Meeting Notes

May 2019 Meeting Notes

May 2019 Meeting Notes

CCL Video Conference Call
On the Monthly Call we were told that we (nationally) had 386 in-district lobby meetings, 67 op-eds and 1818 outreach events, all bigger than the same time period last year. They showed a short climate video that we could put on our website. (It is located at Carlos Curberlo was the guest speaker.
Actions mentioned were
1) Have our group make lobby meeting plans to pass on to our lobbyists going to DC in June,
2) Have people call MoCs on June 5th (all the Grand Canyon calls for next month be on June 5th, as Mark suggested), and have people tweet our MoCs on June 11th.

Rest of the Meeting
The rest of the meeting was spent talking with Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) Chair Geri Huser, her “handler” Anna Hyatt, Representative Mary Mascher and Senator Joe Bolkcom.

We didn’t get to the “Announcements” part of the agenda.

A few notes I made:
The IUB doesn’t make policy, they just impliment it.
The general topic was how to charge electric utility customers for grid support and maintenence.

For-profit versus publically-owned utilities
Customers with solar panels versus customers without solar panels
Flat-fee versus per kW-hr
An example: For the Des Moines water utility they charge a flat fee of ~ $13/residential customer, ~ $200/commercial customer

There is a pilot program in place for Alliant but I can’t remember its details. Geri says everyone on all sides hates it so they must of done it correctly!

There is already a law requiring the allowance of net metering. Perhaps the Alliant pilot program is contrary to that law?

There should be a state study of the costs to grid support of residential and commercial solar.

The demand for such a study must come from the state legislature.
Geri suggested that there needed to be philosophical changes to our current legislation having to do with electric utilities to address the many issues we brought up. She didn’t provide specifics, or if she did I didn’t understand them.

Marc Franke joined us even though he is a member of the Cedar Rapids chapter, and he was a great addition. He pointed out that residential solar actually makes it less expensive for the utilities to provide power effectively to all its customers, so it is not clear why there should be an extra “grid support” charge for customers with solar panels.

People were complaining about utilities stalling when customers installed solar. Geri pointed out that the UIB investigates complaints, so we should file a complaint when something like that happens.

Other states regulate their utilities in a variety of ways. The IUB has opportunities to learn about those other ways.

I presented a graphic (from the REMI study) to show how a revenue-neutral price on carbon would dramatically increase wind energy and decrease coal in our part of the country. This would be really good economically for Iowa. Geri or Marc mentioned that we have tremendous untapped wind potential in Iowa. John suggested that the graphic be shared with all our members. Here it is (WNC stands for West North Central Region):


March 2019 Meeting Notes

March 2019 Meeting


Attended by: Jim Olson, Daniel Livorsi, Eric Johnson, Peter Rolnick, Pam Michaud, Del Holland, Barbara E.,


During the CCL video conference welcome time where you can “unmute” and say your chapter name, Eric showed his “Keep Calm and Price Carbon” t-shirt, and the CCL speaker loved it and mentioned 2 or 3 times during her portion of the meeting! Eric shared the link to the shirt:


The speaker talked about how the business community actually does want climate change addressed (even though they’ve dragged their feet in the past). And how we need to scrutinize any climate change policies or actions offered by fossil fuel companies.


Mark Reynolds: “Don’t neglect the power of young people” We need to get them engaged in climate action with us. He mentioned the Sunrise Movement


Here’s the recording of the CCL video conference:


We played an “get-to-know-each-other” game where a few people talked about a game that they currently like and what they like about it, followed by a period of 1 minute for the rest of the group to relate to the game, or what the person said.


We learned about a game called “Exploding Kittens” : ) for kids and about Jenga and its cross-generational, cross-cultural apparel, and, from Jim Olson, President of the Johnson County chapter of Iowa United Nations Association, we heard about the climate change simulation game created for the United Nations Association last year, where rich countries and poor countries had to interact and see the direct consequences of their actions.


Barbara updated us on the CCL Conference Scholarship Idea and details about how to make the recipient of the scholarship accountable. Due to the tight timeline of the end of March for conference registration, Barbara will work with the Office of Sustainability to select a few students to receive the grant. We also received an anonymous donation of $1000 to send people to the DC conference.


Announcements were made at the end


  • Iowa Solar Bill that’s ruining solar in Iowa with a dishonest ad campaign
    • See attachment
  • Tabling subgroup was formed and 6 members volunteered
  • Tabling will happen on April 20 in Quad Cities
  • Iowa State CCL Conference is April 27 in Mason City
  • April meeting, Iowa Utilities Board Chair Huser is speaking about Iowa’s transition to renewables
  • Elli Sparks from CCL HQ will be coming to Iowa for 12 days to help us
  • Old Brick has offered very low cost office or meeting space to our group (Eric has contact info if you’re interested)
  • Presidential Candidate subgroup was formed, and 2 people are members
    • See attached
  • State Fair Volunteering
    • Des Moines CCL discussed having a presence at the State Fair this year with other local environmental groups. The idea at the moment is that the individual groups may manage the booth independently over the 9 days of the fair. Details are not finalized, but potentially we would need people from 9am – 9pm on those days.
    • Janelle in Des Moines is reaching out to determine the feasibility of this on behalf of the group, namely to figure out if they can get enough volunteers.
    • If interested, contact


February 2019 Meeting Notes


Jerry Denning, Charlene Lange, Del Holland, Barbara Eckstein, John Macatee, Silvia Quezada, Jim Throgmorton, Claire Muerdter, Peter Rolnick, Jamie McCoy, Eric Johnson


We watched the CCL national video meeting and heard Dr Natasha DeJarneett’s perspective on climate change as a public health expert. Some notable items:

  • Climate change causes lost workplace productivity due to increased allergies & asthma
  • 88% of the burden of climate change falls on children
  • Gastrointestinal illness outbreaks were 50% higher after extreme rain events
  • Mental health drugs are less effective in hot humid weather
  • Health professionals are trusted by everyone (they’re not seen as “partisan”). Nurses are the most trusted.
  • Mark Reynolds asked us to call our Congressmen (Rep Loebsack in our case) and ask him to co-sponsor the bill


We conducted the communication exercise in which we practiced listening. Some tips we discovered:

  • Be very careful when reflecting back what you’ve heard another person say; it’s easy to sound condescending or be irritating to the other person. It’s better to say, “I think I understand what you’re saying, but can you tell me more”, or just quote back exactly what they said and confirm that’s what they meant
  • We also acknowledged that even when we think we understand what the other person is saying, we really have only a surface-level understanding. Their perspective comes from many deep and various places and taking the time to dive deeper can help uncover where they’re coming from.


Our various sub-groups reported in:

  • Jamie McCoy/Endorsements
    • Discussions are ongoing with Cathy Glasson and Nordex/Acciona
  • Peter Rolnick/Iowa State CCL Coordinator
    • State Rep Mary Mascher is interested in crafting a bill. More will be discussed at the state CCL meeting on April 27
    • Btw, there’s a state CCL meeting on April 27, Mason City
  • John Macatee/Loebsack Liaison
    • We met with Rep Loebsack’s Regional Director, Dave Leshtz, on February 1
    • He hadn’t heard about the bill(!)
    • He mentioned the most important bits for him are the jobs the EICDA creates and the money it puts in pockets (from the dividend)


Chapter Plan for 2019

  • We briefly discussed what our chapter should focus on this year
  • Growing membership is a priority (many hands make light work)
  • Climate Action Grants from City of Iowa City
  • Pursue the University student community
  • Tabling events
  • Where do we fit into the Iowa City area ecosystem? What do we do that we can offer to other groups?
  • Phone bank our membership list to re-engage people




Action Items For You

  • When talking to others keep in mind that “convincing them” is not the goal; building a relationship is the goal. Expect that you are not going to get them to agree with you in the course of the conversation.
  • We need a new op ed writer for the February/April slot with the Press-Citizen.
  • People should think about whether they want to and can attend the June CCL Conference and Lobby Day (June 9th – 11th in Washington DC).
    • Let me know if you:
      • Will go
      • Won’t go
      • Would go but don’t have the money
      • Don’t know

January 2019 Meeting Notes

People in attendance: Del Holland, Craig Mosher, Mary Mascher, Charlene Lange, Jamie McCoy, Mark Conway, Charlotte Fairlie, Ed Agran, Roshan Pandey, John Macatee, Eric Johnson (by phone), Peter Rolnick (notetaker)

NOTE: The movie Reinventing Power (see upcoming events below) is at 6:30 PM, not am as I initially said!

The monthly call featured reporter Amanda Ripley, who talked about “solutions journalism,” which is, briefly, journalism that goes beyond just getting a good story. In particular, she has learned to listen and ask questions when doing interviews with many of the same techniques we have been learning in CCL. One example: When someone says something to you that sounds completely off the wall, instead of saying something like “How can you say that?” say something like “Tell me more,” and then just listen. You can watch the video here: (It starts and ends with Mark Reynolds; Amanda Ripley is in the middle.)

Mark Reynolds reviewed the 2018 accomplishments of CCL (including 50 new chapters, 25,390 new members, 1394 meetings with MOCs, 49 newspaper editorials, 547 op-eds, 3045 outreach events). He challenged us to have 2000+ outreach events in the first quarter of 2019, encouraged us to go to the regional, state, and DC lobby days/conferences in June (June 9-11) and November.

Eric reviewed our chapter’s past months activities: Many letters to the editor, some op-eds, tabling, a conversation with Presidential Candidate Julian Castro, and a meeting with the new Regional Directors for Ernst and Grassley.

Peter asked for help with tabling at Prairie Preview on March 5, and John Macatee and Charlene Lange volunteered. Thanks! Peter will be in touch with you. Peter also asked for any suggestions people have for updating our tabling display. Send your suggestions to

Peter reviewed the CCL state plans for moving Grassley toward active support for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act in the Senate. The two primary tasks for our chapter are to connect with Grassley’s Regional Director [DONE], and to connect with the nearest Farm Bureau office. Mark Conway has volunteered to be in charge of the Farm Bureau outreach and outreach to the local farm community in general. He will keep us updated on that.

John Macatee (the Liaison for Congressman Loebsack) will be arranging a meeting with Loebsack’s Regional Director Dave Leshtz. He will let us know when that meeting is so others of us can join him.

John Macatee has found many opportunities for presentations and tabling. He and Jamie McCoy will connect with the local Chamber of Commerce. John will let Peter know the details of the presentation and tabling opportunities he has found.

If anyone is interested in responding to Charlene Lange’s climate challenge (see LTE in CR Gazette,, email her at with your 10 things and discuss with her about either facebook or letter to editor.

Most of our meeting was spent talking with State Representative Mary Mascher (D, HD 86). Thank you, Mary, for taking the time to meet with us! We had a wide-ranging discussion. Here are some of the things we touched on.

  • Mary will arrange for Iowa Utility Board Chair Geri Huser to meet with us–perhaps at one of our monthly meetings. This is a great opportunity for us to share our concerns for reducing emissions and to hear from her about what challenges the Board faces. Mary will be in touch with Eric about that.
  • She suggested we arrange a meeting with MidAmerican and Alliant.
  • Since Nan has already reached out to Bobby Kaufman (R, HD 73), perhaps she could get together with people in Bobby’s district (Nan was but no longer is in his district) and arrange a meeting in someone’s home. Del suggested Margaret Bailey, and he will contact Margaret.
  • Sate Senator Kevin Kinney (D, SD 39) and State House Representative Jarad Klein (R, HD 78) are both very supportive of solar because of it’s use for farmers. They are also more supportive of hog confinement than many environmentalists. This is an example of how things are more complicated than they might seem.
  • Vicki Lensing (D, HD 85) is a member of the State House Environmental Protection Committee–she would be a good one for us to talk to.
  • Might the State Legislature start a bipartisan climate solutions caucus?
  • Peter shared some suggestions from Cedar Rapids CCL co-chair Phil Engen in his outreach to State Senator Liz Mathis (D, SD 34):
  • Mary said Phil’s suggestions and others like them would be especially useful to discuss with the Iowa Utilities Board and with Vicki Lensing (in her role on the Environmental Protection Committee). Mary also suggested that having a Bill would be a good way to start the conversation. Perhaps we could work on coming up with a Bill for the State Legislature, run it by those Legislators that we are in touch with, fine tune it, and then ask them to introduce it!


  • Saturday February 9th
  • Prairie Hill Common House, 140 Prairie Hill Lane, Iowa City
  • 11:30-noon: Social Time
  • noon-12:40: CCL Monthly Call
  • 12:40-1:30: Meeting
  • 1:30-2: Optional Further Discussion

December 2018 Meeting Notes

Attendees: Jim Throgmorton, Barbara Eckstein, Claire Muerdter, Emily Koury, John Macatee, Del Holland, Jamie McCoy

We wrote 6 handwritten letters to Rep Loebsack and Sen Ernst, and submitted 6 more letters electronically.

Endorsements are coming along great, Jamie is in discussions with an employee of Proctor and Gamble to see if they could possibly endorse the new bill (they endorsed the CLC’s plan).
Additionally, his work getting Nordex Accciona’s endorsement is now cited by CCL HQ as some of the big endorsements that can be achieved.

John Macatee had good success tabling and formed a LTE writer’s group with Charlene Lang, and Karin

John is going to arrange a meeting with David Leshtz so we can educate and answer questions about the bill.

Eric is going to work with John to schedule more meetings in January/February with the offices of Senator Ernst, Senator Grassley in Cedar Rapids.

We had two new members attend. Claire is going to write an op-ed and approach the UI Grad Student Government to see if they would endorse the bill. Emily is going to put up flyers in her workplace and work on giving us a web presence on Reddit, the 3rd most popular website in the US.