Event: Moving Indy "Beyond Coal" 

The Harding Street plant, downtown Indianapolis. - MARK LEE
  • The Harding Street plant, downtown Indianapolis.
  • Mark Lee

The first-ever campaign event for the Beyond Coal initiative will launch Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 11:30 a.m. on Monument Circle.

According to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal mission statement: "IPL's Indianapolis coal plant is located less than six miles from Monument Circle, exposing over 800,000 people living and working in central Indiana to thousands of tons of dangerous air pollutants every year. The Clean Air Task Force attributes 76 deaths, 120 heart attacks, and more than 1,300 asthma attacks to the plant's toxic emissions. But rather than investing in clean energy to replace its filthy plant, IPL expects ratepayers like you to fund multi-million dollar upgrades to its aging coal fleet."

Instead, Beyond Coal hopes IPL will invest in safe, clean, renewable energy.

Sierra Club is not alone in their criticism of the Harding Street plant. According to a recent report by the NAACP, "75 coal plants in the United States [received] a 'failing' grade on their environmental justice scorecard."

Harding Street is among those 75 plants that got an "F."

The NAACP report, entitled Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People, analyzes "sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions in conjunction with demographic factors –race, income, and population density – to rank the environmental justice performance of the nation's 378 coal fired power plants."

The report finds that the "top ten coal-energy-producing states [that includes Indiana] -- have an average lung cancer rate of 98.3 per 100,000 (or 19% higher than the U.S. average)"

At the event on Wednesday, thousands of petitions will be delivered to IPL Headquarters (1 Monument Circle), and lots of information will be available to learn more about this effort. Speakers include Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition and Rev. T. Wyatt Watkins, Co-Pastor, Cumberland FBC, Indianapolis, Board Chair for Educational Programming, Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light.

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