DES MOINES – State Representative Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque, Ranking Member of the House Government Oversight Committee, called for an Oversight Committee hearing today after new emails allegedly revealed collusion between state officials and utility companies to close the Iowa Energy Center.
“Republicans and the Reynolds administration took these actions in secret because they are more interested in looking out for corporate special interests, not Iowans who depend on the clean energy industry for good jobs,” said Finkenauer. “It’s important for Iowans to know when the Reynolds Administration is working with special interests behind closed doors to shut down research on renewable energy.”
Last month, Rep. Finkenauer requested access to all email communication from Iowa State’s lobbyist regarding the transfer proposal. That email communication revealed a coordinated, closed-door effort between Iowa State and powerful utility lobbyists to transfer the research program to the Iowa Economic Development Authority and end funding for the program in 2022. It was approved by Republicans in the state legislature in April.
“This was just the first step in holding Republicans accountable as well as spearheading efforts to bring transparency and accountability to the way we spend and allocate taxpayer dollars,” added Finkenauer. “House Democrats recognize that clean energy and jobs go hand and hand in Iowa, and we will not stop fighting for Iowa’s working families and our environment. With so many jobs at stake, we need to make sure outside influence is not controlling our energy policy and work continues to research and develop the next generation of renewable energy technology.”
The renewable energy research program is a non-partisan institute that has helped make Iowa a leader in renewable energy. The clean energy industry powers nearly 28,500 Iowa jobs annually, while renewable fuels contribute nearly another 43,000 jobs to our economy.