Web exclusive: Indiana tries to tackle its toxins


"Renewable electricity standard legislation introduced


Indiana is constantly rated at the top of the lists when it comes to unhealthy environments and carbon consumption. Now, people want to take action against the severe contamination of our state.

State Rep. Dave Crooks (D) hosted a bi-partisan meeting to discuss the benefits of renewable electricity at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

The press conference was held with the Indiana Coalition for Renewable Energy and Economic Development to discuss House Bill 1102, which aims to establish a Renewable Electricity Standard. The legislation is co-authored by Rep. John Ulmer (R).

The supporters of this legislation hope that by 2018, Indiana's investor owned utilities will provide 10 percent of their overall electric energy from renewable sources.

Crooks would rather see a number higher than 10 percent, but thinks that this is a good amount to "prod" the energy industry. He hopes that if we can embrace the mandate in a short amount of time, the legislation will be jump-started.

Grant Smith, executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition, thinks that this legislation could establish Indiana as a leader of reusable fuels and energy, and would help compensate for our recent low ratings.

Along with changing our reputation, the new legislation would help create a diverse economy and healthy environment, increase innovation and improve public health, according to Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Kharbanda asserted that all of these benefits would also keep with both Republican and Democratic values. By proposing legislation that both parties would approve of, the speakers at the press conference all seemed to agree that it was a very plausible case.

Other benefits would include new jobs and better incomes. According to Crooks, the legislation would "drive significant new investment in renewable energy such as wind and bio-power, creating good jobs, additional income for farmers and tax revenue for counties. An RES will, over time, also help protect ratepayers from rising energy costs and reduce Indiana's future liability under expected federal carbon regulations."