State of Iowa Archives: on Environment


Tom Fiegen: Democratize and decentralize our food production

My biggest concerns for Iowa and the country are: the need to address childhood hunger (One in five of our children in America is food insecure); the need to democratize and decentralize our food production, to grow, process and market more healthy local fresh food (and revitalize local economies); and to clean up our water, by reducing and ultimately banning ag poisons like Roundup and Enlist herbicides. The number of cancer deaths in Iowa has increased over the last 40 years, in large part because of the ag poisons in our drinking water.

The small-farm revolution is part of the "back to the land" movement by young people to have a connection with their food. It is part of the local food movement which has spawned the farmers markets and CSAs. If I am at the table in the Senate during the drafting of the next Farm Bill there will be a paradigm shift from supporting GMO/chemical mono industrial agriculture to supporting/promoting/subsidizing local healthy fresh sustainable food production.

Source: 2016 Iowa Senate campaign website, FiegenForUSSenate.com Oct 9, 2015

Rob Hogg: Urgently address challenges of environmental sustainability

In announcing his bid for the U.S. Senate, Democratic state Sen. Rob Hogg vowed to be an environmental stalwart. Hogg touted his environmental credentials, saying he's been a champion for wind and solar energy efforts, biodiesel, ethanol, soil conservation and clean water. "I believe we urgently need to address the dangers of climate change as well as other challenges of environmental sustainability," Hogg said. "None of us asked for these problems, but we can't afford to ignore it."
Source: The Gazette on 2016 Iowa Senate race Sep 24, 2015

Chris Christie: Ethanol in gasoline is the law; and that's just the minimum

"Don't mess with the RFS," Gov. Terry Branstad [R-IA] said, offering a not-so-subtle warning as he kicked off a daylong agriculture summit that featured a string of likely Republican presidential candidates. The RFS [the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires corn-based ethanol] is a major issue that White House hopefuls are forced to address whenever they visit the No. 1 corn-producing state. But it's a less popular policy for small government conservatives, who decry the mandate as federal overreach in the private sector.

Other contenders offered entirely opposite positions. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for example, said he "absolutely" supports the RFS. "That's what the law requires. So let's make sure we comply with the law. That should be the minimum," he said, drawing applause from the crowd.

Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

George Pataki: Opposed to RFS: no ethanol mandate in gasoline

The Republicans' stances differed little except on the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal mandate that outlines how much ethanol and biodiesel must be blended annually into the country's fuel supply. Most said they understand and accept the need for the mandate, at least until it can be phased out. Santorum and Huckabee in particular passionately defended it. But Pataki expressed vocal opposition to the RFS, as did Cruz, whose answers were met with applause.
Source: Des Moines Register coverage of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Jeb Bush: Let the market decide on RFS' ethanol in gasoline

In his first 2016 visit to Iowa, Jeb Bush sought to delicately explain his desire to see the RFS [Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires corn-based ethanol] disappear over time. "The market's ultimately going to have to decide this," he told the audience at the agriculture summit which took place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Bush acknowledged that the mandate, which passed in 2007, has helped lower dependence on foreign oil and boost corn-heavy economies. "But as we move forward over the long haul, there should be certainty for people to invest," he argued, saying ethanol will no longer need help from the government. "So at some point we'll see a reduction of the RFS need, because ethanol will be such a valuable part of the energy feedstock for our country." He declined, however, to suggest when exactly that may happen.

Bush's frank statements on the RFS indicated that he plans on sticking with his positions, no matter how unpopular they may be to certain audiences.

Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Mike Huckabee: Ethanol mandate is a matter of national security

[On the RFS, the Renewable Fuel Standard which requires corn-based ethanol] Mike Huckabee argued that the ethanol mandate was a matter of national security: "America need to do three things to be free: feed itself, fuel itself, fight for itself," the former Arkansas governor said, adding that relying on foreign governments for energy leads to a weakened United States.

Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, hit back at criticism that politicians like him simply support the RFS for political reasons: "The decisions are made not just frankly for what's best for Iowa--that's not the rationale. You can't make a decision and say, 'It's good for Iowa. Gee, they're the caucus state, we better suck up to them.' We better make decisions that are good for every consumer," he said.

Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Rick Perry: Ethanol waiver in Texas but not in Iowa: let states decide

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry defended his decision to request a waiver that would exempt Texas from the federal mandate for the RFS [the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires corn-based ethanol]. If individual states want to require that ethanol be used in gasoline, that's fine, he said, but not the federal government: "I philosophically don't agree that Washington, D.C. needs to be making these decisions that affect our agriculture industry," Perry said.
Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Rick Santorum: Ethanol mandate brings jobs & energy independence

The RFS [the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires corn-based ethanol] is a major issue that White House hopefuls are forced to address whenever they visit Iowa, the No. 1 corn-producing state.

Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2012, ticked off what he called a "laundry list" of benefits, including more energy independence and more jobs for farmers. "It is very important for rural Americans," said the former senator from Pennsylvania.

Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Scott Walker: Keep ethanol mandate until oil companies allow free market

[On the RFS, the Renewable Fuel Standard which requires corn-based ethanol] Scott Walker made clear that while he's generally a free market guy, he believes ethanol is being blocked from consumers and needs government assistance: "Right now, we don't have a free and open marketplace, and so that's why I'm willing to take that position," he said.

But Walker said that his goal would be to get to a point where ethanol can compete openly and "you no longer need in the industry to have these subsidies."

Ethanol proponents argue that because oil companies own gas stations, consumers are unable to access ethanol and therefore it needs the government's support to break through oil's stronghold of the market.

Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Ted Cruz: Don't pick winners & losers like RFS' ethanol in gasoline

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas flat out opposed the RFS [the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires corn-based ethanol], saying Washington shouldn't be "picking winners and losers."

"I have every bit of faith that businesses can continue to compete and continue to do well without having to go on bended knee asking for subsidies, asking for special favors," he said. "I think that's how we got in this problem to begin win."

Ethanol proponents argue that because oil companies own gas stations, consumers are unable to access ethanol and therefore it needs the government's support to break through oil's stronghold of the market. Cruz acknowledged that his view wouldn't be well-received: "Look, I recognize that this is a gathering of a lot of folks who the answer you'd like me to give is, 'I'm for the RFS, darn it.' That'd be the easy thing to do. But I'll tell ya, people are pretty fed up, I think, with politicians that run around & tell one group one thing, tell another group another thing.

Source: CNN coverage by Ashley Killough, of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Scott Walker: Freeze stewardship program for state lands

When White House hopeful Scott Walker talks to potential voters, he hawks himself as a leader who tells people what he will do and then does it. But the line has a snag. As a candidate for governor, Walker didn't spell out or even mention some of the measures that would become key achievements in office.

During his 2014 race to secure a second term, Walker didn't campaign on some of the most sweeping changes in his current budget proposal: freezing a stewardship program for state lands; borrowing $1.3 billion for transportation; and cutting state universities by $300 million in exchange for unhooking them from many state laws.

For his part, Walker is sticking to his description of himself as a politician who lays out an agenda in advance and then delivers, saying that voters "want leaders who are going to spell out what they're going to do and then have the courage to act on it," Walker said this week.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit Mar 2, 2015

Rod Blum: EPA restrictions on farm dust are overzealous & hyperactive

Farmers and producers are a crucial part of the economy here in Iowa. Today, small family farms across Iowa are at risk due to the overzealous and hyperactive federal government.

Agencies like the EPA and FDA consistently overstep the boundaries of common sense with regulations like the "Waters of the US" (WOTUS) act and restrictions on farm dust. These agencies are making it increasingly difficult for family farms to effectively operate their small businesses.

Source: 2014 Iowa House campaign website, RodBlum.com Nov 4, 2014

Pat Murphy: Enforce current federal environmental standards

Pat understands the connection Iowa's environment has to its economy. In Congress, he'll work to enforce current federal environmental standards and regulations protecting air and water quality, and responsible economic development that measures all costs involved, including public health and global warming considerations. Pat is opposed to the Keystone XL project because it won't create long-term jobs and endangers our largest aquifer, and he supports a moratorium on sand fracking in Northeast Iowa
Source: 2014 Iowa House campaign website, PatMurphyForIowa.com Oct 10, 2014

Doug Butzier: Clean air and water are in the public domain

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "No 'rights' to clean air and water"?

A: I believe that the air and water are in the public domain and if you degrade it in some way, such as pumping toxic gasses into the air, then there ought to be recourse for the public to be compensated.

Source: E-mail interview: 2014 Iowa Senate race with OnTheIssues.org Sep 17, 2014

Joni Ernst: No more Agenda 21: no United Nations eminent domain

Agenda 21, a community planning provision in a decades-old UN treaty, has become an object of conspiracy theories on the right. At a January GOP forum, Ernst warned that Agenda 21 could force Iowa farmers off their land, dictate what cities Iowans must live in, and control how Iowa citizens travel from place to place: "The United Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a US senator, I would say, 'No more. No more Agenda 21.' Community planning--to the effect that it is implementing eminent domain and taking away property rights away from individuals--I don't agree with that. And especially in a place such as Iowa. We don't want to see things like eminent domain come into play," Ernst said in response to a question. "Agenda 21 is taking away our individual liberties, our freedoms as US citizens. So I would adamantly oppose Agenda 21."

When asked last week about her previous remarks, Ernst had changed her tune, saying, "we have a great legislature here, and I think that we will protect Iowans."

Source: Yahoo News on 2014 Iowa Senate race Aug 13, 2014

Terry Branstad: Fight EPA on biofuel rules; protect agricultural sector

The EPA has proposed reducing the level of biofuels outlined in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). If this rule is adopted, it would be a devastating setback to the agriculture sector of the Iowa economy.

The proposed rule comes at a time when our state continues to implement new pioneering policies encouraging growth and innovation in the renewable energy sector. We launched the "Fueling Our Future" program last October, which will bring Iowa to the forefront in the use of E30 fuel. This new program is a reflection of the importance of further advancing the renewable fuels industry, and how the RFS is helping to create important Iowa jobs. The RFS has led to a cleaner environment, opened the markets for Iowa corn and soybeans and reduced our nation's dependence on foreign oil. Thousands of Americans are coming together to support the RFS.

We will be holding a public hearing later this month to give Iowans the opportunity to voice their concerns with the EPA's proposal.

Source: 2014 Iowa State of the State address Jan 14, 2014

Christopher Reed: Eminent Domain is government legally stealing from citizens

Q: What is your position on eminent domain?

A: Eminent Domain is the governments way of legally stealing from citizens. They should not have the right, in the Land of the Free, to take what is not theirs just because they think it may be used to generate more tax revenue by some large corporate outfit from somewhere else. Personal property rights must be protected. Home is where we feel safe and should never feel threatened while at home.

Source: The Iowa Brigade, email questionnaire Apr 2, 2008

Jack Hatch: Supports open-space preservation and more environmental regs

Source: 2002 Iowa Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

George W. Bush: Set standards based on science; and fine violators

Q: Do you think tougher laws are needed to protect our environment? A: I think we ought to have high standards set by agencies that rely upon science, not by what may feel good or what sound good. And I think itís important to give people time to say weíre going to conform to standards and if they donít, I think we ought to fine them.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

John McCain: Preserve and help our National Parks

Q: Do you think tougher laws are needed to protect our environment?
A: Theodore Roosevelt was my hero and is to this day. He was responsible for the National Parks system, the crown jewels of America. They are $6 billion underfunded, theyíre under enormous strain.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Steve Forbes: Focus on science and practicality, not lawyers and fashion

Q: Do you think tougher laws are needed to protect our environment? A: We all want a better quality of life, cleaner air, purer water and the like. The technology is there to do it. Unfortunately, this administrationís been wasting considerable resources on junk science, using resources for unproductive uses. They also go for these fashionable things that have no real proof in science, lasting proof, such as global warming. Take a practical approach. Toxic waste dumps, for example, just get rid of them. Donít let the lawyers get involved. Sixty percent of our money in toxic waste dumps go for lawyers.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

  • The above quotations are from State of Iowa Politicians: Archives.
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2016 Presidential contenders on Environment:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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Page last updated: Dec 11, 2015