Understanding the Issues
When people think of rural Indiana, they tend to think of rolling hillsides and sprawling cornfields – a place abundant in fresh air. Unfortunately, that isn’t an accurate picture. In fact, Indiana has some of the dirtiest air in all of America. And we have our fossil fuel dependency to thank for it.
You can’t see or even smell it in the air, but coal’s deleterious effects are impossible to miss when viewing national health statistics. Hoosiers now have the fifth highest risk of premature death from pollution.
With the proper investment in energy conservation, energy efficiency, distributed generation, combined heat and power technologies, and commercial-scale renewable energy resources, Indiana can meet future electricity demand at a lesser cost both to our pocketbooks and our health than our current approach.
Unfortunately, the entities that provide our electricity are largely sticking with coal as a source of energy. Now they’re championing something called “clean coal technology.” While it does reduce various types of air emissions, it fails to address other harmful aspects of the coal cycle, such as mining, transportation and power plant waste. In the end, it’s still too high a price to pay when other options are available, practical and affordable.
Soon, the price for our coal-dependency will be even higher. Because of expected federal legislation and regulatory safeguards, Indiana coal-burning companies will have to pay even more due to their high level of emissions. And those costs will be passed on to all Hoosiers. It’s time for Indiana to invest in clean energy sources at a much faster pace than planned. It’s the smart choice – for both our bodies and our bank accounts.