Monday, September 25, 2006

Tour's Fifth Day Traveled from Sioux Falls to Sioux City

Mary Jo Stueve from Clean Water Action is a great organizer. She and Nathan Peterson of the National Environmental Trust (NET) put together an event in downtown Sioux Falls next to a recently completed LEED designation building. Stacey McMahan of Koch-Hazard architects who designed the building was standing outside in the very center of the city as the Green Bike Team arrived. The press conference took place immediately and was covered by three TV stations and the Argus Leader newspaper.

Clean Water Action is fighting a new coal fired power plant planned for north of the city. NET emphasizes renewable energy policy and the adoption of a requirement that South Dakota electric companies get a percentage of their power from renewablesources. The Green Bikers repeated their message and pointed out that South Dakota has about 1/20 of Iowa’s installed wind capacity. (Actually, the exact number is 1/19th --44 MW for SD and 836 for IA.) South Dakota has a far larger wind Iowa and Minnesota have superior renewable energy policy. If state policy promotes coal, the world gets more warming gasses and economic development advantages support large multi-state companies rather than local entrepreneurs. Since the press coverage was so extensive, we hope the message goes far and wide in South Dakota.

The Green Bike Team drove the 75 miles from Sioux Falls to Sioux City and pulled into Briar Cliff University to a reception of students who were changing classes. Sister Shirley Fineran who teaches at Briar Cliff had arranged for Sioux City’s Environmental Services administrator Aaron Craft to speak about what the city was doing to reduce energy and become more environmentally responsible. A student and Professor Jim Redhmen, a friend of mine also spoke about environmental stewardship. The last speaker was State Senator Steve Warnstadt who described legislation designed to enhance green economic development in the state. The campus rally was covered by the local NBC TV affiliate as well as the Sioux City Journal.

Jim Redhmen and I biked from the hilltop toward the neighboring college at Morningside. Patrick McKinlay who teaches Morningside had pulled together a number of students for an outdoor program. Another professor described a new recycling program on campus. Senator Steve Warnstadt attended this college meeting as well.

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The Green Bike Tour is sponsored by The University of Iowa's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, The Iowa Policy Project, and The Fred & Charlotte Hubbell Foundation, and Kelly Webworks.