In this Week's Edition of "What the HEC is Happening in the Statehouse?" please:
  1. Respond to three calls to action related to factory farms, forests, and solar!
  2. Contact your members of Congress regarding the great danger that we could lose the "Crown Hill North Woods" forever!
  3. Join kindred spirits at upcoming workshops and town hall meetings!
1.) Contact Key Lawmakers to Say No to Damaging Factory Farm Bill!

Factory farms warehouse thousands of farm animals.  And they can produce as much raw sewage -- whether hog, dairy, or chicken manure -- as that generated by a small town. Due to the large number of factory farms in Indiana, livestock now produce more than 14 times the amount of feces and urine than does Indiana's human population. 

While sewage treatment plants are required for handling human waste, no such sanitary treatment is required under current state law for livestock waste.  As a result,  that waste poses serious threats to our lakes, streams and the air we breathe.
HB 1494  would make things even worse by eliminating permit requirements for:
  1. IDEM approval before a livestock confinement building can be constructed;
  2. public notice to impacted neighbors and local governments before a livestock confinement building can be constructed;
  3. public notice to impacted neighbors and local governments when making changes to a factory farm that increases the amount of manure it generates, (i.e., increased animal capacity); and
  4. disclosure of the actual owners and operators as well as their full environmental histories before a factory farm can be built or expanded.
Learn more here .

1. Please scroll to the bottom of this page to find out which lawmaker you'd make the most difference in contacting

2. Attend the  House Environmental Affairs Committee hearing this Wednesday, February 8th at 10:30 eastern in Room 156-C of the State House.    Show your moral support for people who are hurting -- or could be hurt -- factory farm pollution.
2.) Take Two Actions to Protect our Forests!
A. If you are in Central Indiana, call your Members of Congress to Protect Crown Hill North Woods!  URGENT

The largest old growth forest in Indiana's capital city -- the Crown Hill North Woods -- is under near-term threat of being clear cut.

The Veterans Administration (VA) has purchased this very land to build a  Columbarium on it, even though there are very appropriate, nearby alternative locations that would not result in the destruction of natural heritage.

The Dr. Laura Hare Charitable Trust has offered to buy the Crown Hill North Woods from the VA and to forever protect the Woods as a nature preserve.  The VA could easily accept the Trust's proposal and place the VA's proposed project elsewhere, yet nearby.   We need your help to make sure these Woods are preserved!


Contact Mayor Joe Hogsett, Your U.S. Congressperson, and Your U.S. Senators and urge them to save "Crown Hill North Woods" before it is too late!   Our partners at the Indiana Forest Alliance have created a fact sheet that provides you with all of the contact information as well as key bullet points to convey!  Broader background about this issue can be found here.

B. Support SB 420: Pro-Forest Bill (wherever you are in Indiana)!

Indiana's State Forests contain many expanses of older forest where impressive stands of oak, hickory, walnut, and sycamore can be found.  Cerulean warblers, Louisiana waterthrush, barred owls, box turtles, spotted salamanders, rare fungi and spiders, along with wild turkey and whitetail deer all can be found in these forests.  Intensified logging plans threaten these magnificent forests.  Since 2005, state forests have experienced a four-fold increase in timber harvesting!

State Senators Bassler (R-Washington), Ford (R-Terre Haute), Smith (R-Charlestown), and Grooms (R-Jeffersonville) have filed Senate Bill 420 to protect many of these areas as "old forests" and keep them free from logging and yet open to traditional recreation activities including hiking, camping, hunting, and edible wild food gathering.


SB 420 will be heard in the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Monday, February 13th. Please contact your state senator today and urge him or her to support SB 420! And plan to attend the committee hearing on the 13th; we'll post more details about the hearing here.
3.) Take Two Steps to Protect Indiana's Solar Energy Sector!

Did you know there are more jobs in solar energy than coal mining?   And did you know that there are more jobs in solar energy than oil and gas drilling -- combined?

You would think that Indiana's lawmakers would want to ensure that solar thrives in Indiana so that we could become a hub for solar jobs!

But the opposite could happen if  SB 309 becomes law.


1. Contact one of four key State Senators, depending on where you live, at the bottom of this link -- let that Senator know that you oppose SB 309!

2. Attend the Senate Utilities hearing on SB 309, which will take place on Thursday, February 9th at 10 am in Room 233 in the Indiana Statehouse.   Please lend your moral support by being there!
Get Informed - and Speak Out in the Coming 10 Days!

Want to learn about leading issues facing Indiana's environment?

There are no less than  five upcoming events to get you up to speed!

1) February 6: Indianapolis - St. Luke's United Methodist Church
2) February 8: West Lafayette - West Lafayette Public Library
3) February 9: Greencastle - Putnam County Public Library
4) February 11:  Indiana Civic Day - Indiana State Library
5) February 15:  Sustainable Living Seminar - Carmel Library

Want to publicly share your views about the environment to lawmakers?

There are at least seven town hall meetings (called "Third House") happening across Indiana in the coming ten days! 

1) Columbus - Monday, February 6th (and Monday, February 13th)
2)  Hamilton County  - Friday, February 10th
3) ElkhartFriday, February 10th
4) Boone CountySaturday, February 11th
5) Evansville - Saturday, February 11th
6) Huntington CountySaturday, February 11th
7)  Madison County - Monday, February 13th

And don't forget about our monthly volunteer training.   Our next one is on Wednesday, February 8th!
If you would like to learn more about the bills moving through the legislature and talking points for conversing with your representative and senator, please visit our Bill Watch 2017 page.

If you have any questions about any of the above events, please contact our Outreach Coordinator, Amanda Shepherd.
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