When it comes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, I wish Indiana’s business community sounded more like the Little Engine That Could than Chicken Little.
The Little Engine made it to the top of the mountain with a valiant effort and his mantra, “I think I can, I think I can…” Instead of taking this approach to protecting our children and grandchildren from the economic and health risks of climate threats, Indiana’s business leaders sound more like Chicken Little, who ran off to tell the king, “The sky is falling!” because an acorn had fallen on her head.
Under the proposed safeguards, Indiana must develop a plan to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by about 20 percent by 2030, using a 2012 baseline.
These goals are very achievable in Indiana, and the Clean Power Plan should be supported by all Hoosiers because it will result in cleaner air and water, healthier families, and more jobs in the energy efficiency and clean energy sectors.
In 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Indiana’s electric power sector emitted 114 million metric tons of climate-disrupting carbon pollution – ranking fifth worst in the nation behind Texas, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. That same year, we ranked just 38th in generation of clean, renewable energy.
We can reduce carbon pollution while creating jobs and new economic opportunities for our state. For starters, we could get halfway there by restoring Indiana’s energy efficiency goals that were struck down by the General Assembly this year. Indiana has great potential to increase the amount of electricity that we generate from the wind and sun. More than 10 states are already reducing carbon emissions by 10 percent or more from wind energy alone, including Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.
The health benefits of generating electricity in a cleaner way will be enormous. A recent study by the Indiana University School of Medicine concluded that the public health cost of burning coal in Indiana was $5 billion annually. That’s a cost we pay for coal-related heart disease, lung disease, and asthma – and the mercury that contaminates our fish.
Indiana businesses have been leaders in manufacturing automobiles, electrical equipment, batteries, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Why not be a leader in the clean energy economy and the jobs it can bring to Indiana?
Indiana representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign