Indiana: Republicans are Bad for Our Health

MUNCIE, Indiana –  We’ve always suspected it as Hoosiers, but now we know, republicans are bad for our health. Their policies favor pesticide companies who drown our food in toxic chemicals. They protect companies who repeatedly violate work standards, energy companies who burn fossil fuels, and CAFO’s who farm excessive numbers of animals in confined spaces which wreck the local environment and send toxic methane gas into the air disrupting the ozone. Our air quality is getting worse thanks to the deals struck by former and present governors. Doctors are blowing the whistle and saying our air pollution is leading to rising infant mortality rates in Indiana.

Why would they do this to Hoosiers?

For the love of money – period.

That’s it in a nutshell. They’ve convinced Hoosiers they can create jobs for us if we elect them into office, but don’t tell us exactly how they’ll do it. They create obstructive internal policies using public information officers (censors) to prevent journalists from obtaining information. They restrict access to government employees. They create private economic development companies to contract work for them so they can conceal their records from the public.

Democracy doesn’t operate in secret.

They ask you to reduce workers rights so they can lure companies from Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. They cut taxes on large corporations so they can lure manufacturing plants from Illinois and Michigan.

They eliminate regulations so corporations will relocate to Indiana and do business without having to worry about the Indiana Department of Environmental Management or the EPA investigating what they discharge into the water or air.

Our “business-friendly” representatives want us to lavish them with praise for their efforts in bringing jobs into Indiana, but at what cost to Hoosiers. Why aren’t Hoosiers asking those questions? What about the ‘quality’ of these new business neighbors?

We should be asking questions.

Are these corporate neighbors coming here because they want to help us grow our community, and do what’s best for our neighborhoods, or have they found a state that will let them do harm to our environment and our persons without any costs of consequences?


I discussed this article with a local businessman who wanted to remain anonymous. He told me about the CAFO operations lining I-65 up to Chicago and how they are hidden from sight with trees and how these “farms” perfected their practice in Denmark, but the regulations became too tight. The ones who remained overseas adapted to the regulations which were friendly to the local environment. The worst operators fled Europe and setup shop in the Deep South and Midwest where republican environmental policies were so non-existent they could make high profit margins. These slimy operators flocked to Indiana under former governor, Mitch Daniels.

And, what are the real costs of these polluters to our community? Shouldn’t we demand to know more than just the number of jobs?

We should be asking lots of questions. Our journalists should be asking lots of questions for Hoosiers.

We’re lucky to have the Hoosier Environmental Council and advocacy groups like the American Lung Association who monitors the air quality for our state. According to the ‘2014 State of the Air’ report published on their website,  Delaware County received a C for air quality. Lake County received an F. What about other counties?

Marion county received an F and so did 13 other counties in the state. But heck, we have 92 counties in Indiana so that’s not bad, right?

When you consider only 27 counties measure and report their air quality, then you’d have to say we are in really bad shape. Go look at the report – less than 30% of the counties report their air quality in Indiana.

Can you guess why?

We compared Chicago metro area with Indianapolis metro area which includes Carmel and Muncie. Guess what our grade was? We both received an F. Check out the webpage here.

So, while you’re doing everything you can to remain healthy by not smoking, and avoid spraying toxic chemicals in your garden, your elected officials are selling you out to energy companies who burn dirty fossil fuels and lure large corporate interests into our state to pollute our air.

In order to conceal this from Hoosiers, they only require 30% of our counties to report their air quality.

We just published an article about the Daviess County physician who called out Governor Pence for ignoring polluters in our state. She believes our state’s high “infant mortality deaths” are linked to air pollution. The American Lung Association agrees. This article was prompted when we got this Tweet by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management:

A few quick searches led us to the American Lung Association’s, Air Quality website, which shows the following map:

air quality

Their April 2014 findings revealed air quality in Indianapolis and most the state is getting worse. So, while the republican leadership touts business growth, we must ask, what kind of businesses are we inviting into the state to do business with minimum or no regulations.

According to the Lung Associations findings:

Marion County received an F for short-term particle pollution, because of too many days of unhealthy particle levels. Particle pollution levels can spike dangerously for hours to weeks on end (short-term) or remain at unhealthy levels on average every day (year-round). Particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and even into the bloodstream, leading to premature deaths, asthma attacks and heart attacks, as well as lung cancer.”

Hoosiers deserve so much better. While Governor Mike Pence pads his resume for a presidential bid in 2016, guess who is paying the price for his public relations campaign.

Every family in Indiana is paying the price with poor air quality leading to premature deaths and high risks of cancer. We need to hold these politicians accountable for lack of ethics which leads to attracting slimy business operators who are only interested in maximizing profits. They do not care about the costs to the community. Like the slimeball in Eaton who plowed his own drainage ditch from his manure lagoon into the Mississinewa River killing fish and contaminating the river for years to come.

Every time we buy cheap food at McDonalds or turn on a light, we need to understand the actual costs for these cheap products are much higher. When we go to Walmart and buy cheap products made overseas, we should understand they are exploiting labor in other countries and damaging those environments. The costs are much higher than what we pay for a plastic toy.

We appreciate the Hoosier Environmental Council and American Lung Association and those volunteers at the Sierra Club and CAFO Watch, but as consumers, as Hoosiers, we must understand their efforts are wasted if we continue to vote for republicans who choose profits over our environment and buy products which contribute to our polluted air and water. We are choosing against our own self interest, and we are paying the price with cancer and death.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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