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Youth climate group urges action at Statehouse, shows support for select bills

A young Black woman stands in one of the Indiana Statehouse atriums. Senator J.D. Ford stands in front of her and listens. The atrium has a number of people in the background.
Alan Mbathi
/
IPB News
A member of the youth climate action group Confront the Climate Crisis talking to Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) at the climate rally at the Indiana Statehouse.

Youth climate activists laid out their priorities for this legislative session at a rally at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Activists with the group Confront the Climate Crisis said progress is being made to combat climate change in Indiana — even if it’s been slow.

The group said their bill on creating a climate solutions task force finally got a hearing last year — and similar legislation was proposed again. Indiana is also working on a statewide climate plan as part of a federal grant program.

Still, Confront the Climate Crisis said there are bills that would hinder that progress. That includes bills they said would hamper the work of Indiana’s environmental agencies, strip protections for wetlands, and prevent electric utilities from replacing coal and natural gas plants with renewables.

READ MORE: Committees have a lot of power at the Indiana Statehouse: Here's what you need to know

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“Our legislature can choose to pass these bills that compromise Hoosiers’ quality of life or our legislature can choose a different path — one that promotes both a healthy environment and a thriving economy for Indiana," said Ashlyn Walker, Confront the Climate Crisis co-leader and senior at Carmel High School.

The group supports bills that would encourage community solar, create an incentive to protect wetlands, and require permits for companies that withdraw large amounts of water.

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.