In this Edition of our E-News, we continue our legislative wrap-up, and highlight some ways to remain engaged!
  1. Channel any frustration you have about the anti-rooftop solar bill, SB 309, becoming law by taking positive action.
  2. Learn the latest about open space protection in Indiana.
  3. Join us for our volunteer training & our next public presentation.
  4. Take part in our Shoe Drive - which continues for just two more weeks.
1.) Despite Immense Opposition, Anti-Rooftop Solar Bill Becomes Law: What You Can Do Now
 
Hoosiers from all across the state, along with solar entrepreneurs, technology executives, environmental, consumer, faith, and labor organizations, all stood together opposed to SB 309 -- the anti-rooftop solar bill.   

Turnout to legislative hearings and town hall meetings, along with communication into the Governor's Office and legislative offices, were all at all-time record levels (when it comes to energy-related public policy) and the views of those who spoke out were overwhelmingly opposed to the bill.

And yet the Governor signed SB 309 into law, characterizing opposition as being by "some".   

THE SILVER LININGS:
  • The coalition for positive, proactive public policy that paves the way for more solar energy is larger than ever.
  • Opposition to SB 309 had strong, bi-partisan support in the Indiana House of Representatives; all Democrats opposed the bill and a solid contingent of Republicans did, including members of legislative leadership.  
  • Countless Hoosiers moved off the sidelines to get involved in the state legislative process for the first time ever. They're now likely to stay involved.
TAKE ACTION:

Backers of SB 309 have put Indiana's competitiveness in the realm of customer-owned solar energy in a worse position compared to our Midwestern neighbors.   

But rather than complaining, we can take action that helps us amplify our voice and our movement:
  1. Please visit our website to make sure you're up-to-speed on SB 309.
  2. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper expressing your concerns about the signing of SB 309. If you need assistance, write us at comments@hecweb.org.
  3. Send out a Tweet using the hashtag #SB309, expressing your concern to the Governor for signing SB 309. Likewise, post a message on his Facebook wall (govholcomb). We know that some may be tempted to be profane or personal, but we encourage all who care about solar energy to instead talk about the substance of the bill:
    • the missed opportunity for jobs
    • the discouraging signal this sends to entrepreneurs and STEM grads
    • the way in which this bill seriously undermines energy freedom
  4. Thank your legislator for voting "No".   To see the voting records, click here for the House and here for the Senate. To find contact info for your legislators, go here.
  5. Be sure to attend our next volunteer training on Wed., May 10th!
2.) Protecting Indiana's Open Spaces:  Recent Trials and Triumphs
 
Trials
  • For conservation funding in the new Indiana state government budget, there is little new investment to offset the budget cuts over the last ten years.  
  • The President Harrison Conservation Trust was funded at the same level as the last budget, consisting of a token general fund appropriation along with an estimated $1 million a year in environmental license plate revenues.  
Triumphs:
  • The legislature added $4 million in dedicated funding to address the Department of Natural Resources' deferred maintenance backlog.  This backlog is estimated to be at least $60 million and is likely higher.  
  • Crown Hill Cemetery has agreed to spare the threatened Crown Hill North Woods -- and to site the VA's proposed columbarium on an adjacent piece of land.  The Woods are saved!  Congratulations to veterans, neighbors, and environmentalists (led by the IFA) for their devotion to keeping this land, with 300+ year old trees, intact!  Now energies shift to ensuring that Crown Hill North Woods is forever preserved.
Thank you to all who contacted elected official both with respect to state forest and wilderness issues as well as with respect to protecting Crown Hill North Woods!
3.) This Wednesday: Join Us for our Next Volunteer Training

If you want to be involved -- or remain involved -- in advocacy both in the Statehouse and across the state, consider joining our volunteer program! Our next training will be held on Wednesday, May 10th. Learn more here.

Also: listen to HEC talk about the future of Indiana's environment.  Come join us at the INFusion Festival on Wed., May 17th for INfusion Talks; it's free and open to the public! (And consider purchasing tickets for one of the many musical events during this inspiring festival hosted by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra!)
4.) Help Support our Shoe Drive - Continues for the Next Two Weeks

Aveda Earth Month may be over, but we've extended our Aveda Shoe Drive and we'd like to is-SHOE a challenge! Will you collect 10 pair of shoes in the next two weeks and drop them off at one of our drop-off locations? Check out our video here.

Drop-Off Locations:
  • Guys & Gals Quarters - 22 Saratoga Drive, Batesville (Mon & Fri 9a-6p, Tu, Wed, Th 9a-8p, Sat 8a-3p)
  • Sage, a salon - 2210 E. Southport Rd., Indianapolis (Tu, W 12-8, Th 11-7, F 10-6, Sat 10-4)
  • Sundance - 47 Elm Street, Zionsville (anytime, collection box in vestibule)
  • Aqua Serene Wellness - 301 E. Carmel Dr., Ste. C-100, Carmel (Tu-Th 10-6:30, F-Sat 10-3:30)
  • HEC - 3951 N. Meridian St., Ste. 100 (Mon-Fri 8a-5p, collection box in vestibule on lower level of NUVO building)
THANK YOU to all of the Indiana Aveda salons who made an effort to raise awareness and funds to protect clean water in Indiana - and the world! We'll share more details in a few weeks as we learn more about all of the exciting activities that occurred during Aveda Earth Month.

THANK YOU to all who bid on our Silent Auction. We raised more than $2,000 to further our efforts to protect communities from factory farm and coal ash pollution, and to continue our work to make the Mounds Greenway a reality.

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