When members of the national Sierra Club gather for their annual awards celebration, Indianapolis city-county councillor Zach Adamson will be on the dais among the honorees.

The Sierra Club selected Adamson for its 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award. The award honors persons in public service for a particular action of singular importance to the environment. Adamson will receive the award for his work with the local Beyond Coal campaign in their efforts to influence Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) to stop burning coal at the Harding Street power station.

Adamson led a bipartisan effort to draft Resolution 241 encouraging the city’s electric utility to stop burning coal and invest in cleaner renewable energy at the power station by 2020. The city-county council was scheduled to pass the resolution when IPL announced the plant would convert the facility to natural gas by 2016.

“The Sierra Club award for distinguished achievement is a great honor,” says Adamson. “I'm thankful the committee has recognized the efforts of most of all, the many residents, faith communities and businesses who came together to fight for cleaner air in our city.”

The public health hazards directly linked to the plant’s emissions fueled Adamson’s involvement in the Beyond Coal campaign. Environmental Protection Agency data from 2012 determined 88 percent of Marion County’s industrial toxic emissions originated from the Harding Street plant. In 2014, The American Lung Association ranked Indianapolis 16th in the nation for the worst short-term particle pollution.

“The air quality in Indianapolis consistently ranks among the worst in the nation,” says Adamson. “With this new step to stop burning coal in the city limits, starting in 2016, we'll all breath a lot easier.”

The Sierra Club will present Adamson with the award at a ceremony September 12 in San Francisco. 

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