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Energy rally demands more from state

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Advocates rallied on the statehouse steps calling for a strong energy efficiency plan for Indiana. - AMBER STEARNS
  • Amber Stearns
  • Advocates rallied on the statehouse steps calling for a strong energy efficiency plan for Indiana.

Indiana needs to get in the game.

That was the message environmentalists wanted to send Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana state legislature Saturday morning.

Approximately 75 people in red shirts gathered on the east steps of the statehouse carrying signs to show the various groups, organizations, towns, and counties supporting clean energy initiatives.

The weekend rally brought an end to Climate Action Week that was kicked off last Sunday in a massive march on New York City two days before a United Nations summit on climate change.

The purpose for the Indiana rally was to deliver more than 3,000 Hoosier signatures and comments to Gov. Pence urging him to take action and increase the state’s use of renewable energy sources.

Rev. Dennis Shock, board member for Interfaith Power and Light, addressed the rally. - AMBER STEARNS
  • Amber Stearns
  • Rev. Dennis Shock, board member for Interfaith Power and Light, addressed the rally.

Rev. Dennis Shock, a retired Methodist minister and board member for Interfaith Power and Light, spoke in similar terms as Dr. William Barber during last week’s Indiana Moral Mondays rally. Shock said protecting Earth’s natural resources by using cleaner renewable energy like wind and solar power is a spiritual and moral issue. He said it was time for the state legislature to put the “conserve” back in the conservative.

“Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas are a finite resource that will be gone someday – and sooner than we think,” said Shock. “Worse, the use of these fuels are dirty and degrade our air, water and land. They degrade our health. It’s time for that to stop and time to show respect for God’s good creation.”

Shock said he would pray the governor propose an energy plan for the state that is greater than before while questioning why the first plan was eliminated.

The state legislature eliminated the Energizing Indiana plan this year after it was passed and signed by then-Governor Mitch Daniels in 2009. Energizing Indiana called for the increase of energy efficiency in the state, the increase of renewable energy use, and the utilization of clean coal technologies. The bill to end the program was drafted after large manufacturers and corporations complained Energizing Indiana cost too much.

Pence said he would create a new plan that matched more with the economic shifts of the state. However, Hoosiers are still waiting and are growing impatient. Governor Pence has said a new energy efficiency plan will be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

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