Washington, DC – For years, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has helped to lead the fight in Washington for action on climate change. He has delivered 60 speeches on the Senate floor urging action on climate change, co-founded the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change with Rep. Henry A. Waxman and the Senate Climate Action Task Force with Sen. Barbara Boxer, and has held a number of events in Rhode Island to highlight how climate change threatens public health and coastal communities.
Now, Senator Whitehouse is preparing to take his message to a new audience: the people of Iowa. The Senator will travel to Des Moines, IA on March 17 for a three-day trip that will also take him to Shenandoah, IA and Omaha, NE. Whitehouse is visiting at the invitation of Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg, a strong supporter of action on climate change who hopes the trip will help to raise the profile of this important issue within the state.
“Climate change threatens Rhode Island coasts and Iowa farmlands alike, and I look forward to this opportunity to talk to rural Americans about the threats they face,” said Whitehouse, who recently became chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee. “I also realize that in order to advance serious climate change legislation in Congress, we need to make climate change a major topic in the 2016 presidential race. Iowa, with its first-in-the-nation caucuses, is in a unique position to drive the debates in that race. While I myself will not be running for president – and fully expect to support Hillary Clinton if she chooses to run – I do hope that by visiting Iowa now and meeting with local activists and journalists, I can help to put the issue of climate change at the front of their minds as the 2016 race takes shape.”
“We are excited to welcome Senator Whitehouse to Iowa,” said Rob Hogg, a state senator from Cedar Rapids. “There is growing momentum for climate action in Iowa. Climate change is already hurting Iowa with more extreme weather events and ecological disruptions. At the same time, climate action is already creating thousands of jobs and business opportunities in our state. We look forward to sharing our experience with Senator Whitehouse, and hearing his ideas on how to make climate action a national priority.”
A more detailed itinerary for Whitehouse’s trip will be released in the weeks ahead, but the trip will include meetings with Iowa elected officials and environmental activists, and a visit to a BioProcess Algae location in Shenandoah, IA. The company is based in Rhode Island but operates a demonstration plant in Shenandoah where it uses waste carbon dioxide from a nearby ethanol plant to produce algae that is used in animal feed. The company has been awarded Department of Energy funds to produce advanced biofuels from algae as well.
“We have been producing algae consistently throughout this long winter because we use the ethanol plant’s waste heat to mitigate CO2 emissions year-round,” said Burns. “Our approach is one that has broad appeal – adding value to existing corn ethanol while producing high-value products. We are very lucky to have received incredible support from both sides of the aisle for our project. We look forward to hosting the Senator and appreciate his support.”