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Youth climate activists – once again – urge the Indiana legislature to study climate solutions

Co-leaders of the youth activist group Confront the Climate Crisis Rahul Durai (left) and Ashlyn Walker (right) said now is the time for the Indiana legislature to act on climate change.
Rebecca Thiele
/
IPB News
Co-leaders of the youth activist group Confront the Climate Crisis Rahul Durai (left) and Ashlyn Walker (right) said now is the time for the Indiana legislature to act on climate change.

Youth climate activists are trying again to create a state climate task force. They gathered with lawmakers, environmental groups, solar advocates and others on Wednesday to rally for climate action in Indiana.

Rahul Durai is a junior at West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School and co-leads the statewide youth climate group Confront the Climate Crisis. He said last year, they worked on a bill to create a climate task force, but it didn’t even get a hearing.

Durai said the group adjusted the language in the new bill, SB 335, with lawmakers and he said it’s had good discussions with the committee chair. Similar bills HB 1453 and HB 1604 have been proposed in the House.

“We're trying for it again because the climate crisis didn't go anywhere. We're still dealing with impacts of climate change across Indiana. And there's such large bipartisan support, that this really is in reach for our legislature," he said.

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Republican Sens. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette), Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute), Eric Bassler (R-Washington) and Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville) are all listed as authors or co-authors of the Senate bill.

Indiana is already experiencing more extreme heat and heavy rain events today than it did in 1970. Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) said she’s frustrated with the state legislature.

“Republicans have blocked sound energy policy for years, they've blocked this critical discussion from even happening. In the meantime, Indiana misses out on an economic opportunity," she said.

Hamilton said several companies looking to move into the state have made it clear they want to be powered by clean energy. She said it will take more than a hearing for the bill to pass and encouraged advocates to contact their senators.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.