Press Release

ELPC Joins Campaign to Hold MidAmerican Energy Accountable for Health and Wealth of Iowans

A coalition of organizations and concerned Iowans launched the “Clean Up MidAm” campaign today to hold MidAmerican Energy accountable and ask for a public plan to close its Iowa coal plants by 2030.

While MidAmerican Energy advertises a 100% renewable energy vision, it runs one of the largest coal fleets in the country, and is the single largest carbon polluter in Iowa.

Recent analysis filed with the Iowa Utilities Board shows that MidAmerican Energy could save Iowans nearly $1.2 billion over 20 years by retiring all of its coal plants by 2030 and replacing their production with reliable renewable resources. This is on top of the billions customers are already paying in additional health, crop, and climate impact costs.

“MidAmerican Energy’s continued use of coal harms the health and financial well-being of every Iowan,” said Kerri Johannsen, Energy Program Director at the Iowa Environmental Council. “A recent report found the impact to Iowans’ health, our ag economy, and climate stability ranges anywhere from $1.3 billion to $4.6 billion every year. Iowans can’t afford to wait any longer: it is time MidAmerican Energy shares a plan to close its coal plants by 2030.”

MidAmerican’s coal generation hurts rural Iowa’s economy. More than two-thirds of Iowa counties experience corn production losses – as much as one to five million bushels each year – due to the pollution from the continued operation of the MidAmerican coal plants. The value of the estimated annual corn production loss in 2021 was between $368 million and $1.8 billion.

MidAmerican cannot be a leader of the clean energy transition without retiring its coal plants.

“MidAmerican cannot be a leader of the clean energy transition without retiring its coal plants. MidAmerican should act in the best interest of its customers, the environment, and Iowa’s economy, and provide a transparent plan to close its coal plants. If it doesn’t, the Utilities Board needs to step in,” said Josh Mandelbaum, Senior Attorney for ELPC.

Utilities in Iowa enjoy a monopoly over their service territory, which means individual Iowans and businesses have no choice in their utility provider. With a captive market, MidAmerican Energy has no incentive to change its business strategy because it continues to profit off the coal generation that is paid for by Iowa ratepayers.

“A clean energy transition built on renewable energy is a tremendous prosperity opportunity for all of Iowa. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for every community and county to become more self-reliant and resilient in the face of climate and cyber disasters” said Andy Johnson, Executive Director of Clean Energy Districts of Iowa. “It’s high time for MidAmerican Energy to put the interests of Iowa ratepayers and communities over the interests of out-of-state investors and billionaires.”

“Every year a coal plant stays online is another year of dire impacts. Health impacts from air and water pollution, climate impacts that will only make extreme weather more destructive and more frequent,” said Katie Rock, Iowa Campaign Representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal. “Every day Iowans feel the economic impacts when it costs more and more to pay for fossil fuels. MidAmerican has no climate goals and no plans to get off coal. It is time for MidAm’s actions to catch up to its greenwashed marketing. Coal must go by 2030.” 

“Iowa Interfaith Power & Light envisions a world where we live in right relationship with our neighbors and planet; retiring Iowa’s coal plants by 2030 aligns with our vision for equitable climate solutions and our moral obligation to address the climate crisis,” said Deaconess Irene DeMaris, Executive Director of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light. “Across our state in both rural and urban areas, Iowans of faith and conscience are advocating for clean energy and air that is equitable and just. We believe it should be MidAmerican’s moral imperative to put our children’s future ahead of company profits. And we believe that MidAmerican can and will do the right thing.”

The Clean Up MidAm Coalition includes multiple organizations including the Iowa Environmental Council, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Sierra Club, Clean Energy Districts of Iowa, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, and countless Iowans who care about the future of our state. Visit www.CleanUpMidAm.com for more information.

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