A two year movement to put an end to the burning of coal at the Harding Street power plant has resulted in victory, as Indianapolis Power & Light has agreed to phase out the use of coal. This is an enormous victory for the residents and community groups who have led this campaign. According to the EPA, the Harding Street power plant was responsible for 88% of the toxic industrial pollution in Marion County in 2012. It is also the biggest contributor to sulfur dioxide and soot pollution in Marion County. The plan to cease burning coal at the plant is a huge environmental and public health victory for residents of Indianapolis.
“For the past two years, thousands of Indianapolis residents have demanded clean air for our community. They have signed petitions and postcards, rallied on the steps of Monument Circle and at the Indiana State Museum, and urged their City-County Councillors to call on IPL to stop burning coal at the Harding Street plant. More than 55 churches, neighborhood associations, student groups, and many other organizations have passed resolutions urging IPL to power our city forward with clean energy and put an end to toxic coal pollution in Indianapolis. Today, those calls have been answered and we’ll see an end to coal pollution in Marion County by 2016,” said Jodi Perras, from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.
“Today’s remarkable announcement means that the people of Central Indiana will breathe cleaner air and that our region will be contributing substantially less climate-disrupting pollution. Our gratitude to the Sierra Club for its tireless leadership and to many partners. And our appreciation to IPL for making a wise decision to move past coal burning in Indianapolis. Now IPL has an opportunity before it to substantially strengthen its commitment to sustainability by converting its dirty, largely unlined coal ash waste lagoons to safe, monitored, and lined landfills,” said Jesse Kharbanda, HEC’s Executive Director.
This announcement marks the 177th coal-fired power plant slated for retirement in the country as well as the 500th coal-fired boiler to be retired since 2010.
One of HEC’s largest concerns with the Harding Street plant was the large amount of coal ash that is the byproduct of burning coal for fuel; please click here to access our full report.