Hoosier Environmental Council hires new leader 

Jesse Kharbanda looks to work "across party lines"

Jesse Kharbanda, 30, joins the Hoosier Environmental Council this week as its new executive director. Kharbanda comes to HEC by way of Chicago and the Environmental Law and Policy Center, where he worked to build support among agricultural, clean energy and economic development organizations throughout the Midwest to support provisions in the Federal Energy and Federal Farm Bills. He also helped craft rural-focused clean energy legislation

“Indiana is often called the Crossroads of America and it truly is at a crossroads environmentally speaking,” Kharbanda said. “We’d like to work across party lines to pass legislation that will put Indiana on a decidedly new course of much greater use of clean, low-carbon energy resources.

“Neighboring states like Illinois have made tremendous strides in this direction, and so should Indiana. It is a matter of billions in new investment and thousands of new jobs. Economic development that well prepares for the challenge of global warming is possible as dozens of states are showing,” he said.

In addition to his work at ELPC and his new position at HEC, Kharbanda continues to serve as a member of the Executive Committee of the Indiana Coalition for Renewable Energy and Economic Development. The group has testified before Indiana legislative study committees and legislative standing committees, and has individually briefed dozens of legislators on renewable energy issues, and is expected to do so again in the upcoming legislative session.

As a graduate of both Oxford University, where he received an advanced degree in development economics as a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Chicago, with undergraduate degrees in economics and environmental studies, Kharbanda brings both real world and academic experience.

Kharbanda’s broader priorities in his new position at HEC include fostering deeper collaborations with business, economic development, agricultural and nonprofit groups; increasing communications with its statewide membership through a new Web site, monthly electronic newsletter and member surveys; and developing a new strategic plan.

A statewide nonprofit membership organization, HEC and its members are dedicated to protecting Indiana’s environment and advancing the development of clean energy sources that do not contribute to global warming.

Working through education, advocacy and citizen empowerment in Indiana to protect and restore the natural systems upon which life depends, HEC asks Hoosiers to embrace a conservation ethic that values long-term sustainable use and preservation of our natural heritage in the hope that Indiana will become a leader in creating livable urban and rural communities that provide basic needs of life: clean air and water, safe food and thriving natural areas.

For more information on the Hoosier Environmental Council, go to www.hecweb.org.

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