For release on: December 5, 2011

For more information contact:

Ryan Puckett, two21 LLC – ryan@two-21.com or 317-721-7221

Environmental Groups Merge to Advance Sustainability in Indiana

Hoosier Environmental Council and Legal Environmental Aid Foundation Become One Organization

INDIANAPOLIS  – The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) and the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation (LEAF) today announced that the two not-for-profits have merged and will continue operations as the Hoosier Environmental Council. Melding the strengths of the two groups, the merger will further advance finding solutions that will improve Indiana’s economy, quality of life for Hoosiers, and the environment.

HEC’s strength in environmental policy development and advocacy will be combined with LEAF’s expertise in providing  legal representation and assistance to communities trying to balance economic development and environmental protection. The merger will also enhance HEC’s reach in Northwest and North-Central Indiana, where LEAF predominantly works. Kim Ferraro, former LEAF Executive Director, will assume the role of Water and Agricultural Policy Director for HEC. HEC will open up a third office in Valparaiso, Ind., and HEC’s headquarters will remain in Indianapolis.

HEC will continue to focus on advocating for priorities that advance Indiana’s environment and business climate such as clean energy, 21st Century transportation systems and sustainable agriculture.

“Through previous successful partnerships, HEC and LEAF have discovered there is a great deal of synergy in our missions, staff, services to the public, and reach throughout the state of Indiana,” said Jesse Kharbanda, HEC Executive Director. “By joining forces, our organization will be able to better educate and advocate for solutions that better protect our air, water, and wilderness, while making our state more economically prosperous.”

“A balanced environmental policy that promotes sustainable development and environmental preservation is essential for improving quality of life among Hoosiers,” said Ferraro. “Combining our strengths will expand the capacity of our new organization to ensure public interests, not special interests, drive environmental policy and land use decisions which will make our state a better and safer place to live, work and play.”

For more information about the merger, visit hecweb.org/merger. A video about the merger is available at http://youtu.be/ol7hlIunK8g.

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