Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is working to get 1,000 of us to sign this petition to make the Des Moines City Council demand MidAmerican Energy commit to stop burning coal. MidAmerican is negotiating a new franchise agreement with Des Moines to secure a monopoly on supplying the city with energy.
Right here in Iowa, we have an incredible opportunity to significantly cut carbon emissions that are contributing to the devastating effects of climate change. But we’re going to have to up the ante if we want to succeed.
We need to demonstrate widespread community support to push our elected leaders to action. Organizationally, we want to add 1,000 petition names to this effort to put pressure on city council and to build our people power.
For the people and places we love, and the whole damn planet,
Jake Grobe (he/him)
Climate Justice Organizer
P.S. We know a petition alone will not get us the change we need. Join us on Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd to take our message directly to Iowa’s biggest carbon polluter. Learn more and RSVP here.
My friend Jake Grobe is ICCI’s Climate Justice Organizer. From his bio: He believes that climate justice is an intersectional fight for racial, economic, and social justice. “Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.”
Des Moines needs to follow through on 100%, 24/7 carbon-free electricity resolution
Target: Des Moines City Council
Last year the community made it loud and clear that we need climate action now. We were pleased to see Des Moines City Council follow suit by passing a resolution for 100%, 24/7 carbon-free electricity by 2035.
Now it’s time to make this goal a reality, but MidAmerican Energy – Iowa’s biggest carbon polluter and monopoly energy corporation – has publicly stated they’re planning to burn coal until 2049.
The choice is simple. We can work together to decarbonize our energy system as quickly as possible to prevent the worse effects of the climate crisis, or we can continue burning coal to extinction.
Right now, MidAmerican Energy is negotiating a new franchise agreement with Des Moines to secure a monopoly on supplying the city with energy. The current contract lasted 25 years and expires in June.
We are calling on Des Moines City council to refuse approving a new franchise agreement until they get these three commitments from MidAmerican Energy:
- Phase out their five remaining coal plants in Iowa by 2030 and replace them with wind and solar plus energy storage for 24/7 carbon-free electricity use
- Increase funding to insulate and weatherize Iowa homes to lower energy bills and save on energy use (to make up for the bad bill MidAmerican lobbied Iowa to pass in 2018 that cut funding requirements for much-loved energy efficiency programs.)
- Stop utility shutoffs and provide energy debt relief for working families (MidAmerican made a record $883 million in profits in 2021)
Franchise negotiations are one of the rare opportunities that cities have used to push their energy provider to help them meet their clean energy goals. MidAmerican wants a long contract because it guarantees profit for a long period of time, and Des Moines is their largest customer.
To: Des Moines City Council
The climate crisis is an existential threat that requires bold action now to drastically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions fueling it. We were pleased to see Des Moines City Council take this seriously by passing the 100%, 24/7 carbon-free electricity by 2035 resolution in 2021.
When it passed, MidAmerican Energy agreed to work with the city to achieve this goal, which would have a big impact on lowering our emissions and keeping rates low. However, the company has publicly stated that it plans to burn coal until 2049.
As the monopoly energy provider to Des Moines, we can’t achieve the aforementioned resolution if MidAmerican Energy is supplying the grid with electricity from coal-fired power plants.
Being MidAmerican’s largest customer, and knowing that they want a contract with us that will guarantee long-term profits, Des Moines should refuse to sign a new franchise agreement until getting these three commitments:
–Phase out their five remaining coal plants in Iowa by 2030 and replace them with wind and solar plus energy storage for 24/7 carbon-free electricity use
–Increase funding to insulate and weatherize Iowa homes to lower energy bills and save on energy use (to make up for the bad bill MidAmerican lobbied Iowa to pass in 2018 that cut funding requirements for much-loved energy efficiency programs.)
–Stop utility shutoffs and provide energy debt relief for working families (MidAmerican made a record $883 million in profits in 2021)
MidAmerican Energy owns five coal plants which make them the single biggest carbon polluter in Iowa. Most of which is burned to sell excess electricity to other utilities that don’t serve Iowans.
Wind and solar energy coupled with storage is now the lowest cost source of electricity available. We can keep rates low and continue making Des Moines a leader in clean energy by demanding these plants be retired as quickly as possible with a just transition for workers.
Making the carbon-free resolution a reality will require investment in local clean energy production, storage, and microgrids. These developments will boost the local economy and improve energy reliability for Des Moines.
The climate crisis is an existential threat, anything less than bold action that meets the scale of the crisis will be a death sentence for generations to come. We call on you to act now
In February Jake organized people to attend a meeting at the Iowa Energy Center. The reason for going to the meeting was MidAmerican’s CEO Kelcey Brown had refused multiple requests to meet with ICCI and she was going to be at this meeting. I was there to take photos and wrote a blog post about the meeting. https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2022/02/18/stopburningcoal