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Indy rallies against IPL coal-fired plant

Indy rallies against IPL coal-fired plant

Inflatable InhalerMore than 100 gathered at the Indiana State Museum on June 1st urging that Indianapolis Power & Light close the Harding Street power plant on the south side of Indianapolis.  “88% of the toxic emissions in Marion County come from that Harding Street plant,” said Sierra Club's Jodi Perras.  “We want to see IPL retire that plant as soon as possible.” Read more at Fox59's website.

Conflict? What Conflict?

Conflict? What Conflict?

Conflict of InterestIn Indiana, the line between legislator and lobbyist has always been a narrow one. Sometimes, the line doesn't exist at all. An example concerns the extraordinary efforts Indiana has taken to create a market for the proposed coal-to-gas plant in Rockport (a market the business & utility communities steered clear of). Rep. Matt Ubelhor is a coal mine manager for Peabody Energy, which owns five of Southwestern Indiana’s biggest mining complexes including Bear Run. Senate Utility Chairman Jim Merritt is the vice president of corporate affairs for the Indiana Rail Road Co., which spent $17 million to build a spur to Peabody’s Bear Run mine and negotiated an exclusive deal to haul its coal. Read more in this Evansville Courier & Press article. It helps explain why fossil fuel polluters fare so well in the Indiana General Assembly.

Why Fossil Fuel Interests are Trashing Renewables

WindmillWhy Fossil Fuel Interests are Trashing Renewables

"Renewable power is being attacked not because it has failed or is too expensive but because it works and has become a threat financially to fossil fuel and nuclear interests," concludes Grant Smith in a recent article. Smith, senior energy policy analyst to the Civil Society Institute and a board member of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, notes the flawed data used by ALEC and others attacking the fast growing renewable energy sector. You may read the article here.

Milestone settlement for public health in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio

Milestone settlement for public health in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio

Beyond Coal logoToday a coalition of citizen groups, including the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter,  states and U.S. EPA announced a landmark settlement agreement with American Electric Power (AEP) requiring AEP to stop burning coal by 2015 at three power plants in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. AEP also agreed to replace a portion of these coal plants with new wind and solar investments in Indiana and Michigan, bringing more clean energy on line to meet the region’s electricity needs. Read more about this victory here.

IU Study: Rockport project to negatively impact state GDP by up to $1.4B, limit job growth

IU Study: Rockport project to negatively impact  state GDP by up to $1.4B, limit job growth

Cover, IU StudyIn a public hearing held before the Indiana Senate Utilities Committee recently, faculty from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Indiana Business Research Center at the Kelley School of Business testified that if the Rockport substitute natural gas (SNG) project moves forward as proposed, it will negatively impact the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) by up to $1.4 billion and, assuming residential and commercial consumers bear the burden of SNG losses, could cost Indiana up to 1,800 jobs per year from 2017 through 2025. The complete report can be accessed at

13 Investigates: Indiana's Toxic Air

13 Investigates: Indiana's Toxic Air

WTHR InvestigatesFrom WTHR TV News in Indianapolis: "Indiana has a earned a dirty reputation as one of the worst states in the nation for air pollution.  But is that reputation justified?  As the debate over Hoosier air quality rages across the state, 13 Investigates has learned several cities and towns in Indiana are about to fail an important part of the Environmental Protection Agency's air safety rules. 13 Investigates where the state's air pollution is coming from, what's really coming out all those Indiana smokestacks, and whether the state is doing enough to protect our air." See the video here.

Get a free home energy assessment

Get a free home energy assessment

Energizing IndianaA free home energy assessment can help you lower energy bills, improve in-home air quality and increase your home's value. Signing up for such an assessment from Energizing Indiana (EI) can also help the Sierra Club (we receive $25 from EI for each qualified applicant we recruit that completes the assessment). To learn more and to sign up, click this link. Return the form to the Hoosier Chapter (by email or at 1100 W 42nd St., #140, Indianapolis, IN 46208) or to Energize Indiana. Email us if you have questions.

IPL's Addiction

End IPL's Coal Addiction

IPL's Indianapolis coal plant is located less than six miles from Monument Circle, exposing over 800,000 people living and working in central Indiana to thousands of tons of dangerous air pollutants every year. The Clean Air Task Force attributes 76 deaths, 120 heart attacks, and more than 1,300 asthma attacks to the plant's toxic emissions. But rather than investing in clean energy to replace its filthy plant, IPL expects ratepayers like you to fund multi-million dollar upgrades to its aging coal fleet. Tell IPL that Indianapolis deserves a clean energy economy, not a dirty coal plant that pollutes our air and threatens our health!

Power companies must meet the efficiency challenge

Power companies must meet the efficiency challenge

Read Bowden Quinn’s January 2013 article in Indiana Living Green Magazine. Bowden, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, urges utilities in Indiana to get serious about energy efficiency.

Indiana Sustainable Natural Resources final report issued

Indiana Sustainable Natural Resources final report issued

Indiana WildlifeThe Indiana Sustainable Natural Resources Task Force is charged with duties including the collection of information concerning current natural resource protection programs in Indiana, performing a needs assessment concerning natural resource programs in Indiana, and the collection of information on natural resource protection in other states, particularly states bordering Indiana. To learn more and to see the final report of the task force, click here.

Ratepayers oppose paying for Duke's cost overruns

Ratepayers oppose paying for Duke's cost overruns

According to our recent poll in Indiana, Duke Energy ratepayers strongly oppose paying for cost overruns at the Edwardsport coal gasification plant. In contrast, ratepayers express strong support for expanding the use of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind energy, in Indiana, and they want Indiana utility companies to invest more in wind power. Read more about our poll here. Also, read our new report “The Edwardsport IGCC Plant: a monument to cost overruns, concealment, mismanagement and malfeasance

Edwardsport White Paper

Mercury in the water

logo of Indiana Living Green magazineMercury in the water

"The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has found a way to reduce the number of Indiana water bodies impaired by mercury-laden fish. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with removing the mercury." --From Indiana Living Green magazine, read this column by Bowden Quinn, our Conservation Director.

Bowden Quinn: Cherish the River

Bowden Quinn: Cherish the River

Bowden QuinnSierra Club Hoosier Chapter's Conservation Director, Bowden Quinn, writes in the September issue of Indiana Living Green magazine about the importance of the our White River. Althought water quality progress is being made, says Quinn, "For the most part the river is still a neglected resource in Indianapolis. Click to see the article (on page 21) and the magazine online.

"The Road to Ruin"

"The Road to Ruin"

Indianapolis MonthlyIndianapolis Monthly magazine published Philip Gulley's essay on the extension of I-69 through southern Indiana in its August issue. "I would never in a million years ask a man to surrender his family farm to save me a handful of minutes on my journey from Indianapolis to Evansville..." writes Gulley. Take a look at the article.

Clean Water Act violations rising, seldom punished in Indiana

Clean Water Act violations rising, seldom punished

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette published an impotant article in August. Take a look. "Enforcing clean water: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says 73 percent of Indiana facilities with permits under the Clean Water Act broke that law in 2009. But of those 1,194 violators, only 400 faced any kind of enforcement actions. And of those, none paid any financial penalties that year, according to the agency."

Hoosier generates his own power

Hoosier generates his own power

sunshineMarvin Bartel's two solar collectors not only provide him with all of his own electricity, they also provide him with extra income. His excess energy is sold back to the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. at the end of every month through the company's tariff buy-back program. The Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter collaborated with the NIPSCO clean energy initiative. Read about Marvin Bartel's project in the Elkhart Truth.

Hoosier Chapter Endorses Candidates

Hoosier Chapter Endorses Candidates

voteAs you cast your vote in the November election, we urge you to consider the environment. Only by electing candidates who understand the importance of environmental protection do we have a chance of leaving the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. As part of the broad-based work of the Sierra Club in Indiana, we offer to you some thoughts on candidates we think stand apart from the crowd. Click to visit our political pages.

Indiana's Inadequacy on Impaired Waters

Indiana's Fish Tell No Tales 

WaterLike many other Indiana waterways, the White River contains fish that have tested positive for a wide variety of contaminants. Recent articles on Indiana's “Impaired Water List” have appeared around the state.  Concern about the quality of our waterways is not new. But Hoosiers should be increasingly worried that the state has become passive about the problem. The Sierra Club's Bowden Quinn calls it a longstanding pattern of inaction among Indiana regulators, who would rather blame others than actually doing something to get toxins out of the state's waterways. Read about these problems here:

"There are no losers in this agreement"

"There are no losers in this agreement"

BP logo"It's one of those rare moments when environmental activists are on the same page with the oil refiners," wrote Mark Kiesling, columnist at The Times of Northwest Indiana. BP has agreed to pay about $420 million in fines and new equipment at its Whiting oil refinery to reduce air pollutants by about 4,000 tons per year. The settlement shows that environmental regulation and economic expansion are compatible. "This has been a job generator, not a job killer," said Steve Francis, chairman of the Sierra Club's Hoosier Chapter. "This means lessened health impacts, respiratory problems and more construction jobs." Read more here:

Encore planned for Outings Leader Training

outdoorsEncore planned for Outings Leader Training

Due to the success of the Spring 2012 outings training, our group in Bloomington hopes to conduct OLT 101 again periodically.  If you are interested in learning more about the training contact the chapter office. To learn more about the many fine outings of the Bloomington Sierra Club Group, visit their Facebook page.

IBJ: "Coal in the Crosshairs"

IBJ: "Coal in the Crosshairs"

IBJ.comThe Indianapolis Business Journal recently featured the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign's ramped-up efforts in Indiana. Two new BCC staffers joined with us in our Indiana Sierra Club office: Dave Menzer and Megan Anderson. You can learn about their work in this IBJ article (this might take a moment to load).

Zombie Power: The Boondoggle that Won't Die

Zombie Power: The Boondoggle that Won't Die

Zombies Ahead“It refuses to die. Just when you think you’ve won and daylight’s coming, there’s another wave of zombies,” said Indiana attorney Jerry Polk regarding a New York company’s proposal for a coal gasification plant in Rockport, as reported in Midwest Energy News. “Now that natural gas prices have plunged, many utilities and consumer watchdogs say the coal gasification plants make no sense,” the publication reports. "But the Rockport plant is moving forward with support from Gov. Mitch Daniels and other political leaders. Opponents are fighting back, calling it governmental interference in markets and an injustice for ratepayers.” Read the article here.

Two new factsheets about the Hoosier Chapter

New PublicationsTwo new factsheets about the Hoosier Chapter

The Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter released two new factsheets recently. "A Brief Look at the Hoosier Chapter" talks about the Sierra Club in Indiana and details recent accomplishments. "Donor Opportunities in 2012" provides a menu of options for contributors who are able to financially assist our work in Indiana. Of course, both of these factsheets will remain works in progress!

Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?

Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?

Pew TrustsThe global clean energy race offers insight to the leading indicators of innovation, commercialization, manufacturing and installation of renewable power technologies. The investment and finance data presented in the Pew Clean Energy Program's new report, Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2011 Edition, show that countries are jockeying for a leadership position in this growing and increasingly competitive sector. Countries with clear, consistent and constructive clean energy policies are powering investment forward. Read more here.

Americans Want Clean, Affordable Energy

Americans Want Clean, Affordable Energy

According to a new survey, a majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats agree they'd like Congress to work on an energy policy that supports renewable energy, protects public health and promotes energy independence. The survey, taken in March, sampled 506 men and 513 women in private households across the country. See the results on the Civil Society Institute website.

People should be green-but not lakes

People should be green-but not lakes!

Phosphorus StreetIf you are around Indiana lakes in the summer you may have seen it: the green scum on the surface of the water. At best, the scum is unsightly. At worst, it is unhealthy and even dangerous for people and other animals to be in the water. Nutrients, especially phosphorus, are key causes. The most common source of nutrients is runoff of fertilizer from lawns and agricultural fields. You can help reduce the problem by making sure that any lawn fertilizer you use is free of phosphorus. Learn more in the next issue of the Indiana Sierran, due out later this spring. Click on cartoon to enlarge (and special thanks to artist Paul Sharp).

A Clean Water Victory in Indiana!

A Clean Water Victory in Indiana!

clean waterEnvironmentalists won an important victory for clean water with the adoption of a statewide antidegradation rule yesterday. Industry fought hard against the rule but we prevailed. Thanks to many of you who contacted water board members to urge them to support the rule. Environmentalists have been working since 2002 to get a statewide antidegradation rule passed. While the adopted rule has weaknesses, overall it's very good, as indicated by industry's opposition. But the devil is in the details. The rule allows IDEM a lot of leeway in performing its antidegradation reviews and we will have to stay involved to make sure they are being done properly. Here is an article about the new rule.

Mr. Green's Cool Home Checklist

Mr. GreenMr. Green's Cool Home Checklist

This list may be a helpful handout for you. It gives simple suggestions for saving energy in the home. Take a look!

Keystone Pipeline

Stop the PipelineKeystone Pipeline distortions featured in Indiana Ads

Hoosiers have been subjected to much misinformation about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline in recent political ads. We are likely to see more such propaganda. Here is a brief rebuttle.

2012 Conservation Day at the Statehouse

2012 Conservation Day at the Statehouse

Conservation Day at the Indiana Stathouse-2012We must admit that we do not have incredibly high hopes for this session of the Indiana General Assembly. Nevertheless we will support positive legislation - and defend against the not so good. Tuesday, January 24, 2012 was Conservation Day at the Statehouse. Along with partners in the Indiana Conservation Alliance we met with legislators - and brainstormed with one another. Our efforts will continue throughout the legislative session - and the year. Stay tuned.

Richard C. Smith, Sierra Club Friend

Richard C. Smith, Sierra Club friend, passes away

Richard SmithRick Smith, Noblesville, passed away a few days after 2012 began. Friends remembered him as a wonderful guy who was passionate about his family, the outdoors, and the environment in general. Rick battled cancer in the last eighteen months of his 64 years. Upon his passing, Rick and his family asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Sierra Club. We are grateful for those contributions and for the passion behind them. We will strive to make sure that the work these contributions support is work that would make Rick proud. For information about tribute donations or planned giving, please contact us.

Richard Hill receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Richard Hill, Madison, IndianaRichard Hill receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Richard Hill, a longtime environmental activist in Indiana and an executive committee member of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, is winner of the Hoosier Environmental Council's 2011 HEC Lifetime Achievement Award, named in honor of Robert Klawitter. From Madison, Hill's award is in recognition of his many years of dedication to southern Indiana, including leadership of Save the Valley, protecting the Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, safeguarding Hoosiers from factory farms and coal ash, successfully fighting the problem-plagued Marble Hill nuclear plant, among other battles. Richard received the award in December 2011 at HEC's 4th Annual Greening the Statehouse Forum. We are very proud of and grateful for Richard.

Prairie Reconstruction at Newport

Photo by Phillip CoxPrairie Reconstruction at Newport

By Phillip Cox: "Tallgrass prairie reconstruction at the U.S. Army’s Newport Chemical Depot began in 1994. Inspiration for this project was garnered from a 1993 ... flora survey and subsequent 1994 report which stated: “A large acreage of the southwestern portion of Newport Army Ammunition Plant was formerly mesic silt loam prairie..." Learn more about Prairie Reconstruction at Newport.

Sierra Club Supports Utility's Green Energy Program

Sierra Club Supports Utility's Green Energy Program

clean energyAn Indiana utility that promotes alternative energy? Yes! “This is an exciting moment for northern Indiana with NIPSCO customers, businesses and organizations coming together to support renewable energy,” said Chair of the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club Steve Francis. “The Sierra Club strongly supports NIPSCO’s clean energy initiatives, with the good jobs that go with them, and will continue to collaborate with NIPSCO to move Indiana towards a clean energy future.” Here are several articles:

Indiana Making Slow Progress on Energy Efficiency

Indiana Making Slow Progress on Energy Efficiency

building codesWith the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission’s approval of a new residential building energy code in November 2011, Indiana has taken a great leap forward in promoting energy efficiency. The new code replaces a 1992 version. We are now among more than 20 states that have adopted standards equivalent to the benchmark 2009 International Energy Efficiency Code. But our work is just beginning...

Protecting Indiana's Waters

Protecting Indiana's Waters

Our friends and partners at the Environmental Law & Policy Center have created this excellent website on water issues in Indiana - and how you can make a difference. Take a look by clicking here.

Special Outing: A Gathering of Cranes

Sandhill CranePOSTPONED: Special Outing: A Gathering of Cranes

Our Winding Waters group, which plans to co-host with HEC A Gathering of Cranes at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge near Seymour, reports the outing is postponed. Warm fall weather has slowed the sandhill cranes’ southern migration, and as a result the birds have not arrived yet at Muscatatuck. We are rescheduling for a new date soon. Please watch the HEC website for updates. See our calendar for other events.

Hearings on Duke's Edwardsport plant are underway

Edwardsport Hearings begin (click to enlarge)Hearings on Duke's Edwardsport plant are underway

Duke Energy's chairman will be on the hot seat this week as he tries to convince Indiana regulators that his company managed the troubled Edwardsport power plant competently and did not conceal vital information. However, information is certainly being concealed from the public in this scandal-ridden case. Attend the hearings if you can! Here are a few news links from the Indianapolis Star concerning the case:

Shine a light on this rate case!

Electricity MeterShine a light on I&M's rate case!

Are you an I&M ratepayer? You will want to read this opinion piece from the South Bend Tribune (published 10/6/11). It offers thoughts about I&M's proposed 22.7 percent increase in residential rates. The editorial also provides a link where you may comment on the propsed increase to regulators.

Newport: Indiana prairie’s last best chance

Newport: Indiana prairie’s last best chance

Indiana writer Steven Higgs wrote an outstanding piece on the prairie restoration battle taking place at what was once the Newport Chemical Depot. "As federal, state and local officials planned the Newport depot's future, [Phil] Cox, who is a vice president for both the Wabash Valley Audubon Society and Ouabache Land Conservancy, tirelessly campaigned for the prairie's future. But he quickly found the power structure cast jaundiced eyes upon him and his supporters.... Read the article in Nuvo here.

Carmel student wins Jane Goodall award

Carmel student Lauren Gibson wins Jane Goodall award

Jane Goodall & Lauren GibsonCarmel High School student Lauren Gibson received a Global Leadership Award from world-renowned primatologist, conservationist, and humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodall at a ceremony in Hollywood, California on September 24, 2011. The award recognized Lauren for her efforts to empower youth in environmental activism through the Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant program and through Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots youth leadership councils. Read more here. Congratulations, Lauren! We are proud of you.

Faith groups can help save the planet

Faith groups can help save the planet

HIPL logoIn Indiana, as well as other states, faith groups are joining the battle to save the earth. As Mark Wolfe said in an Indianapolis Star column, "The call to stewardship is strong, but the environmental degradation of recent years has been even stronger. As we continue to pollute, nature is aggressively striking back." Earlier this year, faith groups launched a new organization to help congregations and followers interested in greening their congregations, homes and planet. Learn more about Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light by clicking the link.

Study ranks air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants

Study ranks air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants

“Nearly half of all toxic air pollution reported from industrial sources nationwide comes from coal- and oil-fired power plants, the largest industrial source of toxic air pollution in 28 states and the District of Columbia.” This is a finding of a study released by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Read more here.

Eagle Program Delights Festival in Decatur

Eagle Program Delights Kekionga Festival in Decatur

Kekionga Festival Eagle ProgramOver 500 students from several Indiana cities were among those to learn about the bald eagle at this year's Kekionga Festival in Decatur. The eagle program was sponsored by the Hoosier Chapter's Conservation Seed Grant program and was organized by Carole Macklin.

Interview with Blue Green Alliance Regional Manager

Interview with Blue Green Alliance Regional Manager

Tom Conway, Program Manager for the Indiana Blue Green Alliance, was recently interviewed by the Post-Tribune. “For years, there was this misnomer that labor unions and environmental organizations were against each other, that the environmentalists were always trying to put everybody out of work, and labor was only interested in jobs and not protecting the environment. That’s not true." Read more here.

Coal ash raises health and environmental concerns

Coal ash raises health and environmental concerns

Coal Ash photo via Valley WatchOne inevitable by-product of burning coal is toxic ash. In July, Kentucky Public Radio did a story on dangers of coal ash in Kentucky. The same is true for Indiana - even more so. Coal waste is already poisoning Indiana communities. See (or hear) the Kentucky Public Radio story here. Click the photo for more information from our partners at Valley Watch.

Power demand from US homes is falling

Power demand from US homes is falling

Contrary to forecasts from utility executives and backers of new power plants, demand for electricity is well below what had been expected. Energy efficiency efforts, from better designed products to more efficient buildings, are making a difference. Read more from the Associated Press here.

NE Indiana Sierra Club Group establishes Facebook Page

NE Indiana Sierra Club Group establishes Facebook Page

NE IndianaProspective leaders are coming forward to help establish a Sierra Club presence in the greater Fort Wayne area. Outdoor and conservation activities are expected to be among the highlights for the new group. Are you from NE Indiana or do you have friends there? Help us out. For time being, we will use a new Facebook page to spread the word.

Court Confirms that the EPA Has Responsibility to Protect Americans from Coal Pollution

Court: EPA Has Responsibility to Protect Americans from Coal Pollution

On June 20th the U.S. Supreme Court strongly reaffirmed its finding that carbon dioxide is an air pollutant subject to control under the Clean Air Act and explained that the task of protecting Americans from power plant pollution falls to the Environmental Protection Agency. In response Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, issued this statement.

Tritium leaks found at many nuke plant

Tritium leaks found at many nuke plant

Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows. Read more here.

Link Between Climate & Severe Weather?

A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!

Interesting column in the Washington Post by Bill McKibbon: “Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing. ...” Read it here on the Post's web site.

NIPSCO Feed-In Tariff

RenewablesAgreement Will Increase Renewable Energy Use in Northern Indiana

In a victory for clean energy in Indiana, Sierra Club and its allies have reached an agreement with Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) that will greatly expand the use of renewable energy sources in the state. "We feel that this will put Indiana on the map as a model for distributed renewable generation in the Midwest while also creating good jobs in the renewable power sector," said Steve Francis, state chairman of the Hoosier chapter of the Sierra Club. Read more here.

Farmers Market Info

Find the nearest farmers market

One of the best places to find fresh produce is a farmers market. You can get fruits and vegetables that have just been picked. It also helps support your local economy and is good for the environment (since goods don't have to be transported from afar). Check out this tool for Farmers Market Search from the USDA.

Sierra Club Supports Labor

March 10th Rally PhotoSierra Club Supports Workers in Indiana

Hoosier Chapter members were among the thousands of others rallying at the Indiana Statehouse on March 10th in support of labor, including collective bargaining rights. Why is this an environmental issue? Read what Sierra Club national director Michael Brune says about this in the Huffington Post.

Recycling Info Site for Indiana

indianarecycles.orgNew Recycling Info Website for Indiana

A new website with comprehensive recycling information for Hoosiers was announced recently by the Indiana Recycling Coalition. The site can be found at

Hoosiers Want Renewable Energy

Wind PowerHoosiers Want Renewable Energy

A recent poll says that Hoosiers show strong and bipartisan support for increasing wind farm development in the state through the passage of legislation calling for 10 percent of electricity sold in Indiana to come from renewable energy by 2020. Yet each time renewable energy standard legislation is introduced in the General Assembly, legislators cave in to utility lobbyists who insist that "clean" coal an nuclear power should be defined as "renewable." Read more about the poll.

It’s All About the Green Thing

It's All About the Green Thing

"In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing  back in my day.” That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back her day...." Read more from the San Leandro Times.

Recent News, Events & Commentary

New!Recent News, Events, & Commentary... 

There's so much news, events & commentary of interest that we created a page that makes it easier to update you. Take a look at the page here. This page will be updated periodically. Please check back!

2011 Legislative Session

Indiana Statehouse2011 Legislative Session: Issues, Actions & Articles

Take a look at some of the issues we have an eye on in the 2011 session of the Indiana General Assembly. We will update this periodically: 2011 Legislative Issues page. Our volunteers and lobbyists are actively involved in this session - as always.

Purdue Faces the Future

Purdue Cancels Coal Boiler!

Purdue UniversityPurdue University cancelled plans for a new campus coal boiler, making the project the 150th to be defeated or abandoned since the beginning of the coal rush in 2001. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, challenged the air permit granted for the new coal boiler and campaigned to get Purdue to use its engineering expertise for cleaner, more modern approaches to producing energy.

"We congratulate them," said Bowden Quinn, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter's conservation program coordinator. "We feel this is a bridge. There are still problems with natural gas. But this is a decision to move away from coal and find alternatives." For more, see this article in Lafayette's Journal & Courier -- and also this news release from national Sierra Club.

Energy in Indiana


Energy in Indiana: Dirty

Stop Edwardsport-

The way we produce most of our energy in Indiana, via coal, is dirty. It's dirty to mine, dirty to burn, unhealthy for Hoosiers who live and work downwind of power plants, and it is worsening climate chaos. Now we've learned what we've long suspected: that the politics and regulation of energy in Indiana is also toxic. Utilities, created for the public good, have turned the tables: through cozy relationships with policymakers and regulators, many utilities are showing clearly who they wish to benefit. Guess who? And guess who is paying the cost? You will have a rare chance, however, to make your voice heard. Learn more here.

Hoosier Author Writes on Utility Scandal

Hoosier Author Writes on Utility Scandal

Huffington Post (12/2): Indiana and Duke Energy Officials Bantered While Ratepayers Picked Up the Tab - "DrawinEdwardsport Plant (photo by Carol Polsgrove)g on hundreds of emails, the Indianapolis Star is providing Indiana with the most unsavory political drama it has seen for a while: the romance between Duke Energy officials and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission." Read this article here.

Huffington Post (11/18): Mitch Daniels's Presidential Prospects Could Be Dimmed by Power Plant Scandal - "Anyone who thinks Indiana's Republican Governor Mitch Daniels should run for president hasn't paid much attention to the dark cloud hanging over Duke Energy's new coal gasification plant -- a massive industrial complex rising up at the edge of the tiny town of Edwardsport, Indiana." Read this article here.

Taking heat for utility oversight

IURC-DUKE by Lisa Maidenberg

Taking heat for utility oversight

The ethics scandal surrounding the unofficial "merger" of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and Duke Energy was the subject of an editorial in the Indianapolis Star on 11/23/10. We recommend taking a look at it here.

Hoosier Chapter Endorses Candidates

Vote!Hoosier Chapter Endorses Candidates

For the first time in several years, the Hoosier Chapter made endorsements of candidates in the 2010 general election. To find out more, click here

Coal Waste Issue Crucial to Hoosiers

Coal Waste Issue Crucial to Hoosiers

Banner at Louisville hearing siteHoosiers, among other Midwesterners, are making their feelings on coal waste known to the EPA. In hearings and through other means, the EPA is receiving comments about whether and how to regulate coal ash – the waste that is accumulating in lagoons near coal plants around the nation. Coal waste, with its toxic contents, is what inundated people in the Tennessee Valley in December 2008 when a faulty lagoon failed. Learn more about this issue and why it is especially important to Hoosiers. Click here to learn more.

I-69 Threatens Endangered Species


I-69 Threatens Endangered Species

We are glad to share this Huffington Post article with you, written by Carol Polsgrove, one of our own members: "Of all the obstacles that ought to stop construction of Interstate 69 through southern Indiana, one of the most impressive is the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Wildlife Management Area. A sliver of nature on a north-south flyway for migrating birds, the 16-year-old refuge has become a stopover point for endangered whooping cranes and ...." Read article here

Clean Coal Dream a Costly Nightmare

Clean Coal Dream a Costly Nightmare

Chicago Tribune, 7/11/10Chicago Tribune: "Sold on a promise of cheap, clean electricity, dozens of communities in Illinois and eight other Midwest states instead are facing more expensive utility bills after bankrolling a new coal-fired power plant that will be one of the nation's largest sources of climate-change pollution." Read more about Illinois' nightmare in the Trib. The article might be good background as we hear more and more about the cost overruns at Indiana's Edwardsport plant.

Sierra Club appeals Purdue coal power unit permit

Sierra Club appeals Purdue coal power unit permit

Purdue facing backward

The Sierra Club and the Hoosier Environmental Council challenged Purdue University's air permit Thursday (7/29/10) in an appeal that says regulators failed to fully assess how much pollution the project is expected to emit. "We think it is a travesty for a school with Purdue's reputation of engineering excellence to be putting in old coal technology," said Bowden Quinn, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter's conservation program coordinator. Read a news report on this here.

Hoosier Chapter Opposes Liberty Green Biomass Plant

Hoosier Chapter Opposes Liberty Green Biomass Plant

The Executive Committee of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter adopted a resolution opposing the Liberty Green proposal to construct woody biomass-to-electricity generating facilities near Milltown and Scottsburg, Indiana – in close proximity to the Hoosier National Forest. The Chapter resolution calls the locations of the proposed facilities “inappropriate” and says that such facilities are “by their very nature unsustainable, extractive, and exploitative of Indiana’s forests and thus are in direct conflict with Sierra Club’s established policies.” The resolution further states that the currently proposed Liberty Green facilities constitute significant threats for pollution of the air, land, and waters…” See the Hoosier Chapter resolution here.

Bloomington & Lafayette Groups on the Rise

Bloomington & Lafayette Groups on the Rise

Local Sierra Club members are planning to organize new groups in the greater Bloomington and Lafayette areas. In addition to local activities, these members can assist efforts by activists, including the Sierra Student Coalition, the Hoosier Chapter and national Sierra Club to make sure that our major universities are as progressive as possible on energy and relatd issues. To get involved in these efforts or for more information, email or call the Chapter office (317-822-3750).

A look back at the 2010 Legislature

General Assembly debates but does not pass net metering, energy efficient buildings, & Co2 pipeline Bills

Even though this was a "short" session of the General Assembly, several significant bills were hot topics of debate. Of special interest to the Hoosier Chapter were bills addressing net metering (HB 1094 and SB 313), energy efficient buildings (HB 1063), and carbon dioxide transportation by pipeline (SB 115). Ultimately, none of these bills passed. Read more in our 2010 legislative report.

Comment Period Ending for Draft Statewide Forest Strategy (6/11/10)

Comment Period Ending for Draft Statewide Forest Strategy (6/11/10)

June 11th is the last day for public comment on the Draft Statewide Forest Strategy. The statewide planning effort coordinated by the IForestsndiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry has involved input and contribution from many groups. The documents examine the conditions and threats to Indiana's 5.1 million acres of public, private and urban forestland and also a prioritized plan to address these threats and provide a sustainable forest resource into the future. To learn more and to comment, visit Send your comments to by June 11, 2010 by 6:00 P.M.

Hoosier Chapter & Allies Seek EPA Intervention

Hoosier Chapter & allies ask EPA to correct flaws in IDEM Water Programs

The Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Environmental Law & Policy Center submitted a petition that asks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to correct serious flaws in the Indiana water pollution control program, which is administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Read more here.

Logging Coming to Hoosier State Forest

Logging coming to once protected forestHoosier Forest

In 1981, former Indiana Governor Robert Orr set aside a section of Hoosier forest to provide a near-wilderness experience. Orr's vision for future generations is being scrapped by today's leaders who decided to allow logging in the backcountry of Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests. "What will have to happen is the public will have to speak up," said State Representative Matt Pierce. The public better be quick. Read more in the Indianapolis Star.

"The governor didn't want to hear any of it"

"The governor didn't want to hear any of it"

A column By Rich Jackson, Porter County Editor, Post-Tribune

In August 2008, I sat at a table with Gov. Mitch Daniels, who'd come to visit the Post-Tribune Editorial Board.

I'm not always invited to those board meetings, as I have some behavioral issues that mirror Tourette's Syndrome. The only difference is that I can control my actions -- I just chose not to.
We were having a lovely conversation until I spoke up.

"I have some questions about the BP permit," I said.

He'd been holding a notebook but thrust it on to the table when I spoke. Then he pounded his index finger into the table.... [See column here]

Building Codes Campaign

Help us push efficiency through an updated building code

building codeHelp us persuade the Daniels Administration to update our residential building energy code. Improving the energy efficiency of our homes is the quickest and most cost-effective way of meeting Indiana’s energy needs while reducing carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. See more information here.

Outrage: Lax Coal Ash Regulations

60 Minutes Examines Coal Ash DangersCBS-60 Minutes

Lesley Stahl and CBS's 60 Minutes take an in-depth look at the problems with the by-products of coal production. As you watch this disturbing video, keep this in mind: Indiana has 13 coal ash ponds.

Advertise in our Newsletter

Advertise in our quarterly newsletter

The Hoosier Chapter's award-winning newsletter, the Indiana Sierran, is now accepting advertising. The newsletter is mailed or emailed to all members and other interested Hoosiers. For those businesses and organizations trying to reach a "green" audience in Indiana, take a look at this page for more information.

Judy O'Bannon on Nature & Climate

Judy O'Bannon on Climate LegislationJudy O'Bannon

The Hoosier State's former First Lady, Judy O'Bannon speaks out on climate and nature in a June 24th column in the Corydon Democrat. Among other things, Judy writes, "How about contacting Sens. Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh and encouraging them to get on board [with climate legislation]?" Take a look at this insightful piece from one of the state's true gems.

"...the nation is moving on without them."

"...the nation is moving on without them."

Journalist Matthew Tully (Indianapolis Star) covered the recent energy summit in downtown Indianapolis, and produced this insightful column, entitled "Energy Summit was an echo chamber." We recommend it to you here in the Indianapolis Star.

New Donation Options

Donate, please

Monthly Contribution Program Begins

In an effort to make it easier for our friends to support the work of the Hoosier Chapter, we are now offering a monthly donation option starting at $5/month. There are more options as well. Please take a look at these on our revised donation page. We appreciate your consideration.

We are now on Facebook

We are now on FacebookFacebook

The Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter now has a Facebook group page. With this network we hope to expand our reach, communicate better with our public, and make some new friends and members. Won't you join us?

60 Minutes Looks at "Clean Coal"

60 Minutes Looks at "Clean Coal"CBS News-60 Minutes

CBS News recently took a look at the question of "clean coal," and interviewed Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers. Take a look at this brief segment examines the dilemma of climate, coal, and our future. Is coal clean? Can it be? When - and at what cost?
Click here to take a look.

"Global Warming Impacts on Indiana" published by PEW

Climate Change: Impact on Indiana

A new one-page guide focusing on the impacts to our state from global warming has been published by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Human health, wildlife and ecosystems, and agriculture & tourism may all be impacted in Indiana. To see the guide, click here.

New Media / Outreach Page

New Media / Outreach PageAction!

We've added a new web page that provides our news releases and additional outreach actions taken by the Hoosier Chapter. Take a look by clicking the "Action" graphic or our new "Media / Outreach" link in the left column.

Clean Coal? (You'll like this)

Clean coal? (You'll like this)

Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen, Academy Award winning filmmakers created this television spot ridiculing the coal industry. Take a look at it on the Reality Campaign's web site.

Indiana Tops Another List


Indiana Tops Another List

Rain and snow that fall near a cluster of coal-burning power plants in southeastern Indiana are laced with some of the highest concentrations of atmospheric mercury in the nation, a new federal study has found. Read this Associated Press article in the Courier-Journal.

Indiana Has Coal Ash Ponds Too

Indiana has Coal Sludge Pits too

The coal sludge disaster in Tennessee highlighted another problem with dependence on coal for electricity. Tennessee isn't the only state with coal ash ponds. According to the Associated Press, there are thirteen of them here in Indiana. Here is a list for the nation (including Indiana) as published on

Is IDEM Going up in Smoke?

Is IDEM Going Up in Smoke?

What is happening to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management? IDEM is closing its enforcement office, unilaterally canceling  air quality cSmokestack spewing pollutionontracts with local governments, cutting off funds for recycling and pollution prevention programs, seeking to narrow the definition of “environmental harm,” and more. At a time when Indiana ranks almost as low as it can on environmental quality measures, this administration’s recent steps will take it even lower. Read what others are saying about these matters on our IDEM Watch page.

Madison County Residents Fighting Proposed Medical Waste Incinerator

Anderson-area Folks Fight Proposed Waste Facility

PEAT International is planning to construct a waste incineration facility in Anderson, Indiana. The facility would reportedly process up to 35 tons of waste each day including medical and electronic waste, NiCad batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and other types of toxic materials. There are no incinerators of this kind in the United States.

Concerned residents have organize a group called "Hoosiers for a Safe Environment," and are mounting a petition drive and contacting public officials. To find out more about this proposal and the fight against the waste processing plant, visit HSE's web site.

The Truth Behind Coal

The Truth Behind Coal

Coal-fired power plants are one of our nation's largest—and dirtiest—sources of energy. 

With new laws to fight global warming expected on the horizon, the coal industry is in a rush to build as many new plants as possible before pollution safeguards are in place.  This is an industry motivated by the bottom line.  Find out more in questions and answers and in the articles below. 

Smart Energy Solutions

Smart Energy Solutions

Now is the time to move from our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and unsafe nuclear power, to a safer, cleaner energy future.  Each of us can take steps that will reduce global warming pollution. The Sierra Club's network of activists and volunteers are working to bring about a cleaner, smarter energy future.  Join us and be part of the solution!

Energy savings are blowing in Hoosier breezes

While other states approved renewable energy standards to spur investment and minimize greenhouse gas emissions, Indiana legislators and stakeholders quarreled over a 10-percent standard this session. The proposal died in the Commerce, Energy and Utilities committee.

Indiana provides a property tax advantage for investors in renewable energy, but renewable energy supporters say a bigger push would come from implementing a renewable energy standard, which requires a state's utility companies to get a certain proportion of their energy from renewable sources. About 25 states have already passed such standards, including Wisconsin (10 percent by 2015), Illinois and Minnesota (25 percent by 2025).

READ MORE of the article by Gitte Laasby in the Post-Tribune

Why Pollution Permits are Granted

By Lin Kaatz Chary, Post-Tribune guest columnist, May 14, 2008

Why is it that most pollution permits get granted? It turns out that, short of a glaring disregard for the administrative process -- as almost happened when the Indiana Department of Environmental Management tried to shorten the notice period for comment on the BP permit -- there are few bases on which most permits can be successfully challenged....

READ this column in the Post-Tribune at:,chary.article

Green Tax Advantages

At tax time, fight global warming and save yourself some green at the same time.

Federal, state, and local governments offer a range of tax incentives, grants, and loans that will help you save energy, fight global warming, reduce your energy bills, and let you keep more green in your wallet after Tax Day comes around.

Best of all, many green tax incentives are not merely tax deductions which simply reduce your taxable income. They are tax credits which directly reduce the size of your tax bill. Some can even be rolled over to the next year!

Visit and click on "energy incentives" for a complete list of both federal tax breaks and incentives and those offered by your own state and local governments. Here are just a few examples of:

  • Hybrid vehicle tax credit: this credit varies by make and model, but can up to $3,000.
  • Home energy efficiency tax credit: up to $500 for home improvements designed to make your home more energy efficient, such as new windows or a more efficient heating/cooling system.
  • Residential solar and fuel cell tax credit: up to $2,000 for installation of a solar electric, solar water heating, or fuel cell system. Any excess credit can be carried forward one additional year.
  • Energy subsidy exemption: Any rebates or incentives you receive for energy conservation measures, directly or indirectly, from utilities are not counted as taxable income.

Sierra Club Radio

Sierra Club RadioSierra Club Radio

Saving the planet starts at home -- so many Americans are looking for ways to make their own lives more "green." That's why we're launching Sierra Club Radio. Our mission is to offer tips and tell stories we all can use as consumers, as citizens, as neighbors, and as parents to make responsible choices, to connect to the growing environmental community.


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