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Hoosiers Rally and Deliver 2,000 Petitions to Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) Headquarters November 29, 2012

Posted by Laura Arnold in Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL), Uncategorized.
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November 28th, 2012

Contact: Megan Anderson, 812-325-0685megan.anderson@sierraclub.org

Pastor Wyatt Watkins, 317-750-5873watkinsdt@aol.com

Kerwin Olson, 317-702-0461kolson@citact.org

Indianapolis Beyond Coal Campaign Launch Event
Indianapolis, IN – Today (11/28/2012) dozens of concerned ratepayers and community members gathered at Monument Circle to mark the launch of the Sierra Club’s Indianapolis Beyond Coal Campaign by delivering a growing list of 2,000 petitions to Indianapolis Power and Light’s (IPL) Headquarters opposing rate increases to keep IPL’s aging coal plants online and asking instead that IPL move toward clean energy.

“Coal-fired power plants emit tremendous quantities of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, causing global climate change,” said Gabriel Filippelli, Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Health, IUPUI.  “But they also emit significant amounts of the toxic element mercury, much of it depositing right here in central Indiana, polluting our waterways, fish, and children.”

The negative impacts of coal go beyond public health and the environment by also impacting Hoosier’s wallets.

“In addition to wreaking havoc on public health and environmental quality, coal has become a detriment to our economy,” said Kerwin Olson, Executive Director Citizens Action Coalition, a consumer advocacy group. “Over the last ten years, the ratepayers of IPL have seen their bills increase nearly 44%, largely as a result of the costs associated with burning coal.  It’s long past due for IPL to shift gears and invest aggressively in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy so Hoosiers can save energy, save money, and breathe easy.”

IPL can decide to retire some of its outdated, polluting coal burning units to prevent premature death and asthma in the Indianapolis community and invest in clean, renewable energy solutions. Instead, IPL wants to charge customers $606.1 million to upgrade their aging coal burning units at Harding St. and Petersburg. With the cost of coal rising and clean energy prices plummeting, utilities across the country move to add diversity in their energy mix.  Despite this growing trend, IPL has no plans to invest in clean energy solutions in the foreseeable future. These upgrades could mean IPL would continue to burn dirty coal in Indianapolis for decades to come.

Many Indianapolis residents feel they have paid the price for coal plant pollution in Indianapolis for far too long.  IPL’s Harding Street coal plant has two smaller units that lack pollution controls, and the company has no specific retirement date set.

“My son has had asthma since he was 7 weeks old, and with a baby on the way, cleaning up in the air in Indianapolis is even more urgent,” said Niesha McKinley, a concerned parent in Indianapolis. “Everyday IPL’s coal plant operates is another day my children are exposed to toxic pollution;  IPL needs to retire it’s old dirty coal burning power plant as soon as possible, and move toward clean energy.”

These upgrades will fail to address dangerous carbon pollution and coal ash. IPL already has eight coal ash ponds located near the plant and the White River. The Environmental Protection Agency ranked some of these ponds as “high hazard” meaning that a failure could cause loss of life and/or property damage.

“All the major faiths affirm the intrinsic worth of the planet and the call to cherish and keep it; they likewise call us to love our neighbors and act for the welfare of the vulnerable among us, who consistently suffer first and foremost when we abuse the environment,” said the Rev. T. Wyatt Watkins, Co-Pastor of Cumberland First Baptist Church in Indianapolis and Board Chair for Educational Programming for Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light.

The group, who is partnered with CREDO Action, will continue gathering comments and petitions until January 28th calling on IPL to move beyond coal.

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