INDIANA Is A Great Lake State, with a 41-mi. waterfront on Lake Erie. Parts of Indiana are agricultural, and the state is a leading producer of corn. Most of
Indiana is urban, but the iron, steel, and oil companies that swell the economy of the state tend to be located in smaller cities. Indiana ranks 15th in the United States in population. The combination of a large urban population and heavy industry means that much of the state faces major challenges to protecting the environment from global warming and climate change. Educating the public is the major environmental focus. Government actions include emission reduction programs designed to reduce smog, soot, dust, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead. Air quality monitors have been placed throughout Indiana. Improving waste management is also a priority, and Indiana is concentrating on cleaning up contaminated sites, leaking underground storage tanks, spills, landfills, and open dumps. Environmental activists are pressuring the government to initiate policies promoting sustainable energy and to withdraw support for new coal-fired power plants in the state.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources share the chief responsibility for dealing with issues arising from global warming and climate change. The Office of Air Quality, the Office of Land Quality, the Office of Water Quality, and the Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance are housed within IDEM. The Land Bureau, which is part of the Department of Natural Resources, is responsible for environmental issues concerning fish and wildlife, forestry, and state parks and preserves.
Indiana has instituted the Environmental Stewardship Program to encourage business leaders to become more environmentally aware. Benefits of the program include expedited and flexible business permits, reduced reporting and inspections, and, in some cases, reduced monitoring. The government also sponsors the Indiana Comprehensive Local Environment Action Network (CLEAN) to encourage local governments to become involved in protecting the environment. Benefits of the program include matching funds for recycling and pollution prevention.
Environmental priorities often clash with economic goals in Indiana. In 2007, the governor announced that construction would begin on a 40 billion cu. ft., $1.5 billion coal-gasification plant. Indiana Gasification, LLC owns the facility, which was the first in the United States to use eastern coal to generate natural gas of pipeline-quality. Environmentalists were opposed to the construction because of potential sulfur emissions, but it won popular support because of the potential for significantly reduced fuel prices.
Industries consume about half of the energy used in Indiana, and most of that energy comes from coal. Consequently, Indiana has one of the highest levels of coal consumption in the United States. Between 1990 and 2001, Indiana's population increased by 10 percent; at the same time, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels rose 12 percent, to a total of 230.2 million metric tons. Indiana is fifth in the United States in CO2 emissions. A lawsuit filed by eight states and the City of New York has accused major energy companies of perpetrating global warming and climate change as a result of toxic emissions.
Two of those companies operate in Indiana. The American/Electric Power Company, Inc./American Electric Power Service Corporation, which generates an estimated 226 million tons of CO2 each year, tops the list. Cinergy Corporation, which produces an estimated 70 million tons of CO2 emissions per year, is ranked fifth on the list.
Efforts to combat global warming and climate change resulted in Indiana becoming 23 percent more carbon dioxide efficient 1990-2001. However, in the summer of 2007, Environmental Integrity Projects released a list of the 50 American energy companies emitting the highest levels of CO2 during the previous year. With 17 plants on the list, and four in the top 50, Indiana was ranked second only to Texas in having the most environmentally damaging energy plants. The group also identifed a number of power plants that release contaminants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury. Duke Energy Company received federal tax incentives to build a new clean-coal plant in Indiana, but CO2 emmissions continue to pose problems after other contaminants are removed at such facilities. PSI Energy, Indianapolis Power and Light, and Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), which were ranked in the top 50, decreased CO2 emissions 2005-07 by millions of metric tons. At the American Electric Power Plant in Rockport, however, CO2 emissions rose by 17.4 million tons during that timeframe.
SEE ALSO: American Electric Power; Coal; Energy; Indiana University.
BIBLIoGRAPHY. Indiana Government, www.in.gov (cited October 2007); U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), The Carbon Boom: State and National Trends in Carbon Dioxide since 1990 (U.S. PIRG Education Fund, 2006).
Elizabeth R. Purdy Independent Scholar
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