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Environment Iowa

Every Day Should Be Earth Day

earth day 1970 According to EarthDay.org, every year on April 22, over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day.  That fact in itself is cause for hope.

But it is tempting to be cynical because we’ve been having Earth Days since 1970.  When Earth Day started, it signified the beginning of a mass environmental consciousness, a wonderful, hopeful new awakening!  You would think something repeated for 44 years would have improved conditions, educated and enlightened people, resulted in positive change, but that hasn’t really happened.  People have become more informed about environmental issues, but things have still gotten worse.

Earth Day should not be like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretaries Day, Boss’s Day, etc.  A day set aside to make us all feel like we’re doing the right thing. Then when the day is over most of us move on and forget about it.  Unlike other (fill-in-the-blank) days, the point of Earth Day is to actually do something, not to merely acknowledge.

Truly, we need more than an annual Earth Day. We should have an Earth Year or an Earth Decade or two where every day is dedicated to repairing and making amends to our abused planet. Perhaps this Earth Day will be the one that marks the environmental tipping point.

For some, like CCI members, every day is Earth Day because they are fighting every day for Iowa’s environment.

So in the spirit of doing something meaningful on Earth Day, the one day every year that we are all designated environmentalists, why not take an action that could help?    There is a fight going on right now for something as basic as clean water.  Let’s try to win this fight.

CCI Action Alert:

Have you taken action for clean water?

We are a few days into our 28-day Clean Water Fight public comment period and we need your help to demand a stronger rule to protect our water.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has been hit with 200 comments. Let’s double that number for Earth Day!

Today, people will be celebrating our planet. What better reason to lift up the need for clean water in our own backyard.

Help us get 200 more comments into the DNR for Earth Day!

Make your voice heard. CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION

Let’s make Earth Day count and let the DNR know we care about our water.

They dump it. You drink it. We won’t rest until they clean it up!

Thank you for being a part of the Clean Water Fight.

___

Earth Day: The History of a Movement

Why We Must Say No To Frac Sand Mining In Iowa

fracking-hell-1Say NO to FRAC SAND MINING

There is a petition to Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors: John Logsdon, Dennis Karlsbroten, Mark Kuhn, Floyd Ashbacher, and Dean Thompson, which says:

“We, the people of Winneshiek County, call for a rights-based ordinance banning industrial frac sand extraction and processing.

NO FRAC SAND MINING.  Period!”

Will you sign this petition? Click here

Thanks!

Frac sand mining and processing cause long-term economic and environmental destruction.

To prevent this imminent danger we must act now to protect the health and integrity of our community.

For more information, please go to: CommunityRightsAlliance.org

Previous BFIA posts about fracking in Iowa

Fracking Industry Mining Iowa’s Sand Bluffs

Allamakee County Just Says No To Fracking…For Now

Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?

No Fracking Way!

Iowa, We Have A Water Problem

“Because of runoff from our farms, we have more than 600 polluted rivers, lakes and streams, causing a nitrate surge in our drinking water.”  Find out more here:  citizensforahealthyiowa.org/

 

The Courtney Report

Courtney Report

10 WAYS IOWA GOT SAFER IN 2013

Iowa is a pretty safe place. We rank among the 10 most peaceful states in America in the 2012 U.S. Peace Index report, which looks at homicide, violent crime, policing and prison rates.

We also fare well when it comes to accidents. According to the Trust for America’s Health, Iowa has the 12th lowest rate of injury deaths. Our state ranks high because we meet many recommended safety standards that keep us healthy and save lives. These include tracking the causes of injuries, prescription drug monitoring to prevent overdoses, required seat belt use and increased attention to head injuries in youth sports.

We further improved Iowa’s reputation for safety this year by:

1. Requiring criminal background checks of health care employees to prevent abuse and fraud (SF 347).

2. Requiring repeat OWI offenders to install an ignition interlock device before they can get a temporary restricted license to drive to work and substance abuse treatment (SF 386).

3. Ensuring teens get supervised driving practice in all seasons and face fewer distractions by strengthening Iowa’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing (SF 115).

4. Requiring more criminals to submit DNA samples. Research shows those who commit property crimes have a high chance of reoffending, with crimes and violence often escalating (HF 527).

5. Providing effective response to emergencies through necessary 911 funding (HF 644).

6. Ensuring children are brought up in safe homes and get the care they need (HF 590, SF 446).

7. Protecting victims by providing more tools to law enforcement (HF 496) and helping those who’ve experienced domestic violence and sexual assault to get the services they need (SF 447).

8. Toughening Iowa laws to better ensure law enforcement can prosecute and put away sex offenders (SF298).

9. Preventing recidivism through corrections education, which helps offenders acquire the skills to become productive members of their communities once they are out of prisons (SF 447).

10. Allowing Iowans to add medical information to their electronic driving record, making it immediately available to health care providers in emergencies (SF 386).

ENSURING ACCESS TO JUSTICE
In addition to protecting our physical well being, safe communities also provide justice for citizens.

The Legislature worked this year to ensure Iowans get that access to justice by providing the funding our courts need to offer full-time services, particularly through clerk of court offices and juvenile courts (SF 442).

Clerks help thousands of Iowans every day but because of staff shortages, their offices had been closed part time since the fall of 2009, making it difficult for Iowans to take care of court-related business. Clerks of court manage all court records; notify government agencies of court orders; and process fines, fees, court costs, child support, civil judgments and speeding tickets.

Nearly all court cases in Iowa begin with a filing with a clerk of court. Citizens shouldn’t find a closed sign on the door when they show up to apply for a protective order, access legal documents or pay a bill. That’s why the Legislature approved enough funding this year for the state’s 100 clerk of court offices to be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We also made sure Iowa courts have the resources to help Iowa’s troubled youth and their families. Juvenile court officers are key to this process. They work with judges to identify the underlying problems a child may be experiencing. Hiring more juvenile court officers will help the courts meet face-to-face with all young offenders and ensure their needs are met.

This year’s court funding will continue Iowa’s tradition as one of the most responsive and respected court systems in the nation.

VOLUNTEERS HELP VULNERABLE KIDS
Thousands of children are in the Iowa court system because of family abuse and neglect. I’ve voted to help to help protect these vulnerable kids by investing in Iowa’s statewide Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program (HF 603).

The CASA program recruits, trains and supports community volunteers to serve as an effective voice in court for abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers make sure the children they work with are in safe, nurturing places. CASAs also ensure that an abused or neglected child is not further victimized by the system devised to protect the child.

While social workers, judges, and attorneys handle dozens of cases at a time, the independent CASA volunteers typically have just one. This allows them to promote the child’s best interests through investigation, assessment and advocacy. They communicate with family, attorneys, social workers, foster parents, therapists, teachers and doctors. The volunteers attend court hearings and placement and family meetings.

The CASA program has proven its effectiveness, and CASA volunteers now serve children in all 99 Iowa counties. Studies show that children in foster care who have a CASA assigned to them receive more help and are more likely to find a permanent home.

To learn how you can help a child in need as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, visit http://childadvocacy.iowa.gov.

PREVENTING ELDER ABUSE
The Iowa Department on Aging tells us that older Iowans are increasingly falling prey to elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Nationally, 1 in 13 seniors report abuse, and it is estimated that 80 percent of elder abuse cases go unreported.

This fall, a special legislative committee will collect ideas to improve Iowa’s efforts to prevent this abuse. The Elder Abuse Prevention and Intervention Study Committee will examine data, look at what is working in other states, hear from experts and offer recommendations to be considered during the 2014 session of the Legislature.

Elder abuse appears in many different forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, undue influence, sexual exploitation, financial exploitation and denial of critical care. We all have a role to play when it comes to ensuring older Iowans are safe and able to enjoy the best possible quality of life.

How can you help?

• Keep in regular contact with older friends and family.

• Listen to seniors and their caregivers.

• Take action when you suspect elder abuse. In Iowa, you should call 800-362-2178 if you suspect a senior you know is at risk of being abused.

The Iowa Department on Aging is hosting a two-part Webinar series on Elder Rights & Protection. These free online seminars take place from 10-11:30 a.m. on October 22 and November 19. The sessions will provide an overview of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation; how and why it occurs; warning signs and risk factors; barriers to addressing elder abuse; and available resources. Register and learn more at www.iowaaging.gov/elder- abuse-neglect-and-exploitation.

NEWS YOU CAN USE
Phone assistance for low-income Iowans Telephone service is vital in emergencies and essential for staying connected to family, employment and community resources. Low-income Iowans may qualify for help with their phone bill though federal Lifeline telephone assistance. Eligible Iowans must have an income at or below 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines or be eligible for other federal public assistance. Those who apply and qualify will receive a $9.25 monthly telephone bill credit. For complete details and an application, go here

Communities can apply for Great Places designation

Through October 1, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is accepting Letters of Intent from Iowa communities interested in seeking designation as an Iowa Great Place and funding for related projects. This year, the Legislature approved $1 million so that state and local groups can work together to cultivate the unique and authentic qualities of Iowa neighborhoods, districts, communities and regions.

Since 2005, Iowa Great Places has helped make our state an ever-better place to live and work. The return on investment has been significant, as reported in the 2010 Economic Impact Report, and Great Places projects have resulted thousands of construction jobs and permanent jobs. For more information and to apply, go to www.iowagreatplaces.gov.

Grants available to rural fire departments

Through October 15, the Forestry Bureau of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is accepting grant applications from rural fire departments to help pay for equipment to battle wildfires. The grants can be used for wildfire suppression equipment, slide in units, hoses, nozzles, adapters, portable tanks and pumps, personal protective equipment and communications equipment. The Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Application package and other resources are available at www.iowadnr.gov/fire.

Contact Tom
CAPITOL:
Iowa Statehouse
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-3371

HOME:
2609 Clearview Drive
Burlington, IA 52601
319-759-5334

tom.courtney@legis.iowa.gov

www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/courtney

Meanwhile Back In Iowa… Manure-Laden Water!

fish killDNR Investigates Fish Kill in Lyon County

iowadnr.gov/home/

DOON – On Labor Day, the Iowa DNR investigated a fish kill on the Little Rock River east of Doon in Lyon County.

A concerned citizen reported the fish kill to DNR Monday morning. When environmental specialists arrived at the river, they found high levels of ammonia, odor and color indicating manure-laden water killed the fish.

They traced the runoff to two open feedlots north and east of Doon belonging to Jim Koedam and Marvin VanMaanen. Both producers raise beef cattle.

The area received about two inches of rain Saturday night. The preliminary investigation indicates manure-laden runoff ran overland and then into draws that flow to the river.

DNR staff found dead fish along a two-mile section of stream starting about 1.5 miles north of the Highway 75 bridge. The dead fish included many smallmouth bass and channel catfish, along with carp, suckers, largemouth bass, gar, chubs and minnows.

DNR fisheries specialists are on site Tuesday conducting a fish count. The DNR will continue to monitor the clean up and consider appropriate enforcement action.

Prompt reporting of the fish kill allowed the DNR to trace the source of pollution and stop it quickly. It’s important to report fish kills and spills to the state’s 24-hour spill line at 515-281-8694 as quickly as possible.

And how about this lovely incident of “improper manure release” in Steve King’s District last Thursday:

INWOOD, Iowa | An improper release of thousands of gallons of manure Thursday into an unnamed tributary of the Rock River has led to high levels of ammonia in the water.

An Iowa Department of Natural Resources news release said the manure came from a solids settling basin at a 4,000-head open cattle lot owned by John Fluit Jr.

Fluit improperly unloaded 12 loads of manure, ranging from 2,500 to 4,000 gallons, onto a cornfield. From the cornfield the manure ran into a creek, where it was carried about a mile down to a neighbor’s pond. The manure then flowed out the pond’s outlet and back into the creek, the release said.

click here to read the entire story:/siouxcityjournal.com/iowa-dnr-monitoring-stream-after-improper-manure-release

Preventing Floods, Saving Tax Dollars

Loebsack header

This spring, Iowa again saw rising rivers and streams across the State due to record levels of rainfall. As Iowans, the threat of flooding never seems far away, and it’s only getting worse. Each time waters begin to rise, thoughts of 2008 and the devastation that families and communities suffered quickly returns. This year the rising waters once again sent communities scrambling to prepare for the worst and thousands of acres of farmland sat underwater, unable to be planted. The rising waters also sent another check from the federal government to help cover the necessary disaster costs of preparing and recovery. We can do better.

In Iowa, folks like those at the Iowa Flood Center and the University of Iowa are doing work that is helping Iowa communities prepare better and smarter for flooding. This success is already at work saving our communities money, time, and resources. The entire country should follow Iowa’s lead in planning better and smarter for flooding in order to help families and communities, and achieve significant, long-term savings to the federal government. This is why last week I introduced the National Flood Research and Education Center Act (NFERC). This bill would create a National Flood Center to study ways to better predict and prevent flooding, and provide valuable information to the public.

Flooding is costing taxpayers billions of dollars a year for preparation and recovery. The prediction and prevention tools from a National Flood Center would help prevent damage and allow our communities to better allocate resources such as sand bags, machinery, volunteers, and temporary flood walls. Every year flooding costs taxpayers, and the new technologies and methods already being put to use in Iowa could save our country untold millions.

As Iowans, we have experienced the devastation that flooding can bring. I believe through a National Flood Center we can help prevent similar devastation across the country and in Iowa. We don’t need to wait for the next devastation to act. No time is better than now to get a National Flood Center into action to save lives and resources, and achieve significant long-term savings. I look forward to chatting more about my bill with you in Iowa soon.

Sincerely,

Dave Loebsack
Iowa’s Second District

Rummage In The Ramp

Rummage_in_Ramp_logo-2013Once again Iowa City will hold what is one of the more interesting events in their calendar year. Yep, the Rummage in the Ramp. This is a great way of recycling very useful items that may otherwise end up in the landfill. We have gotten many useful items there over the years.

The Rummage begins on July 26th at the Chauncey Swann parking lot under the College Street bridge. What is really neat is that there is new stuff every day, so a person must make multiple trips to or maybe miss the item they were looking for. Printers, couches, dining sets, who knows what may be there? Certainly worth a trip.

Here is the blurb for the Rummage from Iowa City’s web page:

When and where is Rummage in the Ramp held?

The event is always held the last week in July through the first few days in August to coincide with the apartment lease changeovers. The event takes place in the bottom level of the Chauncey Swan parking ramp, directly under the College Street bridge.

Date’s for this year’s Rummage in the Ramp will be Friday, July 26 at noon until Saturday, Aug. 3 at 4 p.m.

DONATIONS AND SALES will occur simultaneously during these times:
Friday, July 26 – Noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28 – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday, July 29 to Friday, Aug. 2 – Noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 3 (LAST DAY) – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On the last day, EVERYTHING GOES! Beginning at noon, we’ll implement a “Name Your Price” sales strategy. Come on down, see what’s left, and tell us what you’ll give for it!

How does it work?
Rather than throwing things away, students, tenants and other citizens are encouraged to donate their no-longer-needed items to Rummage in the Ramp, a giant garage sale sponsored by the City of Iowa City. The donated items are then offered for sale to incoming students, low-income families, and any other residents who are looking for great bargains on items for their home. The event is nine days long and is staffed by local environmental and human services nonprofit groups. These groups then split the profits from the sale to help fund their work in the community.

Donations
Volunteers will be on hand to visually inspect and help unload your donation. Items beyond reuse will not be accepted. Donated items are tax-deductible — please ask for a receipt! We’ll accept the following items for donation and resale:
Usable furniture
Beds, frames and box springs
Household and kitchen items
Books
Small appliances (must be clean and in working order)
Non-perishable food for the Crisis Center’s
Clean clothes
Electronics and small appliances (TVs, microwaves, computers, monitors, printers, etc.) Please note that a $5 recycling fee will be charged PER electronic item in case we cannot sell it. This includes televisions, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, computers, monitors, printers, etc.

Not accepted: non-working, broken, badly torn or stained items; water beds

So the Rummage is not just for discarded college student things. If you have some unwanted items in house, this could be a great way to recycle.

Lastly, the city will pick up items from your house for a fee:

Pickups
Need help getting your donations to Rummage in the Ramp? We can help! Beginning on Wednesday, July 17, follow the link below to schedule a pickup time.Times will be limited, so sign up early! Please donate only items that can be reused. Pickups are limited to homes within Iowa City city limits. The pickup fee is $10; additional recycling fees will apply for electronics.

In addition to cash at the time of pickup, pre-payment is now accepted using a credit card. You must be present at the scheduled pickup time. To pre-pay, please schedule a pickup using the link below, and then call Jennifer Jordan, Iowa City Recycling Coordinator, at 319-887-6160 to make your payment via a credit card over the phone.

So, there is a good chance I will be there several times. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Is Your Community About To Be Corporate Factory-Farmed? Find Out About “Rights-Based” Organizing

Factory farms poisoning IowaIf your community is going to be “hydro-fracked, factory-farmed, used as a dumping ground for sewage sludge, drilled for corporate water withdrawals, used as a laboratory for genetically modified seeds; used for a transmission line, pipeline, or other energy project or any of a thousand other corporate projects your community doesn’t want” then you need to see this Community and Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) primer on “rights-based” organizing.  Communities are using “rights-based” organizing and creating networks to protect themselves from corporate exploitation.  Explained here is what  you need to know and where to start.  Click here to watch the video at CELDF.

 

 

 

Attend Environmental Lobby Day 2013 At The Iowa Statehouse

iowa capitoliaenvironment.org/

The Iowa Environmental Council cordially invites members and supporters to our 2013 Environmental Lobby Day at the statehouse.

This year’s event will be especially memorable because members of the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Alliance and the Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWLL) Coalition are also planning to turn out in large numbers to support clean water and a healthy Iowa Environment.  (The Council is a member of both groups.)

WHERE:  First floor rotunda, Iowa State Capitol building, Des Moines
WHEN:  Tuesday, February 26, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (We’re planning a short press conference for mid-morning; the exact time will be announced soon.)

Commit to attend Lobby Day in person and we’ll send you updates about the event by e-mail!

**Click here to commit to attend 2013 Environmental Lobby Day!**

Environmental Lobby Day is your chance to join with a broad coalition of Iowans to talk with your elected representatives in person about why protecting Iowa’s air, water, and land really matters.  We encourage all friends of Iowa’s environment to join us in person for this event.

You are welcome to drop in any time throughout the day, but we will hold a short press conference at 11:00 a.m. that we encourage you to attend.

Agenda:

Supporters of clean water are encouraged to wear blue for this event.

8:00 a.m. Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy will hold a briefing on the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund in the Wallace Building Auditorium.

Following that, supporters will walk across Grand Avenue to the statehouse to meet with legislators.  Iowa Environmental Council member and partner organizations will have table displays in the Rotunda.

11:00 a.m. The Iowa Environmental Council will hold a brief press conference highlighting our key legislative priorities.

Never lobbied before?  No problem.  Iowa Environmental Council staff will be on hand throughout the day to support you, and you’ll be able to pick up a handy guide to the Council’s legislative priorities to help you decide what you’d like to talk about.  It also never hurts to bring a friend to join you as you chat with legislators.

Can’t travel to Des Moines?  This is the perfect time to join our Action Alert Network.  On February 26, we’ll e-mail you a link to contact your legislators via e-mail.  It’s a great way to participate from wherever you live.  And as an Action Alert Volunteer, you’ll be ready to speak out to decision-makers on a variety of environmental issues right when it matters most.

 

 

Allamakee County Just Says No To Fracking…For Now

fracking-hell-1www.kwwl.com/stor/allamakee-county-passes-frack-mining-moratorium

ALLAMAKEE COUNTY

There will be no frac sand mining in Allamakee County.

The county passed an 18-month moratorium Monday morning.

Frac sand is becoming a hot commodity because it’s being widely used in a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to extract natural gas in other parts of the country.

In Allamakee County, a mining company wanted to set up shop on a farm about five miles south of New Albin.

Some people in the area are concerned about potential health problems, property values, local tourism and more.

Read the moratorium below. Here is the link:  http://www.allamakeecountyprotectors.com/moratorium-document

Allamakee County Moratorium – 18 months
ALLAMAKEE COUNTY ORDINANCE NO. _________________

AN ORDINANCE IMPOSING A TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON THE SUBMISSION, ACCEPTANCE, PROCESSING, AND APPROVAL OF ANY APPLICATION FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT OR SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR NEW FRAC SAND EXTRACTION PITS, OR FOR THE WASHING, REFINING, PROCESSING, STORING, OR STOCKPILING OF FRAC SAND;  DIRECTING THE PROMPT INVESTIGATION OF THE COUNTY’S REGULATORY AUTHORITY OVER FRAC SAND EXTRACTION PITS AND FRAC SAND PROCESSING OPERATIONS; AND DECLARING THE INTENTION OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER THE ADOPTION OF APPROPRIATE ZONING REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO FRAC SAND EXTRACTION PITS AND FRAC SAND PROCESSING OPERATIONS.

PREAMBLE AND FINDINGS

WHEREAS, new technologies for mining petroleum and natural gas deposits have resulted in a rapid growth in demand for specialized sand used in hydraulic fracturing (“frac sand”) which can be obtained by mining in the St. Peter and Jordan sandstone layers where they lie near the surface in Allamakee County.  Frac sand mining in nearby counties, including those located in Minnesota and Wisconsin, has been attended by problems and concerns affecting the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of those areas.  The new demand for frac sand mining operations has the potential to cause similar problems in Allamakee County unless potential problems and concerns are proactively addressed by the County; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that Allamakee County will inevitably be subjected to similar pressure to open new extraction pits for the mining of frac sand, but that the Allamakee County Comprehensive Plan does not adequately address mining, transportation, processing, storage, and stockpiling of frac sand, and a number of attendant concerns; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that St. Peter and Jordan Sandstone exposures can be found in the valley of the Upper Iowa River and other valleys throughout the County, and that St. Peter and Jordan formations can be found underlying many hills and bluff-tops associated with such valleys; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that Allamakee County’s valleys, hills and bluff-tops are a valuable scenic resource important to the welfare of the County and important to its tourism industry.  The Boards finds that rapid development of sandstone mining with inadequate controls over the location and size of the mining operations, and with inadequate guarantee for post-mining restoration, threatens to permanently impoverish the Allamakee landscape; and

WHEREAS, the Board further finds the opening of new frac sand mining operations in Allamakee County, under the current zoning regulations, could decrease the values of nearby properties; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that frac sand mining and processing may generate heavy truck traffic, which in turn may cause rapid deterioration of County roads and bridges, causing a burden on Allamakee County taxpayers, and may generate dust and noise which may be deemed nuisances and pose potential health and safety threats; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that heavy truck traffic between frac sand mining sites and frac sand storage, processing and shipping points may expose neighboring landowners and the traveling public to increased risk of accident where the roads are not designed for heavy truck traffic, lack needed turn lanes, and where dust generated by trucks on gravel roads may interfere with vision; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that concerns have been raised about the potential health risks of silica dust generated by the mining, transportation, processing, and storage of frac sand which should be studied and addressed prior to the issuance of new permits allowing frac sand mining in Allamakee County; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that the St. Peter and Jordan sandstone formations are aquifers providing drinking water to residents of Allamakee County, that protection of the quality of those aquifers is of crucial importance to the County, and that the potential impact of frac sand mining and processing on the integrity of those aquifers requires study; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that frac sand mining operations may threaten sites of archaeological significance, including but not limited to Indian burial grounds on bluffs adjoining river valleys; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that a temporary emergency exists as a result of the potential problems posed by this new land use issue; and

WHEREAS, the Board finds that a moratorium on the consideration and issuance of conditional use permits for new frac sand extraction permits and frac sand processing operations until July 1, 2014 would preserve the status quo for a reasonable time while the County studies these potential problems and adopts any appropriate amendments to the Allamakee County Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The imposition of a temporary moratorium on new frac sand development while the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance are amended will help to accomplish the purpose of the expected new zoning regulations by giving them the broadest possible applicability and preventing interim development that is inconsistent with the new regulations.

WHEREAS, proprietors of existing extraction pits for the production of limestone and dolomite and for the production of deposits of construction sand will not be prejudiced by the imposition of a moratorium concerning frac sand.
THEREFORE, THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF ALLAMAKEE COUNTY, IOWA, ORDAINS:

1.)  Definitions:  The following definitions shall apply for purposes of this ordinance:

a.)  “Industrial sand” or “frac sand” shall mean high purity silica sand which, when processed, is suitable for use as a proppant in the enhancement of oil and gas wells by means of injection fracturing.  All sand mined from the St. Peter and Jordan sandstone formations shall be included within this definition.

b.)  “Construction sand” shall mean sand that is predominantly produced and used for local construction purposes, such as asphalt or concrete.  All existing sand pits containing alluvial sand shall be included within this definition.

2.) Imposition of Temporary Moratorium on Applications for Permits and
Licenses Related to Frac Sand Related Extraction Pits.

Upon the adoption of this Ordinance, a temporary moratorium ending July 1, 2014 is imposed upon the consideration or approval of all applications for conditional use permits required by Section 302.6 and 305.1 of the Zoning Ordinance for (1) new extraction pits for frac sand or materials overlying frac sand; and (2) new conditional use permits for the washing, refining, processing, storing, or stockpiling of frac sand. This moratorium also temporarily prohibits new conditional use permits or site plan approvals required by Section 302.5 of the Zoning Ordinance for removal of frac sand or materials overlying frac sand from the Bluffland Impact Zone or the Bluffland Protection District. During the moratorium period, the Allamakee County Zoning Administrator, Allamakee County Board of Adjustment, and Allamakee County Planning and Zoning Commission are directed to refuse to accept for filing, and/or review, any applications for conditional use permits or site plan approvals for:

new extraction pits containing frac sand, and
sites or facilities designed for the washing, refining, processing, storing, or stockpiling of frac sand.

The burden of proving that the above applications do not involve frac sand production or processing shall fall upon the applicant for any such permits or approvals.

3.) Study and Adoption of Proposed Amendments and Regulations. Before the expiration of the moratorium imposed by this Ordinance, the Allamakee County Zoning Administrator and Allamakee County Planning and Zoning Commission, working with the Allamakee County Attorney, shall investigate, hold hearings, and prepare appropriate recommendations for amendments to the Allamakee County Comprehensive Plan to address issues related to frac sand mining and processing.

4.)  The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors finds, determines, and declares that passage of this Moratorium Ordinance is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety in order to prevent the consideration of applications and issuance of conditional use permits for frac sand mining operations before Allamakee County has had a reasonable opportunity to study frac sand issues and to amend its comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance. Failure to immediately impose the moratorium provided for in this Ordinance will potentially allow such applicants to obtain permits and acquire certain rights with respect to frac sand mines before Allamakee County has had a reasonable opportunity to consider appropriate amendments thereto. The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors further determines that the adoption of this Ordinance is in the best interest of the citizens of Allamakee County.

5.) The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors hereby finds, determines and declares that it has the power to adopt this Ordinance pursuant to: Iowa Code Chapter 331, Section 501.1 of the Allamakee County Zoning Ordinance, and pursuant to the authority found in the Iowa Supreme Court case of Geisler v. City Council Cedar Falls, 769 N.W.2d 162 (Iowa 2009) .

6.)  The opening of a new extraction pit for the extraction of frac sand, or the opening of a new facility for the processing or stockpiling of frac sand begun in violation of this Moratorium shall be deemed a violation of the Allamakee County Zoning Ordinance and shall be punishable under the provisions described in Chapter 6 of that ordinance. As provided in Section 601 of the Allamakee Zoning Ordinance, each day of such continued violation shall constitute a separate offense.

8.  Repealer.  All Ordinances or parts of Ordinances in conflict with this Zoning Ordinance Amendment or inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance Amendment, are hereby temporarily repealed to the time and extent necessary to give this temporary Moratorium Ordinance full force and effect.

9.  Effective date.  This Ordinance shall become effective immediately after its final passage, approval, and publication by law, and shall remain in effect until July 1, 2014, unless repealed prior to that date.

PASSED BY THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ON THE _________ day of ___________, 2013.

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Larry Shellhammer,        Chairperson, Allamakee County Board of Supervisors