In this Edition of "What the HEC is Happening in the Statehouse?"

At the halfway point of the legislative session, your advocacy is as important as ever!

1. Call Your State Senator to increase funding to better protect our air, water, & wilderness.

2. Reach out to U.S. Senator Donnelly and urge him to: a) stand up for policy that is critical to preventing pollution of our drinking water sources; b) oppose severe cuts to the U.S. EPA; and c) actively advocate for a no-harm alternative to doing irreparable damage to Crown Hill North Woods.

3. Attend town hall meetings with your lawmakers & HEC training sessions - and get a recap of what happened to the anti-solar bill and pro-factory farm bill.

4. Support Hoosier businesses that are seriously committed to green practices. 
1) Contact Your State Senator in Support of More Funding for Drinking Water Protections & Clean Up of Dirty Sites
Recent water crises in Charleston, East Chicago, Flint, and Toledo remind us not to be complacent about drinking water protection
Ensuring the safety of Hoosiers' drinking water and cleaning up contaminated sites are two vital activities at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in need of additional investment.  IDEM is responsible for overseeing the operations at 4,056 drinking water systems in Indiana, and assists these facilities with operator training and certification. 

Over the last 10 years, drinking water staff has declined while at the same time risks to these water systems have increased.  A modest increase in funding would enable the agency to recruit new staff to make sure that our drinking water supplies get the attention they deserve. 
For contaminated sites such as former industrial facilities, leaking underground storage tanks, and dry cleaning facilities that do not qualify for the national Superfund program, IDEM's State Cleanup program oversees their remediation. Because of a staffing shortage, cleanup site managers at IDEM are facing a growing caseload of higher priority sites -- over 400 as of July 2016 --  while lower priority sites are referred to a self-implementing cleanup program.

The House-passed budget bill contains funding for new staff for one cleanup site in Indianapolis, but there are hundreds of sites awaiting cleanup that would benefit from additional funding.  Restoring contaminated sites not only helps protect public health and reduces water and land pollution, but also helps put this land back into productive use -- supporting economic development and boosting local tax revenues. 


Please contact your state senator today and urge that funding for drinking water protection and contaminated site cleanups be increased!
2) Urge Senator Donnelly to Stand Up for Clean Water, a Well-Funded EPA Budget, and a Priceless Forest
The US Clean Water Act of 1972 was vague on which waters it applied to.  To clarify it, the US EPA and Army Corps of Engineers spent years gathering extensive input from businesses, agriculture, scientists, and the public and then issued the Waters of the US Rule ("Clean Water Rule") in 2015.  The rule has not been implemented because of a lawsuit. This week, the Trump Administration ordered the US EPA and Army Corps to review and rescind (or revise the rule) using a narrower definition of where the Clean Water Act applies. HEC estimates the narrower definition could leave 54% of Indiana's stream miles at risk for pollution or destruction. Our only recourse is to contact U.S. Senator Donnelly and ask that he urge the Trump Administration to maintain the existing rule.

In addition to reaching Senator Donnelly about the Clean Water Rule, please tell him that:

a. You are opposed to the Trump Administration's plans to cut the U.S. EPA budget by 25%, which includes a proposed 97% cut to Great Lakes Restoration Funding and a 40% cut to EPA's science office.

b. You want the Senator to actively advocate, before the U.S. Veterans Administration, for a "no-harm alternative" to Crown Hill North Woods. Without Senator Donnelly's sustained advocacy for Crown Hill North Woods, it is likely that the Woods, as an old growth forest ecosystem with 300+ year old trees, could be lost within days -- as contractors are already on site (as of March 2nd) to assess which trees to cut, and which to save.   

It is very unfortunate that Mayor Joe Hogsett (office: 317-327-3601) has, thus far, not publicly spoken out in favor of a no-harm alternative, when such a solution would be in alignment with his avowed commitment to the environment & to neighborhoods.


Call U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly at  202-224-4814.  If you don't reach a Staff member, please leave a voicemail!
3) Get More Involved by Attending Upcoming Events
And Consider Joining Our Volunteer Program!


Talk with your legislators by attending town hall meetings (called "Third House" events); these are happening across Indiana in the coming days! 

Saturday, March 4th:

Monday, March 6th:

Tuesday, March 7th

Friday, March 10th

Saturday, March 11th:

Learn More

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 are interested in learning more about advocacy and getting involved in making a positive impact on Indiana's environment, then consider joining our Environmental Advocate program! Our next Indianapolis training is coming up at 7:00 pm on March 8th. RSVP - or send questions - to our Outreach Coordinator.


Have you been interested in getting more involved in environmental advocacy but unable to travel to central Indiana to get training? Consider attending one of our two upcoming Environmental Advocate trainings in Steuben County (in Northeast Indiana) on March 7th!


Despite an outpouring of public opposition to HB 1494, the pro-factory farm bill, and SB 309, the anti-solar bill, both bills are continuing to advance in the Indiana General Assembly.   HB 1494 has now advanced to the Senate, and SB 309 has now advanced to the House.   


Learn more & take action on HB 1494 here and SB 309 here.
4) Support Our HEC Green Businesses

We want to give a big shout-out to our new and renewing HEC Green Businesses listed below! Pay them a visit and thank them for supporting our work!

The Sky is the Limit
GreenWater Infrastructure - Noblesville

Get on the Bus
The National Bank of Indianapolis - Indianapolis 
GreenCycle of Indiana - Central Indiana 
Ezra's Enlightened Cafe - Indianapolis

Sowing the Seeds
Sun King Brewing - Indianapolis and Fishers
Natural Born Juicers - Indianapolis and Noblesville
Natural Awakenings - Indianapolis

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