Renewable resources produce energy that should be harnessed to help our state. Clean energy helps to preserve Indiana’s environment but also has positive effects on the state’s economy and public health as well.

On an economic level, renewable energy generation produces sustainable jobs, can reduce waste in our current systems and further advance our technological capacity to increase exports.

Coal plants release air and water pollution that can be linked to complications including problems breathing, heart attacks and cancer. Most of these negative health implications can be avoided by promoting clean energy technologies, which produce little-to-no harmful pollutants.

Utilizing renewable energy is not the only step – cutting back on single-use waste is another path for helping the environment and public health. Although convenient, disposable products lead to excessive trash and pollution. This creates a domino effect. When waterways are contaminated they are unable to be used for drinking and recreation. Plastic specifically has chemicals that are harmful to human health.

Providing environmental protections are bipartisan efforts, yet the Republican supermajority continues to reject and neglect any bills that support efforts to be green. Here are some bills that they have denied, just this session:

 Senate Bill 430, authored by State Senator JD Ford (D-Indianapolis)

The intent of this proposal was to eliminate the phase-out of net metering, a concept that reimburses Hoosiers for generating their own energy through solar panels. This would allow those who utilize solar energy to be leaders in environmental preservation and have options in regard to their own utilities. The bill would have allowed Indiana to head in the right direction when it comes to a clean, competitive market.

SB 430 was never given a committee hearing.

Senate Bill 619, authored by State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington)

This proposal would have required companies that use waste packaging materials or waste printed paper for their products to partner with the Department of Environmental Management. Through this partnership, the company would outline ways in which packaging and printed paper could be collected from households in Indiana for recycling. SB 619 would help limit single-use waste.

SB 619 was never given a committee hearing.

Senate Bill 294, authored by State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago)

This proposal aimed to authorize a county, city, or town to establish an agency as a local air pollution control agency. SB 294 was an important initiative to reduce, eliminate or prevent air pollution in our local communities. Real and measurable air emissions are necessary to ensuring high quality, sanitary air.

SB 294 was never given a committee hearing.

Despite these shortcomings, the Indiana Senate Democrats will continue to fight for environmentally friendly bills – for the health of all Hoosiers and to preserve Indiana’s environment.