In early 2022, Iowa IPL was invited to join a few partner environmental organizations to meet with the CEO and some senior staff at MidAmerican Energy to talk about their plans on closing down their five coal plants. As the faith leader present, I was struck by the conversation and what it lacked. What it distilled down for me was that money and shareholders are more important than the impacts coal has on the climate, health, and what is being left to our future generations.
As a faith organization, Iowa IPL believes that it is MidAm’s moral obligation to move beyond coal and create a clean energy just transition for the workers and communities impacted by closures. It’s time for MidAm to put people over profits and better invest in our collective futures so no one is left behind.
Officially in March 2022, Iowa IPL and other partner organizations launched the Clean Up MidAm corporate accountability campaign. The goal of Clean Up MidAm is for MidAmerican to shut down all their coal plants by 2030.
MidAmerican has yet to publicly disclose their plant closure dates beyond saying all by 2049. It’s time to turn up the heat (like the record highs we had this summer). We know that this is one climate action Iowans of faith and conscience are ready for.
Since the launch, we have woven the campaign into our work from the new holiday hit, The 12 Days of MidAm, to partnering with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal and Moms Clean Air Force for a climate action call and a Mother’s Day event. During Faith Climate Action Week, Iowa IPL screened the documentary Current Revolution and hosted a panel on what a clean energy transition could look like. One of our favorites was our April Fool’s joke, Cats Against Coal Joins “Clean Up MidAm” Campaign. Recently, I joined Beyond Coal, the Iowa Environmental Council, and Great Plains Action Society in Sioux City for Coal in Siouxland. There have been hours of coalition meetings, background support, and elevating faith voices in between.
And we are just getting started. Efforts to hold polluting corporations accountable take time and intentionality. While publicly touting a 100% renewable energy vision, MidAm is operating one of the largest coal fleets in the country that leaves an environmental impact on Iowa. Most Iowans aren’t aware of this fact.
In the next few months, Iowa IPL will be providing more education and action around Clean Up MidAm. Our goal and intention is to bring Iowans of faith and conscience together at the end of March to gather for a direct action to show MidAm that the faithful of Iowa care and expect more from them. Iowa needs a coal-free future and we will hold MidAm accountable. I hope you will join us and invite others into this work.
Deaconess Irene DeMaris