The Issues

Sustainable Economy

HEC has long sought solutions that are good for the economy and good for the environment. We focus on helping to reduce barriers for economic sectors that, by their nature, will be engines for jobs and better for our air, water, and climate.   For more than a decade, HEC has been very focused on advancing sustainable energy, like solar power, and sustainable transportation, like mass transit.   And climate initiatives, in general, present new economic opportunities for farmers, forest owners, energy efficiency professionals, and more.   Achieving democracy reform – like ending gerrymandering – is key to having elected officials who have the foresight to realize the economic promise of sectors like sustainable energy.

Sustainable Energy

Indiana has the potential to be a sustainable energy leader in the U.S. — creating jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency, while reducing our state’s significant carbon footprint.

We’ve experienced significant progress on both fronts. Indiana has nearly 84,000 jobs in clean energy (Clean Energy Trust, 2018).   Indiana’s dependency on coal for its electricity — the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. — has gone down from 85.5% to 64.6% in just nine years (IURC, 2017).

That said, Indiana trails fellow Industrial Midwest states on a variety of state sustainable energy public policies and has ranked #1 in the Industrial Midwest in terms of carbon emissions per capita (EIA, 2015).

HEC supports, and actively advocates for, public policies that facilitate investment in utility-scale renewable energy, customer-owned renewable energy, and energy efficiency.  Dedicated public policy in these areas, with an eye towards stabilizing and reducing energy bills for Hoosiers, would enable Indiana to be a better magnet for clean energy jobs and improve our state’s public health standing as well.  In that vein, HEC is urging the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force to provide serious consideration of energy efficiency, solar energy, and sustainable forms of combined heat and power as they begin their multi-month process of forming recommendations for Indiana’s energy policy future.

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Sustainable Transportation

A more sustainable transportation system for Indiana means more transportation choices for travelers and commuters…

…public transit for our metropolitan areas, intercity passenger rail or bus service connecting our communities, and widespread availability of trails and greenways for active transportation and recreation. It also means more efficient use of our land and natural resources, energy savings, and reduced global warming-causing carbon emissions.

 

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Climate Action

As Hoosiers, we have a particularly tough challenge before us. Indiana has ranked seventh nationally – and first in the Midwest – for greenhouse gas emissions per capita. (U.S. DOE) Indianapolis was ranked as having the 2nd highest carbon footprint among all major metro areas. (Brookings)

While Indiana has seen several aging coal plant units shut down and has made some major investments in utility-scale solar energy, Indiana has made some significant investments that increase Indiana’s carbon footprint:

  • The Edwardsport Coal Gasification plant is projected to emit 4 million tons of CO2/year.  It’s the largest advanced coal plant in the country, with no firm commitments to carbon controls.
  • The British Petroleum Refinery expansion is projected to emit 5.8 million tons of CO2/year.  It’s our state’s largest oil refinery, and has no plan to control carbon emissions.

HEC is working on a variety of initiatives, at the state and federal level, to reduce our carbon footprint.

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Democracy Reform

If the legislature better reflected the full diversity of Indiana’s citizens, we would likely see environmental public policy that would be more protective of those vulnerable to toxic air and water risks.

Getting to a more representative body will require a number of democracy reforms. HEC has been focused on helping to tackle the long-standing problem of gerrymandering.

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