IA Gov Race: Solar Grant Sparks Debate

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch says Gov. Terry Branstad's decision to return a $1 million solar energy grant shows that utility companies are calling the shots in his administration.

Hatch said Monday that he was disturbed by Branstad's decision to return the U.S. Department of Energy grant, which was designed to reduce the regulations and costs associated with adopting solar power on a local level.

The Associated Press reported last week that the Iowa Utility Association lobbied the Iowa Economic Development Authority to make key changes to the state's grant plan.

Federal officials didn't accept Iowa's changes after months of negotiations, and both sides agreed to terminate the grant.

Hatch says Branstad "needs to rethink his authority not to be controlled by the special interests of the utility companies."

Branstad has not commented on Hatch's announcement, but a spokesman says Branstad supported cancelling the grant after the state couldn't agree with a federal agency.


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