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NEWS 6.21.23: Sioux City pool reopens, EPA ethanol rule and reaction, drought impacts drops, and more

Facebook/City of Sioux City
Leif Erikson Pool

Leif Erikson Pool reopened today after Sioux City’s Parks and Recreation Department closed it down after police broke up a major fight at the facility on Thursday. At the time, two teen girls were even taken into custody after the disturbance and charged with disorderly conduct.

Officials say enhanced safety measures are in place to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for pool patrons. Sheriff’s deputies will be present during public swimming hours between one and six p.m. Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed in the pool without a parent or guardian 16 years or older.

Landowners who oppose a proposed carbon capture pipeline in Iowa are upset with the schedule of hearings that will decide whether regulators approve its route across the state.

The Iowa Utilities Board announced last week it will begin hearings on Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposal in late August instead of October as previously planned.

The board must decide whether to grant eminent domain to build the pipeline on more than 1,000 parcels of land where landowners have not signed agreements with the company.

Anna Ryon, a former attorney with the Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate, questioned whether the board’s staff would have time to review the details of all those cases by then.

According to Summit, 70 percent of landowners have signed voluntary easements approving construction.

The Biden administration on Wednesday increased the amount of biofuels that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supplies over the next three years, but held production totals steady for corn-based ethanol, disappointing the biofuel industry and farm advocates. Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the final rule would reduce U.S. reliance on oil and support continued growth of biofuels that help combat global warming. The plan represents a decline from a proposal announced last year and drew immediate criticism from the biofuels industry. Environmental groups also were disappointed, saying EPA’s continued push for ethanol and other biofuels push will hamper U.S. climate efforts rather than bolster them.

News release from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds:

Gov. Reynolds Statement on EPA Announcing RFS 2023-2025

Gov. Kim Reynolds released the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency announcing the RFS volumes for 2023 through 2025:

“At a time when American energy and national security is threatened, it’s disappointing to see the Biden Administration continue its assault on home grown, American energy production. Biofuels can play a key role in fighting off this energy crisis and provide millions of Americans with cheaper, cleaner burning fuel.”

News release from U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley:

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the Senate’s only corn farmers, today criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule setting minimum biofuels blending levels for the next three years below current production capabilities. While the plan makes modest increases to blend levels for certain biodiesel products, the overall biofuels volume remains unchanged and ethanol volumes were reduced from proposed rule levels. 

“For an administration obsessed with reducing carbon emissions, this rule makes absolutely no sense. The EPA’s proposed rule signaled an increase in biofuels products for the next three years, and the industry is more than capable of meeting those production levels. Today’s RFS rule waters down the earlier proposal. It’s an insulting bait-and-switch for the American biofuels industry, and totally inconsistent with this administration’s climate agenda.

“American biofuels producers are leading the way in cleaner, cheaper, homegrown fuel. Rather than partnering with the biofuels industry, the Biden administration is turning its back on an opportunity to reduce emissions, consumer costs and reliance on foreign oil,” Grassley said.

Stories from Radio Iowa:

Governor Kim Reynolds is leading a delegation of Iowans on a two-week trip to Italy, Kosovo and Israel to expand trade ties and renew military and cultural alliances. Check out Radio Iowa for the full story https://www.radioiowa.com/2023/06/21/iowas-governor-on-trade-mission-to-israel-italy-and-kosovo/

The latest U.S.D.A. crop report shows increasing drought concerns across Iowa. More from Radio Iowa can be found here.

Federal regulators want first responders to a train derailment to know exactly what they are dealing with even before they reach the scene. That's because dangerous chemicals trains carry might require a specialized response. A new rule proposed Wednesday would require all railroads to electronically push the details of everything on a train to every emergency responder within 10 miles. The rule applies to every railroad — not just the biggest ones that already provide this information through an app firefighters use. The new rule comes just before the National Transportation Safety Board holds a hearing and scrutinizes emergency responses to the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train outside East Palestine, Ohio.

Today is the first official day of summer. While people love spending time soaking up the sun, it can be dangerous. Iowa’s melanoma rate ranks fifth in the U.S. according to the 2023 report from the Iowa Cancer Registry.

The medical director of UnityPoint’s John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines tells WHO Television in Des Moines, Iowans spend a lot of time in the sun, especially agricultural workers. There’s also a link between people using certain pesticides and increased melanoma rates.

Iowa among states with highest melanoma rates

Submitted news releases:

Leif Erikson Pool to Reopen Wednesday, June 21

The Parks and Recreation Department is pleased to announce the reopening of the Leif Erikson public swimming pool following a temporary closure. The department has taken significant steps to enhance security measures to reaffirm our commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all our valued pool patrons.

Following an isolated physical disturbance at Leif Erikson Pool that was promptly addressed by local law enforcement last week, staff have been working diligently to reinforce security protocols and implement additional measures to prevent such incidents from happening again.

As part of our commitment to the safety and well-being of our patrons, we have collaborated with law enforcement agencies to implement additional security protocols. New security measures include:

Increased Security Personnel: Sheriff’s Deputies will be present during public swimming hours to ensure the safety of everyone within the premises. They will work with pool staff to provide support by responding to any potential issues and help visitors as needed.

Access Control Measures: Heightened emphasis on our pool policies restricting children under the age of 12 from coming to the pool without being accompanied by a parent/guardian who is 16 years of age or older.

Public Swimming Hours: Leif Erikson and Lewis swimming pools are open daily from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. through August 13, 2023. Riverside Family Aquatic Center is open daily from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. through August 13, 2023.

The Sioux City public swimming pools are popular recreational destinations in the summer months. We are committed to maintaining their status as a safe and fun place

for families, friends, and individuals of all ages to spend time. Our reopening represents a collective effort to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. We appreciate the ongoing support and patience of our community as we strive to maintain the highest standards of safety and security.

Parks and Recreation would also like to thank the staff at the pools who work hard to make the pools a safe place to enjoy. We can’t offer the services and amenities we do without our lifeguards, cashiers, and managers who are dedicated to the pools throughout the summer.

Gov. Reynolds Makes Second Request for Federal Assistance for Davenport Building Collapse

DES MOINES – Yesterday, Gov. Kim Reynolds submitted a second request for federal assistance for Scott County following the May 28 collapse of The Hotel Davenport Apartments in Davenport.

Gov. Reynolds made an initial request to President Biden on June 6 for federal assistance for Scott County for debris removal and demolition, along with reimbursement for response activities. There has been no response to that request. Today's request contains additional data and information that clearly demonstrates that the severity of damage and loss caused by the structural collapse meets federal disaster assistance thresholds. This second disaster declaration request also seeks assistance for debris removal, demolition, and response activities.

Gov. Reynolds' letter to President Biden can be read in its entirety here