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

Take action to:
1.) defend Indiana rooftop solar from attacks by the utility lobby;
2.) urge your State Senator to support increased funding for forests & wetlands; and
3.) contact the VA to ensure the protection of Crown Hill North Woods!

And please be sure to:
4.) attend advocacy-related events and
5.) join us at several fun events across Indiana that support clean water!
1) Stand Up for Energy Freedom - and Stand Up to the Utility Lobby: Tell Your Rep that You Oppose SB 309!
 
On Wednesday, March 22nd, entrepreneurs, environmental advocates, consumer rights advocates, libertarians, homeowners, and pastors stood shoulder-to-shoulder in opposition to SB 309 when it was heard in the House Utilities Committee.   

But SB 309 could still pass due to the immense clout of utility lobbyists in the Indiana legislature.   Note that, in 2016, the five Indiana investor-owned utilities gave approximately  $1,753,000 to Indiana lawmakers.

SB 309 would, even as amended:

-Drastically and arbitrarily reduce what solar owners are credited for the energy that they put back on the grid

-Block two main strategies (third party ownership; virtual net metering) that would make rooftop solar affordable for schools, congregations, small businesses, & homes

-Enable investor-owned utilities to potentially impose a new monthly fee on customer-owned solar energy generators (on top of one that all customers already pay!)

 Learn more about SB 309  here.

TAKE ACTION: 

A.) Please contact your state representative today to express your opposition to SB 309 and urge your representative to share those concerns with House Utilities Chairman David Ober!

B.) Tell family & friends to contact their state reps.   The only way that we can defeat SB 309 is if there is a true outpouring of opposition from the public.

C.) Attend the second hearing of the House Utilities Committee on SB 309 on Wed., March 29th; time and location TBD.   Check here as the date approaches. 

D.) Join a coalition "Rally to Save #IndianaSolar" on the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, April 1st from noon to 1:30 pm!  
2) Contact Your State Senator to Support Conservation Funding!
 
Conserving forests, wetlands and river corridors, and maintaining our state parks and other DNR-managed properties in good condition are vitally-important public investments. 

Indiana's major land conservation programs -- the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust (formerly the Indiana Heritage Trust) and the Bicentennial Nature Trust - have been extremely successful in protecting new state and local parks, forest lands, nature preserves, and trails. 

Together these programs have conserved over 85,000 acres throughout Indiana. What's more, the programs have been highly successful in leveraging added investment from project partners, raising matching money well in excess of the state's contribution. Yet, the conclusion of the Bicentennial Nature Trust program and the lack of meaningful funding for the Harrison Conservation Trust in recent budgets leaves our state's land conservation program at a crossroads.
 
HEC and partners are seeking up to $3 million a year general fund investment to continue the success of the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust going forward. 
 
TAKE ACTION:
 
-Please  contact your State Senator today and urge that the state increase its investment in our environment (IDEM) and natural resources (DNR) to "pre-recession levels". 

-Restore our state parks and other state recreational lands back to a state of good repair, and invest in new parks, trails, and wildlife areas. 

-Ask them to support a funding increase for Clean Water Indiana!
3) Contact the Veterans Administration to Protect Crown Hill North Woods: The Woods Remain at Risk!
 
The Good News: 
-Thanks to an outpouring of public opposition, the Veterans Administration stopped development of Crown Hill North Woods on March 13th.

-The Veterans Administration is, at last, examining alternatives for a dignified, worthy alternative for their proposed columbarium.    

The Concerning News:
-Crown Hill North Woods is still at risk.   It is unclear how much effort the VA will exert to carefully examine alternatives.   If the VA hastily reviews alternatives and rejects an alternative location for the columbarium, cutting could begin sometime before April 1, 2017!
 
TAKE ACTION:

Contact U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin at david.shulkin@va.gov or ar 202-461-4800 to urge his Staff to follow through in selecting a dignified, worthy alternative to Crown Hill North Woods for the proposed columbarium project.
4) Get More Involved by Attending Upcoming Events
And Consider Joining Our Volunteer Program!

A. ATTEND A COMMUNITY FORUM WITH HEC

Learn about the most urgent environmental issues moving through the Statehouse and advocate for a cleaner and healthier Indiana by attending the following upcoming event:


B. ATTEND A TOWN HALL MEETING

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

Bartholomew County - Monday, March 27th & Monday, April 3rd

Elkhart County (Goshen) - Saturday, April 1st

Hendricks County - Monday, March 27th

Tippecanoe County - Saturday, April 1st

C. 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.

D. BECOME AN HEC ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE

If you want to become even more involved in advocacy both in the Statehouse and across the state consider joining our volunteer program! Learn more here.
5) Support HEC During Aveda Earth Month

Protecting the environment isn't always glamorous, but for the next month, the eco-conscious Aveda salons throughout Indiana celebrate Aveda Earth Month, raising awareness and funds for HEC's clean water initiatives!

Upcoming Events:

Shoe Drive - now through April 30, drop-off gently-worn, used and new shoes at Guys & Gals Quarters in Batesville, Sundance SalonSpa in Zionsville, or HEC in Indianapolis

Yappy Hour - a cocktail hour for dogs and their humans - Wednesday, March 29, 6:30-8pm at Bambu Salon in Broad Ripple

Pure Concepts Plainfield Eat for Change at Chipotle - Saturday, April 1, noon - 4pm at Plainfield Chipotle, 350 S. Perry Road

Aqua and Pearl Gala, featuring the Doctors Bank - Saturday, April 8, 6-9pm at Old Market on Main in Madison, IN

Appointments for Water at Aveda Fredric's Institute - Friday, April 21 - Schedule your appointment today and 100% of proceeds will be donated to HEC!

Aveda salons statewide are hosting fundraisers, including bake sales, plant sales, silent auctions, special services, and more. Visit your local salon to support their efforts to protect our waterways! 
See what's happening on our social sites: