Fuels

Hearings Underway
5:39 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Landowners to Ask Questions about Bakken Pipeline

North Dakota Oil Fields

Informational meetings begin this week  for landowners  in 18 Iowa counties.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
1:03 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

EPA: No Final Ethanol Rules This Year

Ethanol plants, like this one in Adams, Neb., use corn from Midwest farms to pump out millions of gallons of biofuel.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media file photo

The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that it won’t release rules for how much ethanol oil refiners have to mix in to our gasoline supply this year.

The ethanol rules, called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), are meant to prop up the U.S. biofuels industry by creating demand for ethanol. Without the rules, both oil companies and the biofuel sector will be left in the dark as to what the demand for ethanol will be.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:12 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Don't Blame the Farmers

  An Iowa energy expert says farmers are often unfairly blamed when propane supplies are low and prices are high. Farmers use LP to dry their corn before it's stored to avoid spoilage. Harold Hommes with the State Department of Agriculture says  farm use is only part of the picture. He says international customers also draw down supplies, " we now export around 400 thousand barrels a day and probably will for the foreseeable future.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:11 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Less Pain for Propane

Credit IPR's Pat Blank

   State agriculture and energy officials are working together in the event that there's high demand for liquid propane this harvest season. Iowa Propane Gas Association Executive Director Deb Grooms says customers were asked to top off their tanks this summer. She says farmers got the same message from Ag Secretary Bill Northey.

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Environment
3:53 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Frack Sand Mining Unlikely in Allamakee County

a silica sand mine
Wikimedia Commons

After the expiration of an 18 month moratorium, Allamakee County has adopted rules that will regulate silica sand mining in the area. 

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News
5:30 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Miscanthus: Crop of the Future?

A stalk of miscanthus resembles a thin bamboo fishing pole.
Rick Fredericksen Iowa Public Radio

It could be Iowa’s next energy crop: a relative of sugar cane, that looks like bamboo. It’s about to become much more abundant in a state dominated by corn and soybeans. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

What You Should Know about Our Food System

Despite certainty on the farm bill finally coming down from Washington, Midwest farmers still face plenty of unknowns.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media file photo

Food doesn’t just come from a grocery store. Millions of farmers spend their lives producing the crops and raising the livestock that we eat and use.

So it makes sense: If you’re interested in what’s on your plate, you’re interested in what’s going on in the field.

With that in mind, here are four things you should know about today’s food system:

The new farm bill became law in February

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:27 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Ethanol Advocates Fight for Renewable Fuel Standard

DuPont is sourcing corn stover from a wide radius around its Nevada cellulosic ethanol plant, expected to come on-line this year.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Ethanol advocates made the case for preserving the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on Tuesday in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Without the RFS, advocates say, the ethanol industry will be quashed – and corn farmers and rural communities will pay the price. But many agricultural economists argue that lowering the ethanol mandate won’t be a huge blow to the rural economy.

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News Buzz
3:17 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

E-Cigarettes, LIHEAP, Lake Darling and More

Providing a boost from a half dozen bottled waters, dignitaries at the ‘gate setting’ of Lake Darling, add a little water to the soon to be filled lake. The ceremony concludes a $16 million multi-year project.
Joe Wilkinson Iowa DNR

In a News Buzz edition of River to River, Host Ben Kieffer talks with IPR's Clay Masters about debate over a plan to ban the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine to minors. 

We hear from Cedar Rapids Democratic Senator Liz Mathis about the need for emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.  She says one family found it less costly to spend a week in a hotel, rather than heat their home using propane. 

We get local reaction to a new study on the effectiveness of mammograms. 

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News
5:37 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Propane Prices Hit Rural Towns Hardest

242 people live in the town of Laurel. Nearly all depend on propane to heat their homes and businesses.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Low propane supplies in the Midwest have driven up the cost of the fuel used by many rural families to heat their homes and businesses—to the point where Senator Chuck Grassley has requested an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren traveled to an area in Central Iowa that depends on propane, and came back with this story. 

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River to River
3:16 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

The Renewable Fuel Standard

E Energy in Adams, Neb., takes in corn from local farms to make 65 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A decade ago ethanol was touted as an eco-friendly biofuel that would not only decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but also boost the Midwest's economy. Today however, ethanol’s future is a matter of debate.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed reducing the ethanol mandate for the nation’s fuel supply. Many Iowa and around Midwest believe a reduction to the RFS would be economically devastating. 

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News Buzz
4:20 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A Rush of Home Invasions and Shootings in Des Moines

Daniel Hoherd

So far this year, Des Moines has reported eight home invasions; the number coming very close to the eleven home invasions reported over the course of the entire previous year (2013).

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Politics Day
4:16 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

2014 Iowa Caucuses and Renewable Fuel Standard

A caucus at Washington Elementary in Davenport, Iowa 2008
Ann Althouse flickr

Iowans gathered for caucuses Tuesday night, not to determine who will win nominations for President, but to determine who will control the parties.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle, and Drake University Professor of Politics, Dennis Goldford about how the midterm caucus results may impact the higher profile Presidential caucuses in two years.  They also discuss Iowa's political leverage to reverse an EPA decision reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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Environment
11:30 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Air Quality Concerns from Frack Sand to be Studied by UI Team

A sand pile at the Pattison Sand Company mine in eastern Iowa's Clayton County. It's the only site in Iowa actively mining for sand to be used in hydraulic fracturing.
Credit Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

Researchers at the University of Iowa have received a $125,000 federal grant to study the effects of frack sand mining on air quality.

The rise in hydraulic fracturing in the US and Canada has created demand for silica sand, used in the fracking process. There’s currently just one major frack sand mine in Iowa’s Clayton County. But parts of northeast Iowa are rich in these sand deposits.

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Environment
7:24 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Economic Opportunites and Environmental Concerns Set Up Debate Over 'Frac' Sand Mining

A pile of recently-mined sand sits on the ground at Pattison Sand Company in Clayton County, Iowa.
Sarah McCammon Iowa Public Radio

You’ve probably heard about controversies over the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing – the technique known as “fracking.” There’s no oil or gas fracking in Iowa…but the increasing use of the technique is affecting the state. It’s creating a market for finely-grained silica sand from northeast Iowa.

And some residents of the area are in conflict over the future of frac sand mining.

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Environment
7:17 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Frack Sand Mining Stirs Up Controversy in Northeast Iowa

The Pattison Sand Co. in Clayton County, Iowa, is mining sand for use in hydraulic fracturing. Residents of neighboring counties are concerned mining may expand there.
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

Controversy over so-called “frack” sand mining is heating up in northeast Iowa. A community meeting Wednesday evening in Decorah will focus on concerns about the possibility of mining development in Winneshiek County.

Fine sand can be used in the hydraulic fracturing process known as “fracking.” The technique is used to remove natural gas and oil from deep underground. There’s not any oil or gas fracking in Iowa right now – but there is a sand mine in northeast Iowa’s Clayton County, which is shipping frack sand out of state.

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