EPA Carbon Rule Vital to Rural America

Denver, Colorado – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold public hearing in four locations across the country this week, including a hearing in Denver. The hearings will provide interested parties the opportunity to provide their hopes for and concerns about EPA’s proposed rule to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.

“Every day our work gives us a seat at the table in small towns across America. This is where we hear the good and the bad, the stories about hope, and triumph, and taking a stand,” said Brian Depew, Center for Rural Affairs Executive Director. “We hear from the leaders that make our communities strong. And we hear from those who are too busy and working too hard to take credit for any of that.”

That’s why I traveled here today from Lyons, Nebraska, a town of 850 people in northeast Nebraska, to offer my support for your agency’s action to address climate change, Depew continued.

To view or download a copy of Depew’s testimony go to:


According to Depew, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and the other Midwest and Plains states that make up the Western Corn Belt, include more than 520,000 farms producing crops valued at $136 billion annually. These states account for 65% of national production of corn and soybeans. And if nothing changes, climate change will drive many of these Midwest farmers out of business.

“That includes farmers like Matt Russell, a 5th generation farmer from Iowa who feels he is already experiencing the effects of climate change,” said Depew. “He’s worried that we won’t be able to meet the needs of a growing population if the agricultural systems we have in place now are no longer viable with a climate that has changed.”

Harley Buys, a conventional corn grower from Minnesota has also decided to buck convention and now farms with carbon sequestration on his mind. He knows it’s his job, as a good steward, to leave the land better than when he started, added Depew.

Depew explained further that it’s not just farmers who are concerned. In the past few weeks more than 60 community leaders have added their names to a sign-on letter drafted by the Center for Rural Affairs, including rural leaders in Colorado. The letter will be delivered to Senators in Washington, Senators who represent the signers as well as rural and small town residents across the region.

“Moreover, nearly 600 rural and small town folks and friends of rural America have signed our petition in support of the carbon pollution standards being discussed in Denver today. We don’t claim to speak for everybody, but the relationships we’ve built over the past four decades remind us that stewardship is still strong in rural America,” concluded Depew.


All Eyes on Tekamah-Herman

By Brian Depew, Lyons Area Resident

At a special meeting on April 23, the Tekamah-Herman School Board decided they needed to hear more from the public about consolidation. Patrons had previously voted 70% to build a new school in Tekamah, but Board members voiced concern that those attending the public meeting were not a representative sample of the district.

To gather more input, the Board decided to mail a survey to registered votes in the district. The district hopes to have enough surveys returned ahead of their regular May 12, 2014 meeting to use the result to guide their decision. The board suggested that a 25-30% return rate would be sufficient and that they will proceed however the survey directs them.

%d bloggers like this: