empty bottles and cans.  The Sierra Club opposed this bill.

The governor signed HF2412 - radon testing in public schools.  The Iowa legislature passed a bill that would require testing for radon in public schools every 5 years.  If the radon levels are high, the school would need to undertake radon abatement steps.  Indoor radon is the leading cause of environmental lung cancer in Iowa.  Radon gas is released when uranium breaks down.  Uranium is a natural chemical found in Iowa’s soils and rocks.  Outdoor levels of radon are low.  However, radon levels can build up inside a building.  Radon is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas.  The only way you know if you have high levels of radon is to test for it.  Given the high levels of radon found within the state, it only makes sense to have a program of testing schools for radon levels and then initiating methods to reduce radon levels if they are high.  Furthermore, it makes sense to repeat the tests every 5 years, just to make sure that radon levels remain safe.  Building radon abatement systems in new school buildings also makes sense.   The Sierra Club supported HF2412.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: How can Iowa improve its EV charging network?

Calling all Iowans who drive (or aspire to drive) electric vehicles!  Now is the time to make your voice heard on how Iowa’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure can be improved.photo

As part of the bipartisan 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), funds were authorized to support the continued development of our electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Iowa is among several states developing plans to create a national electric vehicle charging network along major transportation corridors. This network will offer better convenience and a more reliable travel network for electric vehicles within Iowa and nationwide.

For this effort, Iowa has been allocated $7.5 million in federal fiscal year 2022, and $51.4 million over five years as part of an ongoing National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is asking for public input right now.  Take the survey open now through June 24, 2022, to share your thoughts on how Iowa’s EV infrastructure can improve (estimated time, 10 minutes).

Using the results of the survey, the DOT will write its Iowa Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan.  To learn more about the project, see https://iowadot.gov/iowaevplan

Join us for interesting and informative webinars

Lunch and Learns

Every Friday at noon, we do a Lunch and Learn livestream.  See us on Facebook at "Sierra Club Iowa Chapter".  These will be recorded so you can watch them anytime.  Topics will be selected based on what is happening during the week and will be announced the day before the livestream.  During the legislative session, we cover issues coming before the Iowa legislature.

In case you missed our past webinars and lunch and learn sessions, you can still see them

Volunteer for the Iowa Chapter

Almost everything we do is done by volunteers like you.  If you would like to volunteer for the Iowa Chapter, please let us know by sending an E-mail to Iowa.chapter@sierraclub.org.  Or sign up by using the online form.  There are many opportunities for you to make a difference:

  • making phone callsphoto

  • developing graphics for banners and flyers

  • working on legislative issues

  • working on elections

  • fundraising

  • organizing events

  • joining an issue committee

If you would like to join a committee on the Peoples Budget, sign up here please fill out our People's Budget Volunteer Form so we can build our organizing team for this project.  A large number of Sierra Club issues require some involvement with Iowa's state budget. Budgets reflect theories of government. Iowa’s political conversation rarely moves beyond the notion that government’s primary responsibility is to grow the economy. Hence we give corporations tax breaks, but slash funding for health care, environmental protections and public interest research at our three state universities.  We hold a different view of government and that is government is the trustee of all the things we share - public roads and bridges, water, wildlife, air, public universities, state parks, education and public health.  Therefore, protecting, enhancing and restoring our shared public wealth is the central responsibility of government. We must tie the budget to our priorities. 

If you would like to join our legislative action team, sign up here.  Keep on top of what is happening at the Iowa legislature.  Be alerted when you should contact your legislators about pending legislation.


Contribute to the Iowa Chapter

Sierra Club - the best bet for achieving bold solutions to Iowa’s environmental problems

Sierra Club is Iowa’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization.  Not only that, we are the best bet in the state for achieving bold solutions to Iowa’s environmental problems.

We work in the courts, before Iowa’s public agencies, and in the halls of the legislature.  The Iowa Chapter's effort to protect the environment takes financial support.  The Chapter receives very little financial support from thphotoe national Sierra Club.  Can we count on you for a donation to ensure even more victories?  Your contribution will be put to work here in Iowa on issues that affect every day Iowans – water quality, clean air, protection of Iowa's soil, parks and natural areas, and a strong democracy.  The Iowa Chapter is relentless in fighting back bad legislation that affects every one of us. 

Your non-deductible contributions make it possible for us to fight bad legislation and to promote good legislation.  We appreciate your past and on-going support of these efforts.  You can make a non-deductible donation with a credit card.   A non-deductible donation supports the Chapter's effective, citizen-based advocacy and lobbying programs.  If you prefer, a non-deductible check can be written to the Sierra Club Iowa Chapter and mailed to:

Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter
PO Box 1058
Marion, IA 52302

You can also make a tax-deductible donation with a credit card.  Tax-deductible activities are limited to public interest education, research and legal actions.  A deductible check can be written to the Sierra Club Foundation with “Iowa Chapter” written in the memo line.

Thank you for your support.

Donate your used vehiclegraphic

As the Sierra Club Foundation's Iowa Chapter continues to raise charitable funds to support its work in Iowa, won’t you consider participating in our vehicle donation program?  Our partners over at CARS have made the process of donating your unused or unneeded car, truck, motorcycle, boat or RV easy, efficient and secure.  They’ll take care of everything from picking up your vehicle to sending you a tax receipt for your generous gift.  To learn more about The Sierra Club Foundation's Iowa Chapter vehicle donation program, please call 844-674-3772.  Or visit our webpage to get started today!

Sierra Club Foundation promotes climate solutions, conservation, and movement building through a powerful combination of strategic philanthropy and grassroots advocacy. The Foundation is the fiscal sponsor of Sierra Club’s charitable environmental programs.

For more information 

Planned giving . . . naming the Sierra Club Iowa Chapter in your will 

Ensure your environmental legacy by naming the Iowa Chapter in your will or trust. These gifts cost you nothing now. You can hold onto your assets for as long as you need them.


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