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Mindfully Green in 2009 and Beyond

Happy New Year progressive family!

I wanted to share with you all the details of the upcoming Inaugural Ball here in the Quad Cities at the Davenport River Center on January 20th… but that will have to be the subject of my next post as I am deeply moved to share this excerpt with all of you from Stephanie Kaza's new book, “Mindfully Green: A Personal & Spiritual Guide to Whole Earth Thinking.”  Great “food for thought” to live by in 2009 and beyond!

Peace and Love,

Caroline Vernon

Mindfully Green: A Personal and Spiritual Guide to Whole Earth Thinking


by Stephanie Kaza
Posted by: DailyOM
at www.dailyom.com

With all the attention on living sustainably, the one thing missing from the conversation is how to find a personal connection with green living that will sustain us on our green path. While practical approaches to an eco-responsible lifestyle offer important first steps, it is critical that we ground these actions in broader understanding so that we can effect real change in the world.

In this book, Stephanie Kaza describes what she calls the “green practice path.” She offers a simple, Buddhist-inspired philosophy for taking up environmental action in real, practical, and effective ways. Discover new ways to think more deeply about your impact on the natural world, engage in environmental change, and make green living a personal practice based in compassion and true conviction.

Excerpt:

Chapter One: Reducing Harm
To get our bearings on the path, it is helpful to have some compass points for orientation. The first three chapters of this book consider principles that provide an ethical foundation and a pragmatic direction for the green path. Foremost of these is the commitment to reduce harm wherever possible.We begin by looking at the nature of environmental harm and exploring choices to reduce that harm. Offering kindness becomes a core practice of non-harming, a way to be with the suffering of the natural world, hard as this may seem. To gain a wisdom perspective on harm and suffering, the third chapter takes up the deep view based on interdependence. With ethical principles and systems thinking to guide us, we can have a certain measure of confidence in setting out on the path.

Reducing Harm

The Dalai Lama often opens his speeches by saying, “Everyone wants to be happy. No one wants to be unhappy.” Stemming from this statement is much of the world’s moral and religious philosophy. Another way to put this is, “Everyone wants to be unharmed. No one wants to be harmed.” All beings, from baby grasshoppers to giant redwood trees and people the world over, would prefer to be safe, to be free from harm, injury, violence, and suffering, to be allowed to live their lives in peace. Nobody really wants to be hurt, abused, or threatened in any way.

The Christian principle of reducing harm is contained in the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In 1993 the Parliament of the World’s Religions proclaimed this moral code of reciprocity or mutual respect to be the common basis for a global human ethic. For Hindus, this is expressed as the practice of ahimsa, or non-harming—that is, taking up the path of not causing harm. In Buddhism, monks and laypeople take vows to “save all sentient beings from suffering.” Reducing harm through mutual respect is a central ethical principle in all religious and ethical traditions because it is fundamental to keeping human societies functional and not self-destructive. It is difficult for people and their support systems to thrive if everyone is hurting each other all the time.

This same logic can be extended to human relations with ecological systems. It is difficult for ecosystems to thrive and for people to thrive in them if plants and animals, groundwater, streams, mountains, oceans, and air are constantly under assault. Damaged support systems don’t work as effectively as healthy systems. They are less resilient, less capable, and less functional overall. Human beings trying to live in damaged or ailing ecosystems don’t do well either. They pick up waterborne disease from polluted streams. They struggle with asthma from poor air quality. They are vulnerable to extreme weather events from climate change.

So what does it mean to reduce harm? How can such a principle work when applied in a practical situation? How would one use such a guideline to be a good ecological citizen? As you would imagine, most environmental questions do not have simple answers. We don’t always know when harm is being done, and even when we can see there is harm, we don’t always know what the cause is. And further, there may be many reasons why it is difficult to reduce the harm that is happening. Choosing the ethical path of reducing harm turns out to be a complex and demanding practice. But that should not discourage us. Many wisdom traditions have prepared the way for this practice, and we can work with well-proven methods to help us along the path.

Degrees of Harm

In any given situation, people try to work out a way to get what they need without causing too many repercussions. We are constantly evaluating trade-offs and potential risks to minimize harm to ourselves as well as others with whom we have ongoing relations.We learn to do this in our family settings as we cope with household stress while keeping our safety intact. We maintain polite protocols to be good neighbors even if we disagree on politics. This balancing act reflects our evolutionary development as social animals; there are many good sociobiological reasons for being well-practiced at evaluating the potential for harm. Those who do this well assure both their own well-being and the well-being of their kin. Since this process of discrimination is already well developed, we can use it to help us on the green practice path. In order to reduce environmental harm, we must be able to identify it and then evaluate our own contribution to that harm.

Everyone has to eat, so this is a good place to practice looking for environmental harm and checking our participation in that harm. By “practice,” I mean engaging the questions around harming for a period of time and asking them over and over in different contexts. It is a form of discipline, remembering that this is what you are trying to do, bringing your attention back to the questions with a fresh mind again and again. Practicing with food presents an opportunity for mindfulness because so much of our time is spent in obtaining, preparing, and consuming food. When we stop to consider how much harm is involved in growing or making our food, we can make more informed choices about what we eat and what degrees of harm we will embrace.

Let’s explore several ways of evaluating degrees of harm in food. Looking at the broad picture, we can measure the various environmental impacts generated by the growing and processing the major food groups. Fortunately for us, the Union of Concerned Scientists has already done this research, laying down reliable benchmarks based on scientific analysis. These are outlined in their book The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices.

The authors considered 120 types of environmental impacts and then consolidated this list to six primary concerns: air and water pollution, land use, solid and hazardous waste, and climate change. They then examined U.S. national data for producing all of our food sources—fruits, vegetables, grains, meat. They were able to show which impacts were associated with each type of food production. Their study indicates that meat production is the leading cause of agricultural water pollution. This is because cows and hogs are fattened for slaughter in large feedlots and their manure runs off into the groundwater, polluting nearby streams and lakes. Production of grains and vegetables takes its toll on soil health and habitat biodiversity. So we can use factual data to measure the types and degrees of harming—in the arena of food production and other areas as well.

Another way to evaluate harm is to examine the impacts on individual plants and animals that we choose to consume. Many people are concerned about the treatment of animals in the industrial food system, which causes distress and suffering for the animals. Classic philosophical arguments for vegetarianism point out that animals have awareness and intelligence, that they experience physical and emotional suffering as we do.The infliction of cruelty and suffering—such as clipping hogs’ tails, cutting chicks’ beaks, or branding the hides of cattle—are standard operations in domestic meat production.

Animals experience further anxiety and stress from being crowded in small cages or packed into trucks for long-distance transport. Calves and piglets are often traumatically separated from their mothers before weaning. If you eat meat, you can evaluate which of these types of harming is acceptable to you. If you want to reduce harm to the soil and groundwater as well as to individual animals, you can reduce the amount of meat you eat. The Union of Concerned Scientists strongly recommends cutting back on meat consumption to directly reduce both animal suffering and environmental degradation.

Evaluating harm to plants is more difficult because we don’t understand how plants experience harm. We know that poor soil, lack of water, and over harvesting can leave plants weak and nutrient deficient. But do plants suffer in the same way if their evolutionary integrity is altered through genetic engineering? Does mono-cropping harm plants or soils or both? With the rise of the organic farming movement, green consumers looking to reduce harm choose organic over conventional produce options. They reason that organic plants have been better nourished by the soil and perhaps also more lovingly cared for by the farmer, at least in small-scale operations. Workers on industrial-scale organic farms, however, may not hold such intimate relations with their crops.

Another way to evaluate degree of harm is in terms of the eater, rather than the eaten. Meat-intensive diets have been correlated with high rates of human heart disease and cancers of the digestive tract. Some vegetarians have turned away from meat to protect their health and avoid meat-associated medical risks. Studies now show that hormones used in beef production can affect human reproductive development, causing early puberty and male infertility. The heavy use of antibiotics in conventional meat and dairy operations is a human health concern as well, undercutting the effectiveness of these valuable drugs in treating human infection. Reducing harm to ourselves is a viable and important aspect of reducing environmental impact, reflecting the recognition that we too are part of the environment that is under siege.

We can also consider degrees of harm relative to spiritual well-being. In many world and indigenous religious traditions, abstaining from meat is a common practice in cultural ceremonies or as training in self-discipline. Practicing restraint requires constant vigilance and the tempering of deeply conditioned appetites. Buddhists and Hindus emphasize the merit gained from cumulative acts of compassion in relation to animals. They further believe that a meat-free diet generates a calmer mind, more disposed toward equanimity and patience and therefore less likely to harm others.

In the last few years a new criterion has arisen for evaluating harm: the distance a food has traveled from production to market. The harm, in this case, is to our climate, since long shipping distances contribute significantly to the carbon emissions impact of food products. Farmers’ markets across the nation have been promoting “locavore” campaigns, challenging people to eat 10 or 20 percent of their diet from local foods only. Authors Barbara Kingsolver and Gary Nabhan have taken on the experiment of eating 100 percent locally in their Midwest and desert regions, inspiring others with their stories. In this measure, degree of harm reflects the number of food miles associated with a specific food. We can choose to reduce our diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by eating locally and cutting down on food miles.

PCCI Dinner in August!

PCCI Dinner in August!


By PCCI

PCCI Dinner Banquet – 6:00 p.m., October 13, 2008
Drake University, Des Moines with special guest speaker and peace activist

TOM HAYDEN

The dinner will be catered banquet style. Tickets required.

Tom Hayden made his reputation originally as a Vietnam War protestor and was also known for his marriage to peace activist Jane Fonda.  Tom continues to be on the front lines today in the struggle for peace and justice.  He is often quoted in the media and makes nationwide appearances as a public speaker.  Currently living in Los Angeles he is the  author of several published books including:

The Other Side (1966, with Staughton Lynd), The Love of Possession Is a Disease With Them (1972), Ending the War in Iraq (2007) and Writings for a Democratic Society: The Tom Hayden Reader (2008).

Further details and ticket prices will be announced soon.

PLEASE SAVE THIS DATE and kindly post to your list serves.
THANK YOU.

This event  is sponsored by the Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa (PCCI). Co-sponsorships are invited.  Co-sponsorship consists of being represented at this function and publicizing the event to your membership.  Your organization's name will be included in the printed program.  To co-sponsor reply to this or a following email announcement.

We Must TAKE Our Country Back!

We Must TAKE Our Country Back!


By Caroline Vernon

Whether it’s health care,
the cost of education, our environment or global trade, Corporate America is holding
us all hostage to the almighty dollar. Greed continues to trump need as corporations
make record profits while more and more Americans fall into poverty every year.
Congress allows industry to write policy, and legislators don’t even read the
bills they enact. The average person would lose their job for gross negligence.
The pharmaceutical/insurance lobbies make billions on the grief of others, systematically
denying people essential treatment or drugs in order to save a buck. Half of
our taxpayer money goes to the Pentagon who “loses” over a trillion dollars and
“it’s nothing but a thing” yet we
have to beg to fund health care for our children. Agri-Business dominates at the
expense of our environment and health as 85% of our food is now genetically
modified, our meat is ridden with hormones and antibiotics, and pesticides have
permeated the water table. Global trade agreements allow corporations to
exploit for profit with no safeguards in place for workers or the environment.

It is our moral imperative
to stand up and say no more! John Edwards seems to be the only candidate that
understands that we have to make an aggressive push to take our country back
the key word being “take”. While it is important to be able to bring everyone
to the table, we can’t continue to allow Corporate America to eat all the food.

Which comes down to,
follow the money…

Edwards and Obama are my
two top picks but there are some important distinctions to be made here. I think
Obama is awesome and I will support him whole
heartedly if he gets the Democratic nod, but as an activist, and more
importantly as a mother and your sister, there is way too much at stake in this election, not
only for our country but for the planet. Corporate America
will never give up their stranglehold on America or the rest of the world so
we must TAKE IT from them! There is no negotiating a moral standard… and frankly, that’s
what this election is about.

There are two main issues
that concern me about Obama; the fact that he voted for the Peru Trade
agreement (more of the same of what ails us), and more egregiously, the fact that he is promoting nuclear energy. Coincidentally,
Obama has accepted a lot of money from Exelon Nuclear and only stopped taking
corporate monies this past year once he decided to run for President. I commend
him for that recent decision but I am horrified that he is promoting  nuclear power.

The current energy bill before Congress may have 10 billion dollars allocated
toward renewable energy, and that rocks, but if you look at the whole pie, it’s
too little too late! 25 billion is allocated for guaranteed loans to build new
nuclear sites and billions more for coal fired plants. I mean, this is what I
am talking about people… Corporate
America writing OUR policy! Do ya’ll
remember all the hoopla about storing the nuclear waste at
Yucca Mountain?
Do you want that in your backyard? Is it OK as long as it’s stored in someone
else’s backyard (out of sight, out of mind)? Do you really think our Earth Mother will be served by that? We need to save Her in order to save ourselves. Almost everything we do generates some
form of waste by-product. Instead of adding to it, especially nuclear waste, we need to use our
considerable ingenuity to invent our way out of this mess. It is our only true
hope.  What we absolutely cannot afford
is more of the same… business as usual.

Corporate America has had the resources and the necessary information to create new technologies for decades.  Rather than doing the right thing, and truly be leaders of innovation, much of their resources have been spent preventing said technologies from entering the marketplace because, God forbid, that could hurt their bottom line. If their shareholders weren't so blinded by their own greed, they would be able to recognize the incredible opportunity that is presenting itself NOW. Corporate America and our elected officials could simply CHOOSE to lead this necessary technological revolution, but it remains to be seen…. so it's up to us.

We must TAKE our
country back!

The Progressive Iowa Network Organizing Summit

The Progressive Iowa Network
Organizing Summit



Saturday, June 9, 2007


Iowa City Public Library
123 S. Linn St.
Iowa City, IA
52240

9 AM – 3PM


Agenda:

1.    Welcome

2.    Introductions


3.    Why a Progressive Network is important for Iowa


4.    Democracy for America – Support for Iowa’s Progressive Network


5.    2007 Iowa Legislative Review  (Legislators)


6.    Overview of Top Progressive Legislative Priorities (Progressive Activists)


7.    Envisioning Progressive Power in Iowa (Ed Fallon & Denise O'Brien)


8.    Break


9.    Top Progressive Legislative Issues – Workshops

VOICE (Voter Owned Iowa Clean Elections)
CAFO/Farm Bill
Health Care
Media Reform
Fair Share


10.    Lunch

11.    Workshop Reports
12.    Progressive Iowa Network – Next Steps
13.    Democracy for Iowa – Administrative overview
14.    Adjournment

Please note: If you are interested in discussing potential state-wide initiatives that will pressure our Congress to end the war in Iraq, please come to this event.  Peace groups can strategize during the workshop hour (#9) and also report back to the larger group after lunch. This will be an excellent opportunity for all of us to be united for peace.

We will start gathering at 9am – coffee and bagels / breakfast treats.
The summit will begin promptly at 9:30am. Please let us know if you intend to come:

Please RSVP: http://www.dfalink.com/event.php?id=20502

Establishing our Progressive Iowa Network (PIN) – Update

Establishing our Progressive Iowa Network (PIN) – Update


By Caroline Vernon

This Saturday, June 9th, progressive leaders, legislators and activists from various organizations across Iowa will come together for the first DFA-Iowa Networking Summit.

We will be gathering at the Iowa City Public Library from 9am to 3pm (the last hour will be devoted to DFA-IA administrative business).

Some of our great leaders who will be in attendance include Charlie Chamberlain from Democracy for America, Ed Fallon, Denise O’Brien, and Senator Joe Bolkcom, just to name a few…

Once again, the purpose of this gathering is to establish a Progressive Iowa Network which will serve to better unite progressives across the state in order to support each others efforts around important issues, particularly if we hope to be more effective moving into the next legislative session. Besides providing an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow progressives, one direct benefit of an Iowa Network would be the enhanced ability to articulate our progressive world view by creating a state-wide echo chamber that will carry our unified message to all Iowans.    

As previously indicated, we have identified 5 issues in Iowa that require urgent action:

1.    VOICE (Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections)
2.    CAFO regulations / Farm Bill
3.    Fair Share
4.    Healthcare
5.    Media

Also, due to the recent vote on the Iraq supplemental bill, it is our hope that peace activists from across Iowa will take advantage of this opportunity to come together to discuss potential state wide initiatives that will effectively pressure those in Congress who voted for the bill.

In addition to addressing the above issues, we are tracking organizations by their particular area(s) of focus. This list has also evolved since my last blog:

1.    Policy / Research
2.    Lobbying
3.    Media & Blogs
4.    Grassroots Organizing

These 4 areas have been added:

5.    Direct Action
6.    Education
7.    Funding (to identify potential sources of funding)
8.    Political Campaigns (organizations who can be involved with                                campaigns)

We are working on compiling a comprehensive list of all participating organizations, including contact information, primary areas of focus and primary issues of concern. If you or your organization will be attending the summit, we ask that you submit your information using the example below (4 stars = primary focus)

Example:

Organization: Progressive Action for the Common Good
Address: 3707 Eastern Ave, Davenport, IA 52807
Contact Information: (name/position/phone/email):
Caroline Vernon, Organizer, 563-676-7580, carolina1961@gmail.com.
James Lee, Executive Director, 563-650-3922, jlee6367@yahoo.com

Areas of Focus                Rating                Issues                  Rating

Policy/Research                                    VOICE                ****
Lobbying                        **                 CAFO/Farm Bill      ***
Media/Blogs                                         Media                  **
Grassroots Organizing      ****               Fair Share            **
Direct Action                  ***                Healthcare           ***
Education                       **
Funding                          *                   Other: _Peace _  **** 
Poltical Campaigns



Please send the above information to carolina1961@gmail.com by Thursday, June 7th so we can be sure to include your information in the hand-out.

It is important to note that we encourage ALL progressive organizations to attend this meeting and become part of the network even if we may not be focusing on your specific issues at this time. The goal of the network is to create a framework designed to support all progressive initiatives. We need everyone’s participation in order to succeed.

If you have any questions, please call Caroline Vernon at 563-676-7580.

Hope to see you Saturday!

1st Semi-Annual Meeting of PCCI on Wednesday

1st Semi-Annual Meeting of PCCI on Wednesday



By PCCI

The first semi-annual general meeting of the PROGRESSIVE COALITION OF CENTRAL IOWA (PCCI)
 
Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 7:00 p.m. at

Des Moines Senior Center
2008 Forest Avenue, Des Moines
(corner of MLK Pkwy & Forest Avenue)
 
Representatives of PCCI's twenty member organizations, individual members and friends, and representatives from some twenty partner organizations are invited to this first general meeting of PCCI since its incorporation in August of 2006.  Hear what PCCI has been doing, its plans for the future, and what member and partner organizations are doing and planning.  Tabling will be available for literature and displays.
 
PCCI Board of Directors:
Vern Naffier, Chair
Phyllis Stevens, Vice-Chair
Bruce Stone, Secretary
Tony Hansen, Treasurer
Leslie Irvin, Web Master
Diane Krell
Ione Shadduck
Chet Guinn

Take the Bus to the US Social Forum Jun 27th

Take the Bus to the US Social Forum June 27th
Mark Your Calendars for the Progressive Event of the Year!



By Caroline Vernon

PACG
is working on securing a bus (or two) to take a large Iowa contingent
to Atlanta, Georgia from June 27th thru July 1st to attend the US Social Forum
(USSF). Please mark your calendars and spread the word far and wide.
Details about the cost of the bus trip and available lodging will be
forthcoming… stay tuned…

Excerpt from the site:

The
US
Social Forum is more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more
than a reaction to war and repression.

The
USSF will provide space to build relationships, learn from each other's experiences,
share our analysis of the problems our communities face, and bring renewed
insight and inspiration. It will help develop leadership and develop
consciousness, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.

The
USSF sends a message to other people's movements around the world that there is
an active movement in the US
opposing US Policies at home and abroad.

We
must declare what we want our world to look like and begin planning the path to
get there. A global movement is rising. The USSF is our opportunity to
demonstrate to the world Another World is Possible!

Check out the following link to see some of the many workshops that will be available…

http://www.ussf2007.org/en/submitted_proposals

If you would like to be part of this great adventure, please contact Caroline at 563-676-7580 carolina1961@gmail.com

Establishing Our Progressive Iowa Network (PIN) – Mark the Date!

Establishing our Progressive Iowa Network (PIN) – Mark the Date!


By Caroline Vernon

On Saturday, June 9th, progressive leaders, activists and legislators from across the state will converge on Iowa City for our first 2007 Democracy for Iowa Organizing Summit.  We are still working out the details on the venue (forthcoming) but we will be meeting from 9am to 3pm (the last hour will be reserved for DFA-IA members to discuss administrative business so it will not be necessary for everyone to stay for that segment).

The purpose of this gathering is to establish the Progressive Iowa Network (PIN). This network will serve to better unite progressive organizations, legislators, and leaders across the state so we can support each other’s efforts around progressive issues in Iowa.

Currently,
we have an unprecedented opportunity to get progressive legislation
passed in our state
. However, in order to achieve legislative victories
on the issues that we care about, we must establish an effective
framework that allows us to better organize our efforts, clarify our
message, mobilize our base, educate the public and influence our state
officials.

We have identified the following 5 issues as requiring urgent action:

1. VOICE (Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections)
2. CAFO regulations / Farm Bill
3. Fair Share
4. Healthcare
5. Media

Please note: we want ALL progressive organizations to attend this meeting and become part of this network even if we may not be focusing on your specific issues at this time.

The Summit Agenda will cover the following:

I. Why is PIN important?

The first part of this summit will discuss why PIN is important. Groups/Individuals will be asked to introduce themselves and identify their main areas and issues of focus:

• Policy/Research
• Lobbying
• Media/Public Relations (including bloggers)
• Grassroots Organizing

This will NOT be an informational meeting about the issues, but rather a strategy session on how we can support each other moving forward.

II. Update & Evaluation of the recent Iowa Legislative Session

• What went well?
• What would we do differently?

III. Break-Out Sessions by Issue

• Strategize with other progressives around the state that are working on the same issue.
• What kind of help do you need from other organizations/leaders who may not be directly involved in your issue.

Lunch

IV. Report back to larger group identifying specific needs

• What do you need from PIN?

We will not have time to hear specific plans but rather will want to hear your list of needs on how other organizations/leaders can help you make progress around your issue.

V. Where does PIN go from here?

We will discuss logistics, network structure and set a date and time for our next meeting(s).

VI. DFA-Iowa Administrative Planning Session (for DFA-IA members)

This last segment will be for DFA-IA members to discuss by-laws, how we can better support Blog for Iowa, and other administrative details.

Outreach around this summit has been underway for awhile — many progressive organizations/individuals in Iowa have already been notified. However, if you have not yet heard from us directly, please email Caroline Vernon ASAP: carolina1961@gmail.comWe need every progressive organization, leader and legislator in Iowa to participate in order to achieve maximum effectiveness as a network.

Urgent Action Needed – Call on VOICE Monday, March 26th!

Urgent Action Needed – Call on VOICE – Monday, March 26th!

From Progressive Action for the Common Good
 
As many of you may know, PACG has put out many calls to action on VOICE – Voter Owned Iowa Clean Elections.  The passage of VOICE – SF 553 , in the state of Iowa would have a HUGE impact
on every issue across the spectrum – the passage of this bill
would give the people of Iowa an unprecedented opportunity to take back
control of our legislature from the special interest groups that have
too often dominated the outcome of policy. There are MANY reasons to
pass VOICE – passage of this bill would free-up our legislators
from the all consuming cycle of fundraising so they can spend more
time working on the actual issues that affect their
constituents, and citizens would have more faith in the system and
the legislators that represent them. Legislators would no longer be
beholden to the special interests that help get them elected. In other
states where similar bills were passed, they are seeing a big increase
in people running for office than ever before and in Arizona
voter turnout has increased by as much as 20%. The passage of
VOICE is a win-win for everyone involved… that's why WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW.
 
The VOICE
bill, SF 553, is in an Appropriations sub-committee comprised of
Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-chair), Rep. Jo Oldson (D) and Rep. Dwayne Alons
(R).  It will come up for a vote in that committee
either Tuesday (3/27) or Wednesday (3/28).  If passed, it
then goes to the full committee and becomes “funnel-proof.”  That
means the likelihood for debate on the floor of the House
increases.  However, we learned on Friday that the Appropriations
sub-committee plans to “kill” the bill, at the request of
leadership. 
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
 
PLEASE make a push to call the committee members and the leadership on MONDAY,
urging them to support SF 553. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is a firm
supporter of the bill so please call him, thank him for his
support and urge him to continue pushing for passage of the bill.
 
MOST IMPORTANTLY – contact Senator Mike Gronstal in the Senate and Speaker Pat Murphy in the House – urging them to support passage of the bill. We need to make a VERY BIG PUSH in order to make a difference. 
 
VOICE has overwhelming support from citizens and community leaders – we need to remind leadership that people matter more, money matters less.
 
PLEASE call the Appropriations Sub-Committee members and House & Senate Leaders on MONDAY!These
are only 6 telephone calls that will take up very little of your time
— the small effort required on our part can make a BIG difference for
the future of our state! Please refer to the Word document (see
attachment) that outlines the general information and primary
benefits of the bill, SF 553.
Appropriations Sub-Committee           

Rep. Dave Jacoby (D)                
House District 30 — Johnson County


David.Jacoby@legis.state.ia.us         
Home Telephone: 319-358-8538    
House Switchboard: (515) 281-3221
           
Rep. Jo Oldson (D)                  
House District 61 — Polk County   
Jo.Oldson@legis.state.ia.us            
Home Telephone: 515-255-2805
House Switchboard: (515) 281-3221
           
Rod Roberts (R)
Rod.Roberts@legis.state.ia.us
House Switchboard: (515) 281-3221.
           
Speaker of the HouseRep. Pat Murphy (D)
House District 28 – Dubuque County

Pat.Murphy@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: (563) 582-5922
House Telephone:  (515) 281-5566

House Majority Leader
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D)
House District 67 – Polk County
Kevin.McCarthy@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: (515) 953-5221
House Telephone:  (515) 281-7497
(PLEASE THANK HIM FOR HIS SUPPORT!)


Senate Majority Leader
Senator Mike Gronstal (D)
Senate District 50 — Pottawattamie
michael.gronstal@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: (712) 328-2808
Business Telephone: (515) 281-3901

Take action!        
Call,
your local legislator today! Find out where they stand on the
bill, urge them to support it and ask them to urge leadership and
committee members to do the same!  It's not
enough to simply ask them if they support the bill — if they do,
ask them what they are doing to ensure passage of this bill.

House Switchboard to reach all
State Representatives:  (515) 281-3221
 
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!
PACG Staff
James Lee 563-650-3922
Caroline Vernon 563-676-7580

CAFO Bill HF873 on Life Support at Iowa Statehouse – Call TODAY!

CAFO Bill HF873 on Life Support at Iowa Statehouse – Call TODAY!

From Molly Regan
mjregan@ mchsi.com
(excerpts from Lynn Heuss – I'm for Iowa)
 
Despite overwhelming support from citizens and community leaders, HF 873, a bill regulating CAFOs, has seen steady progress but now faces strong opposition.
It seems this bill too, has been sent to a sub-committee with instructions from leadership to “kill” it. Members of that committee are Mike Reasoner (D-chair), Delores Mertz (D), Helen Miller (D), Jack Drake (R) and Steve Olson (R).

Three Democratic House members – Pam Jochum, Mark Kuhn and Marcie Frevert – have been working tirelessly to advocate for VOICE SF 553 and the CAFO HF 873 bills.

 
We must join the fight. Lack of oversight and regulation of CAFOs will affect the state of Iowa for generations to come! For a detailed explanation on CAFOs, please refer to my statement below, following the contact information for our legislators.
 
We need to inundate the Statehouse with calls and e-mail the legislative leaders who control the fate of this bill.
 Please call or write.  If your representative isn't on one of the sub-committees, you can still call or write Rep. Pat Murphy (House Speaker), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (House Majority Leader) or Senator Mike Gronstal (Senate Majority Leader).  Everyone needs to contact those three leaders. In addition, contact your local reps and encourage them to urge the committee members to pass the CAFO bill (HF 873).

CAFO Regulation – HF 873

Agriculture Sub-Committee:

Rep. Mike Reasoner (D)
House District 95 – Union County

Mike.Reasoner@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: 641-782-2693

Dolores Mertz (D)
House District 8 – Kossuth County

Dolores.Mertz@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: 515-887-2952

Rep. Helen Miller (D)
House District 49 – Webster County

Helen.Miller@legis.state.ia.us

Rep. Jack Drake (R)
House District 57 — Pottawattamie
Jack.Drake@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: 712-784-3538

Rep. Steve Olson (R)
House District 83 – Clinton County Steven.Olson@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: 563-659-9096
 

Statehouse Leaders:
Speaker of the House
Rep. Pat Murphy (D)
House District 28 – Dubuque County
Pat.Murphy@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: (563) 582-5922
House Telephone:  (515) 281-5566

House Majority Leader
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D)
House District 67 – Polk County

Kevin.McCarthy@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: (515) 953-5221
House Telephone:  (515) 281-7497

Senate Majority Leader
Senator Mike Gronstal (D)
Senate District 50 — Pottawattamie

michael.gronstal@legis.state.ia.us
Home Telephone: (712) 328-2808
Business Telephone: (515) 281-3901
House Switchboard to reach all State Representatives:  (515) 281-3221 Call your local reps and ask them to urge committee members and House leaders to pass this bill!
 
Please call TODAY!!
 
 
According to the IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (IDNR), an AFO is an ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATION.
 
A CAFO is a CONFINED ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATION .  The difference is that in a CAFO, the animals are subjected to close, sometimes unhealthy quarters and their waste stays within the confinement until such time it is removed.  In the case of hogs, that may only be several times a year.
 
The IDNR also states on its web site: www.iowadnr.com :  “Confinement feeding operations that plan to build, modify or expand must meet state requirements for the new construction. It is important to determine as early as possible, at least 120 days before you plan to begin construction, what size the proposed operation will be and the type of manure storage that will be used. Once size and type of storage are known, you can determine which state requirements must be met….”  Also per their website:
“Master Matrix”

The master matrix is a scoring system that can be used to evaluate the siting of permitted confinement feeding operations. Counties that have adopted a construction evaluation resolution can use the master matrix. Counties must re-adopt the construction evaluation resolution annually between January 1 and January 31, starting in 2004, to continue to use the master matrix.

Producers in counties that have adopted the matrix must meet higher standards than other permitted facilities. Before they can be approved for construction, they must earn points on the master matrix for choosing sites and using practices that reduce adverse impacts on the environment and the community. Producers must have 50% (440 points minimum) of the total score and at least 25% of the available points in each of the three subcategories of air, water and community impacts to pass the master matrix….”

Scott County happens to be one of the many counties that has chosen to partake in the permit process. ( Its Board of Supervisors has agreeded to this every year since 2004.) .  Part of what that means is that if a farmer wants to build new or add to their existing operation, a permit may be needed depending on the total number pigs, cattle, etc said farmer is going to raise.  There is a formula that says if you have over 1666 animal units (thats one bovine equals one unit, 2.5 hogs equals one unit….see IDNR site for other animals) they you need to fill out the Master Matrix.  If your county does not partake in the permit process, it goes directly to the IDNR and bypasses any local public input time.