In The News
So-Called 'Right to Farm' Amendment Died in the IN Senate
Having SJR 12 in the state Constitution would prevent local folks or state regulations from controlling what kinds of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are in our rural areas.
House Committee approves measure to add solar power fees
Indiana utilities are pressing state lawmakers to let them charge a monthly fee to customers who sell power from solar panels under a bill that has become a focal point in a battle between traditional and renewable energy companies. The committee majority, of course, gave monopoly utilities everything they wanted. Please contact your legislators and ask them to oppose HB 1320. Read Reuters article here. Indianapolis Star article here. Read Tea Party Tribune article here.
The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk
The leaders of our armed forces know what's coming next – but deniers in Congress are ignoring the warnings. Our military is already feeling the impacts of climate change. Read this interesting article in Rolling Stone.
Solar wars arrive in Indiana
We knew it was coming - as it has elsewhere: our electric power utilities (which many believe own a controlling interest in the Indiana General Assembly) are attacking rooftop solar power. A utility-backed legislative proposal would drastically change the economics for rooftop solar in Indiana. Contact your legislators and urge opposition to HB 1320. Here are some articles & commentary about the issue.
For more information on our work in the legislature, click here.
Who should pay for Edwardsport?
The massive Edwardsport power plant, originally billed as a producer of low-cost energy, has been racked over the years with construction problems and huge cost overruns. The plant, with a price tag of about $3.5 billion, is one of the most expensive projects in Indiana history.
The state's utility regulators will hear testimony starting Wednesday morning on a request by Duke Energy to pass along tens of millions of dollars in extra costs to its customers through higher rates.
|2/21/15||IMA Horticulture Symposium||Indianapolis||The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden is the title and theme|
for the 2015 annual Indianapolis Museum of Art Horticulture Symposium. Organized by the IMA’s Environmental & Historic Preservation Division, this day-long annual event draws 200 or more to hear expert speakers from both the local region and across the country address various issues of interest to the gardening public. More at: imamuseum.org
|2/25/15||2015 Legislative Update||Carmel||Carmel Green Initiative's Legislative update: Wondering what your elected state officials are doing to make your world a better place? Join us for an update of key energy & environmental issues being voted on during this legislative session. Representatives of the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Sierra Club will talk about the issues that most concern the environment. Learn what you can do to make positive changes a reality. More info here.|
|2/26/15||Mounds Reservoir Community Forum||Yorktown||Are you sick of listening to the media regurgitate the phase two study’s absurd assertions of “no major issues” with the proposed reservoir. On Thursday February 26th, come hear the truth from experts without a financial interest in moving this project forward to additional phases. The auditorium in Yorktown seats hundreds, so please share far and wide! More on the web & Facebook.|
Hoosier Chapter initiates gift card program
We have a new fundraising option that we are now introducing: the Scrip program. This program is a way for you to buy gift cards online and a percentage of the sale goes to the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter. To learn more about the Scrip program visit this page.
Legislative session is underway; get your scorecard here!
All hands are on deck as the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly begins. Our priorities and concerns about the issues we face are detailed on our legislative page. We include a number of articles and commentaries pertinent to these issues. And a first for us: we have prepared a comprehensive scorecard of the 2013-2014 sessions of the General Assembly so you can see how your representatives and senators voted on our priorities in those sessions.
The Indiana Forest Alliance is proposing the establishment of thirteen Wild Areas across seven state forests. In the ongoing fight against unprecedented levels of commercial logging in Indiana’s state forests, this proposal is a strong first step towards restoring a balanced state forest management policy. Learn more about the Wild America Campaign and how you can help.
Groups seek relief for Duke's Edwardsport ripoff
Captive Hoosier ratepayers doled out nearly $400 million before Duke Energy’s Edwardsport coal gasification power plant delivered any net energy to the grid, according to testimony filed by a coalition of citizen groups before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Through the end of March 2014, consumers have paid in excess of $688 million for the scandal-ridden and problem-plagued power plant. Learn more in this news release.
The politics of midwestern meat
The modern meat industry has always been the subject of controversy. It is rare, however, for the various parties to come together in one room face-to-face, to discuss issues including sustainability, plant working conditions, immigration, nutrition, human health, animal welfare, and contract farming. A November 2014 forum featured a panel of speakers from Indiana and beyond with diverse and sometimes conflicting perspectives on these issues. They included representatives of the meat industry, labor unions, the sustainable farming movement, a state legislator, and an environmental activist. Watch video of the panel.
60 Minutes report on coal ash should alarm Hoosiers
Indianapolis Star: Were you alarmed after watching "60 Minutes" investigative report on the lack of regulations and massive ecological risks associated with coal-ash ponds? If you live in Indiana, you should be especially concerned. Indiana leads the nation in coal-ash ponds, and environmental groups say the state has experienced a troubling number of spills. Check out The Star's reporting on this issue from earlier this year. You might be surprised just how close coal-ash ponds are to Downtown Indianapolis and neighborhoods.
Get depleted uranium out of Jefferson Proving Grounds
Madison Courier: The U.S. government needs to be told in no uncertain terms that anything short of removing all of the depleted uranium from Jefferson Proving Ground is unacceptable. Read the editorial here.
Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General
Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year. Read more in the New York Times.
State: Dust? What Dust?
Indianapolis Star: A fine layer of gray dust coats nearly every surface in the parts of this Southwest Indiana town nearest the Bear Run Mine, the largest surface coal mine east of the Mississippi. Porches need frequent power-washing to clean away footprints in the powder. A day or two after washing a car, there's enough dust on its paint job to write "wash me." On particularly dusty nights, the beam from a flashlight looks as if it's penetrating fog. Read more here.
Churches save energy - and seek sun power
Many pastors urge their flocks to look to the heavens for spiritual power. Now, three Fort Wayne congregations will also look there for electrical power. Read about this in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.
Tea Party leader advocates for solar energy
Debbie Dooley, who co-founded the Atlanta Tea Party is spearheading a national push to challenge laws that provide monopoly control over electricity sales by regulated utilities. Dooley recently launched “Conservatives for Energy Freedom” in Florida. She is also working with the coalition of advocates aligned with the “Green Tea Coalition” principles in Virginia. Learn more about her efforts here.
Reward money to speak out against farm animal abuse
Whistleblowers in Indiana could earn a reward of up to $5,000 if their tip leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the abuse of farm animals. The Humane Society of the United States has just launched a national tip line where callers can report animal abuse at farms, slaughterhouses or livestock auctions. Read more here.
Columnist: Pence too hasty in rejecting EPA clean water rules
Indianapolis Star columnist, Erica Smith, took Governor Pence to task for his knee-jerk reaction to proposed EPA clean water guidelines. She writes: "Because here’s the truth: We need the EPA to demand more from us because we have a problem with clean water in Indiana. While Pence is busy doing a lot of fear-mongering about the EPA wanting new ways to control every “drop of water” that “touches the Earth,” our waterways are a mess under existing EPA rules. You can read the column here.
Carmel mayor, city honored for sustainability efforts
Sustainable Indiana 2016 and the Indiana Bicentennial Commission presented Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and the city of Carmel its esteemed Bicentennial Green Legacy Community Award recently at the Sustainable Living Seminar hosted by our partners at Carmel Green Initiative at the Carmel Clay Public Library. Read more on the Carmel Green Initiative's website.
Jon Stewart on Indiana Rep. Buschon and climate science
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart spotlights the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, including our own Rep. Larry Buschon and other climate deniers with this segment on Science 101. It is humorus and depressing at the same time. Take a look 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.
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:
- Sierra Club News Release
- The Hill: IPL Says It Will Switch Harding Street Plant To Natural Gas By 2016
- Fox59: IPL announces plans to phase out coal at Harding Street facility
- NUVO: Groups celebrate no more coal at Harding St.
- Indpls Star commentary: IPL’s decision to stop burning coal is answer to residents’ pleas
- Indiana NAACP Celebrates the End of Coal Burning in Indianapolis
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.
“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).
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.