New EPA Carbon Rule Could Turn Tide for Clean Energy in Indiana
By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed limits on carbon pollution could turn the tide for the future of clean energy in the state.
Indiana is among the top producers of carbon pollution, and under the rule announced Monday, the state needs to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 20 percent by 2030.
Rev. Lyle McKee of St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Bloomington and board chair of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, says the measure will help fulfill the nation’s moral and ethical obligation to end the pollution contributing to climate change.
“It’s sort of high time we see some actual limits on carbon put forth,” he says. “Just across the board, people see these problems and see it as a call of conscience and of faith to be active.”
Gov. Mike Pence says Indiana will oppose the regulations and that an energy strategy is needed that will incorporate all forms of energy, including wind, solar, natural gas and coal resources.
Indiana gets 80 percent of its electricity from coal.
Jodi Perras, a representative of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign, says the goal is an achievable challenge that needs to be taken on immediately to spur job creation.
“Why can’t we focus on manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines and support more of our businesses that are already manufacturing good energy-efficiency projects?” she asks. “There are good jobs that are to be had in the clean-energy economy of the 21st century, and we just need to get in the race for that.”
Perras says state leaders need to start planning for how to replace the state’s aging coal-fired power plants with clean energy that is healthy for communities.
She says a first step would be to bring back Indiana’s recently cut energy-efficiency program.
“If you don’t generate the energy in the first place, it’s cheaper and cleaner and the best way to reduce carbon pollution is to not have to run a coal plant to begin with,” she points out.
McKee adds that action on carbon pollution is needed now to reduce the climate disruptions such as floods and storms that are impacting lives across the globe.
“If we actually do cut this, we will lead the world, which we certainly need to do,” he says. “We’ve been the major polluter. We should certainly lead the world in reducing the pollution that’s causing devastation around the planet.”