Hoosier Chapter

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In The News


Indiana needs a climate action plan

Our partners at Earth Charter Indiana and Youth Power Indiana make the case for Indiana developing a climate action plan: Indiana should begin adaptation and mitigation efforts, inventory where our greenhouse gas emissions come from, then design a process to gradually reduce those greenhouse gas emissions, so as to ensure a safer future for our children and our children’s children. Read about it here.


State of Indiana sues EPA again to allow utilities to pollute

The state of Indiana has been part of legal challenges to Environmental Protection Agency rules that would reduce cross-state air pollution, limit emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants, and regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other large stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Read more in the Louisville Courier-Journal.


Bus from Indiana to the climate rally in New York in September

We are organizing a bus from Indianapolis to the Peoples Climate March on Sept. 21st in New York City. Information on our Indianapolis bus is here on this page. Here is information on other transporation options:


State's energy efficiency program was cost effective, report says

A new report indicates the state’s energy efficiency program legislators eliminated earlier this year was cost effective, saving about $3 for every one dollar spent. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission report shows the biggest payback was in rebates given to commercial and industrial businesses that upgraded to energy efficiency equipment. Read more here.


Victory! IPL agrees to stop burning coal at its Indianapolis Harding Street plant

After more than two years of dedicated work by local groups and residents, Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) announced plans to phase out coal use at its Harding Street plant by 2016. This announcement marks the 177th coal plant retirement and the 500th coal-fired boiler to be retired in the past four years. Led by the Sierra Club, local activists assembled a strong coalition of over fifty neighborhood, faith and community organizations to persuade IPL to phase out coal burning at Harding Street because of its toxic impact on the health of residents as well as environmental reasons. Here is more information:


Goshen College named to Sierra Club’s ‘Cool Schools’ list for sustainability

The Sierra Magazine named Goshen College number 131 on their list of 173 colleges and universities with the biggest commitment to sustainability on campus. The ranking is open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States. Read more from WNDU


Mounds Lake reservoir foes back alternative plan: river trails

Several groups are proposing a system of trails to promote use of the White River in central Indiana rather than damming it for a possible seven-mile-long reservoir. The Mounds Greenway — White River Conservation Area” project would save the free-flowing West Fork White River between Anderson and Muncie, and protect over 2,000 acres of forests and wetlands.  A key feature of the Greenway will be a hiking and biking trail that runs the entire length of the corridor. Read more here.


Report: Wind energy contributes millions to Indiana economy

A recent report shows wind energy contributes more than $40 million each year to Indiana’s economy. The report from the federal government’s National Renewable Energy Lab looked at Indiana’s wind energy projects initiated between 2008 and 2011. Read more here.


DNR speaks up on captive deer issues

Officials at Indiana's Department of Natural Resources have asked four out-of-state wildlife disease experts to testify before the 14-member Agriculture and Natural Resources Interim Study Committee. One of the experts is among the foremost federal authorities on chronic wasting disease, an infectious brain disease that's always fatal to deer and that's been found in 22 states. Until now DNR has steered clear of these issues. Read more in the Indianapolis Star.


Indiana Forest Watch events may interest Sierra Club members

Our partners at Indiana Forest Watch continue to plan and host events that will likely attract members and supporters of the SIerra Club. The monthly Slow Saunters (hikes), Ecoblitz programs, "Dance for the Trees," and an old growth forest tour are a few examples. Learn more about these events on the website of the Hoosier Forest Watch (click on "events").


“I’m not a tree-hugger. I’m a kid-hugger"

A fascinating article by John Rudolf, published in Notre Dame Magazine, profiles Dubois County pediatrician turned activist Norma Kreilein and the fight for healthy air in SW Indiana she found herself drawn into. “People need to know this is a crisis,” she says. “The true amount of suffering is astronomical.” Read "Trouble in the Air" here. For additional information of interest, take a look at the magazine's Editor's notes, as well as Dr. Kreilein's response on the Healthy Dubois County Facebook page (July 12th post).


Missouri veto on captive deer hunting strikes a chord in Indiana

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon dealt a blow to the fenced hunting industry in what's being called a bellwether case. Nixon vetoed legislation that would have transferred oversight of the state's deer breeders from wildlife officials to Missouri's agriculture department. "White-tailed deer are wildlife, and they are also a game animal," Nixon wrote in his veto message. "Putting them behind a fence does not change that fact." Read more here.


Uninspected tanks of toxin in Indiana

There are 9,581 aboveground storage tanks in Indiana.  8,685 of them are not subject to regular governmental inspection. Are you worried that what happened in West Virginia can also happen in Indiana? So is Jeanette Neagu. So are we. Nuvo weekly newspaper talks with Neagu and examines the problem. Read the article here.


"DamNation" film set for several screenings in September

The powerful film, DamNation, explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. DamNation’s majestic cinematography will be on display at viewings in Indianapolis (September 4th) and in Anderson (September 11th). As Hoosiers consider damming the White River in Madison and Delaware Counties, this film is important for us all to see.


Columnist Doug Ross: Sierra Club isn't just blowing smoke

Doug Ross, a columnist for the NW Indiana Times writes about our energy work in Indiana in a July 6th column. "In Indiana, at least, it ain't easy being green. The Sierra Club knows this well. It's trying to reduce Indiana's heavy reliance on coal for electricity, and it's meeting resistance from state lawmakers and the governor who say Indiana has enough coal reserve to last for centuries, even at the current consumption patterns." Read the column here.


Chapter's art show postponed

Originally scheduled for this September & October of this year, the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter's art show is being potponed, probably until next year. The show was to focus on "seeing Indiana’s environmental issues through art." If you wish to be on the mailing list for future art show information, send an email to us at hoosier.chapter@sierraclub.org.


Grant Smith: "My take on Indiana energy policy"

As energy policy changes are debated in Indiana, Grant Smith offers his observations after returning from a fact-finding trip to Germany. Smith is Senior Energy Analyst for the Civil Society Institute and an executive committee member of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter. "The public must be a part of the energy policy discussion, particularly now with Indiana’s utility companies ratcheting up rates beyond reason and with no institutional pushback from the state’s elected leadership," says Smith. Read his blog entry on the Citizens Action Coalition website.


Federal agencies raise reservoir concerns

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have indicated a number of issues that need to be addressed before the proposed $400 million reservoir ending from Anderson into Delaware County can move forward. “The project will devastate 7 miles of riverine aquatic habitat, converting it into a lake habitat which is unsuitable for many river fish and mussel species,” said an official with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Read more here.


Indiana tops nation in toxic releases to waterways

"We're number 1" is not something we can take pride in, at least not when it comes to toxic releases. A report by Environment America ranks Indiana number one in the nation for toxic releases into waterways. For years, Indiana state agency leaders have assumed that lax regulation attracts new businesses to Indiana. But what kind of business leaders want to move their families into a toxic environment?


Faith groups hear higher calling in climate change fight

A federal program to reduce carbon emissions has found fierce opposition among business and political leaders but is garnering support from a a source that some might find surpeising – faith leaders. A coalition of believers wants the state to embrace new rules that require deep cuts in carbon emissions and reverse Indiana’s dependence on coal-fueled electricity. Read more here.



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New report highlights threats of Harding Street toxic coal ash ponds in Indianapolis

Indianapolis Power & Light’s Harding Street coal-fired power plant was cited as one of the most dangerous coal ash sites in the country,  according to a report released today by the Sierra Club and Earthjustice. The report highlights the threat to drinking water wells near the plant and the White River, as well as the regulatory failures to protect Hoosiers from toxic coal ash threats. Read more here.


Coal ash ponds threaten Indiana

Indiana has 74 ponds that contain coal ash, a byproduct of coal fired power plants, which is more than any other state. These ponds of toxic stew can dwarf the size of other man-made reservoirs, but unlike typical landfills, they’re almost entirely unregulated. These ponds have caused devastation, most recently in North Carolina. They are a pending disaster in Indiana. Read more in this news article from Indiana Public Media.


Conservatives breaking ranks from Koch Brothers on solar energy

Many utility companies are waging war on the solar energy industry. But the clean energy movement has found an ally in their fight. Here are several articles about how traditional utilities and fossil fuel interests are trying to hang on to the status quo, in spite of its impact on the type of planet our grandchildren will inherit. 


Indiana's solar industry added 960 jobs in 2013

A report by The Solar Foundation found that Indiana saw 960 new solar jobs last year. That was a 178-percent increase from 2012 and pushed the state up two notches nationally to rank it 25th in solar-industry jobs. Read more here.


Sierrans are monitoring waterways in Central Indiana

We are looking for volunteers who will collect and analyze water samples on at least a monthly basis. Learn more on our Protecting Indiana's Waters page.


Other Information of Interest to Members


"Accomplishments" published by Chapter
A quick review of some recent accomplishments is available for online review. Click the above link for more information.


"Donor Opportunities" published by Chapter
A summary of options for financial donors is now available for online review. The fact-sheet reviews various funds that prospective donors might consider in contributing to the work of Sierra Club in Indiana. Click the above link for more information.


Why children in southwest Indiana are surrounded by toxins
There are two industries in Rockport, Indiana, that release 30 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the environment. A report considers the serious consequences this has on its residents, particularly children.