INDIANAPOLIS - The Community Affairs Committee of the City-County Council passed Resolution No. 241 on Tuesday night urging Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) to commit to a plan to stop burning coal in Marion County by 2020 and to invest in greater amounts of clean, renewable energy, reducing toxic emissions at the Harding Street plant.The bipartisan resolution passed the Committee 4-1 and will now head before the full City-County Council for a vote on August 18.
In response to Tuesday’s vote, Indianapolis City-County Councilor Zach Adamson (D-At Large) issued the following statement:
“Protecting clean air and the health of our community is not a partisan issue. I applaud my fellow Councilors for voting to put our families and neighborhoods first, and to secure a stronger future for our great city. Indianapolis has a lot of difficult problems to solve, but this problem has a clear solution. In this day and age we should not be burning coal in our city. There are cleaner ways to generate electricity than burning coal and we have an opportunity for collaboration to build a cleaner and healthier Indianapolis.
IPL’s Harding Street coal plant released more than 1.6 million pounds of toxic pollutants into the air, land, and water in 2012, posing real public health threats to Indianapolis residents and those downwind and downstream from the plant.
According to IDEM estimates, the Harding Street coal-fired power plant emits approximately 85% of the sulfur dioxide and 50% of the fine soot particles in Marion County, contributing to failing grades for air quality in the region. Marion County had “good” air quality in only 29% of days in 2010, 20% in 2011, 27% in 2012, and 30% in 2013, according to U.S. EPA. These statistics include all six main pollutants tracked by U.S. EPA (nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, very fine and small soot particles, and carbon monoxide). The Harding Street plant is also the single largest source of dangerous toxic emissions in Marion County, responsible for 88% of industrial toxic emissions in our community.
New polling data released Tuesday morning found that nearly 7 in 10 Indianapolis voters (69%) support IPL phasing out coal entirely in Marion County and for the utility to increase their energy efficiency and their use of renewable energy like wind and solar. Support is found across the political spectrum, with 82% of self-identified Democrats, 69% of independents and 51% of Republicans agreeing that IPL should phase out coal and invest in clean energy resources. Additionally, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) Indianapolis voters would have a more favorable impression of an elected official who voted in favor of a resolution urging IPL to stop burning coal in Marion County and instead invest in clean energy. One-in-three voters (33%) say they would be “much more favorable” towards such an official.