The Tribune-Star editorial (Dec. 26, 2020) was right on point: “Indiana’s energy policy remains focused on slowing the move from coal to renewable sources such as wind, solar and natural gas. But clinging to that policy is unwise and wrong-headed.”
While members of the legislature may claim that their goal is to protect jobs and economic benefits derived from the coal-mining industry, they are doing just the opposite in failing to acknowledge that times have changed. Coal is no longer a good investment for Hoosiers, and protecting the coal industry is not the way to invest in the future of coal miners and coal-mining communities. Tying citizens to higher prices for decades because of legislation that links energy production to expensive coal would be irresponsible and especially burdensome to lower income families who will be forced to pay ever higher utility rates even as the cost of renewable, clean energy falls.
The Indiana legislature should also take this opportunity to ensure that Indiana is prepared to meet the challenges of climate change. According to the Hoosier Life Survey conducted by the IU Environmental Resilience Institute, 75% of Hoosiers recognize that climate change is happening, The Morrison Institute Survey reports that 69% of Indiana Republicans believe that protection of the environment should be given priority even at the risk of economic growth. Municipalities across Indiana are responding to public demand for action on climate change by developing climate action plans. It’s time for the Indiana legislature to get on board.