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Indianapolis Beyond Coal Campaign

Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) has an unhealthy addiction to coal. Now, IPL expects YOU to pay to continue its dirty habit. IPL's Harding Street Generating Station is an outdated coal-burning power plant located in Indianapolis, less than fifteen minutes from Monument Circle, exposing over 800,000 people living and working in central Indiana to dangerous coal pollution. The Harding Street coal plant is Indy’s number one polluter; responsible for 88% of all toxic emissions from industry in Marion County.

IPL HARDING STREET COAL PLANT POLLUTES OUR AIR The Clean Air Task Force estimates pollution from IPL’s Harding Street coal plant contributes to 76 deaths, 120 heart attacks, 55 hospitalizations, and 1,300 asthma attacks every year. Airborne pollution from IPL’s Harding Street coal plant includes dangerous levels of lead, arsenic, and mercury. In addition, the plant is a major source of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution which are linked to soot, smog, and acid rain. Soot and smog are major triggers of asthma, respiratory illness, and aggravate existing cardiovascular disease.

IPL HARDING STREET COAL PLANT POLLUTES OUR WATER Burning coal at this plant releases toxic mercury that rains down and contaminates our soil, lakes, rivers, and fish. The pollution then makes its way into our bodies when we eat the fish. Mercury is a neurotoxin and is known to cause developmental issues, especially in children. IPL's Harding Street coal plant dumped over 91 pounds of arsenic into the White River in 2011 alone. IPL’s Harding Street coal plant produces coal ash waste which is dumped into on-site waste lagoons commonly called coal ash ponds. These ponds contain high concentrations of a wide variety of toxins, which pose a risk to our waterways and our city. The United States Environmental Protection Agency ranked some of the IPL’s Harding Street coal plant’s eight coal ash ponds as high-hazard, meaning that a failure could cause loss of human life or property damage, posing a risk to the Indianapolis community and the White River. In 2007 IPL’s Eagle Valley Generating Station in Martinsville released 30 million gallons of toxic coal waste twice into the White River. Learn more about coal pollution in Indiana's waterways. 

JOIN THE INDIANAPOLIS BEYOND COAL CAMPAIGN The Indianapolis Beyond Coal Campaign is a growing coalition of individuals, churches and organizations demanding that IPL move Indy Beyond Coal. Everyday people from across the community are taking a stand – calling on IPL to move beyond coal and talking about this issue with their groups, churches, friends and neighbors and speaking at rallies, hearings, and more. 

We launched the Indianapolis Beyond Coal Campaign in the fall of 2012 with a powerful event outside IPL headquarters where dozens gathered to deliver our first batch of 2,000 petitions to IPL asking them to move beyond coal. In 2012, IPL asked state utility regulators for permission to charge ratepayers over $511 million so it can pour more money into its aging coal-fired plants, including the Harding Street plant on Indianapolis’ southwest side and a plant in Petersburg, Indiana.  The community fought back against IPL’s dirty plan. Close to 3,000 comments were submitted by IPL customers and Indy residents, urging the regulators and IPL to retire the Harding Street coal plant.  Over 100 people attended a public field hearing where over 33 people – mothers, pastors, professors, business owners, a city-councilor, and many more – publically testified to urge the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and IPL to retire the plant and move Indy beyond coal.

On April 3rd, more than 60 people gathered at a community meeting called "Indy's Clean Energy Showcase" and began to develop a vision for what Indy’s energy future can look like. We took statements and ideas from attendees at this meeting and used them to compose a sign-on letter addressed to IPL, asking them to move Indy beyond coal.

We partnered with with Hoosier- Interfaith Power and Light (H-IPL) and other faith leaders on a “Prayer Walk for Our Energy Future” on April 25th where over 30 people including eight ministers joined a prayer walk around Monument Circle to call on Indianapolis Power & Light to retire the aging Harding Street coal-fired power plant. 

We launched the Indy Beyond Coal Sign-on Letter at this event and had our faith leaders sign it- The letter calls on IPL President and CEO Ken Zagzebski to retire the Harding Street plant and move Indianapolis beyond coal to ensure Indianapolis’ reputation as a world-class city. Dr. Stephen Jay a physician in Indianapolis called on supporters to join the letter- drawing attention to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air 2013" report in which Marion County earned an "F" grade for soot or particle pollution and a "D" grade for ozone pollution. Indy ranked in the "Top 20" most polluted cities in the United States for soot pollution. Soot is a dangerous air pollutant that has been linked to asthma, other respiratory conditions, heart attacks and premature death. 

On June 1st, 200 Indy residents gathered at a rally calling on Indianapolis Power and Light to retire the Harding Street coal plant at the "Rally for Indy's Energy Future." 

In December 2011 Indianapolis Power and Light gained approval to raise rates by $615.4 million to install pollution controls on their aging coal fleet. 

On August 14th, 2013 the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved Indianapolis Power & Light’s request to raise rates on customers to fund over $511 million alterations at its coal-fired power plants in Petersburg and the Indianapolis-based Harding Street plant. Community groups responded by a renewed calling on IPL to set the Harding Street coal plant on a path toward retirement, and to stop sinking customers money into this outdated facility. Despite "back of the envelope calculations"  which neglected any future costs. In addition, IPL ignored lower-cost alternatives including clean, renewable energy, energy efficiency, or purchasing excess power from the market. The Utility Commission approved the case despite concluding that IPL's presentation of it's case in the proceeding fell below expectations given the size of the proposed capital investment, and gave too small a timeframe for commissioners to make a decision. Customers will exclusively shoulder rate hikes to fund the over half-a-billion dollar cost for the project, while IPL shareholders stand to make a profit.  IPL plans to continue to pollute Indianapolis' air and water with no retirement plan for the outdated, and dirty facility. 

On August 29th, The Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition, NAACP, and Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light unveiled new billboards in Indianapolis urging IPL to retire the Harding Street coal plant.  The campaign continues- and the big question remains: "When will Indianapolis Power & Light retire the Harding Street coal plant?"