Voices » Ask Renee

Ask Renee: VA halts construction at Crown Hill old-growth forest

The stop order is “until further notice” and VA is re-opening community dialog about project

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AMBER STEARNS
  • Amber Stearns
IMPD arrived on the scene of a peaceful protest yesterday to deliver good news! The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a stop work order to halt construction that would wipe out a treasure in Indy, a pre-settlement old-growth forest that is home to trees estimated to be more than 300 years old.

A group of veterans, business owners, citizens and even City-County Counciller Zach Adamson gathered to block construction crews from entering Crown Hill. Though prepared to stay out in the cold for as long as it took or until they were removed, the VA order came just a few hours later.

The stop order is “until further notice” and comes with a message from the VA that they will re-open dialog with the community about the project. In her story "Construction stops in Crown Hill Woods amid protest," NUVO’s Amber Stearns reported that:

"Although the stop construction order is in place until further notice, there is a good chance the project will now be delayed until late fall. Construction crews had a limited window of opportunity to lessen the impact on the endangered species of bats that call the forest home. Once the bats migrate back to the forest, that window will be gone until they leave again for winter."

Once again, bat-man swoops in to protect the defenseless in the name of justice.

I’ll let you know if further action is needed. In the meantime, take a moment to thank the VA, Senator Donnelly, Congressman Carson and Mayor Hogsett for protecting our old-growth forest – not to mention all of the volunteers and passionate advocates who never backed down.

While we’re in a thankful mood, it’s a good time to show appreciation that HB1494 may be petering out in the Senate. This is the bill that would have weakened Indiana’s already wimpy policies on factory farm pollution. The Senate President Pro Tempore (that’s a fancy way to say “for the time being”) parked the bill in an off-committee, saying, “I think it’s just bad legislation.”

Thank Senator Long (senator.long@iga.in.gov) and encourage your own Senator to tell him to keep the bill in the Rules Committee.

You may also consider a note to the author of the bill, Representative Wolkins (h18@iga.in.gov). Tell him you appreciate his acknowledgment that more can be done to regulate CAFO pollution and encourage him to work with all stakeholders involved next session to protect our air and water from factory farm waste.

Thank you to Hoosier Environmental Council for keeping me up to speed on this issue. And stay-tuned for an action alert on SB309, the anti-solar bill.

Piece out,
Renee

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