Gov. Mike Pence Grandstanding Doesn’t Disappoint

MUNCIE, Indiana (NEWS) – As we expected, Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday he will use “everything at his disposal” to oppose new proposed federal regulations seeking to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

This means he’ll get millions of dollars from the coal industry – the Koch brothers will prepare more phony research from their trust-funded “think-tanks” like the Heritage Foundation. Dirty energy will run “job losing ads” throughout Indiana appealing to the grossly misinformed masses wanting Hoosiers to feel sorry for them.

Pence might be able to get economist, Cecil Bohannon, from Ball State to write an economic report showing the loss of jobs to the coal industry, while ignoring the offsetting jobs increasing in clean energy solutions. Cecil is also an employee of the Indiana State Policy Network which is funded by the Koch brothers.

Earlier this year, Governor Mike Pence became the first governor to support cutting Indiana’s energy-efficient program, then handed it over to the dirty energy sector to create their own plan for Hoosiers. How convenient for a governor so politically entrenched within the energy sector. Outside of North Carolina’s governor, Mike Pence receives the most political donations from Duke Energy.

Last year during a FSSA conference discussing our poor public health, he learned Indiana had one of the highest ‘infant mortality death rates’ in the country. Pence presented an emotional appeal to the press about how this number was unacceptable. He insinuated this was a problem with uneducated teen women.

Last week, a pediatrician from Daviess County called out Governor Mike Pence and his republican supermajority for their efforts to undermine clean energy while supporting dirty energy. Why?

Because the American Lung Association says our air quality is so bad that most the state received a failing grade, or at least those areas which report their air quality. Apparently, Indiana’s lax environmental standards only demand a third of the counties to report air quality. How convenient.

The American Lung Association says our toxic air gets absorbed in our bloodstream and can lead to premature deaths in infants – a statistic the pediatrician used to hold Mike Pence and the republican supermajority accountable.

So, when President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency to seek a 30% reduction of carbon emissions by the year 2030, Pence reacted exactly as we’d expect from a governor owned by dirty energy. “We’ll be opposing that even while we look for ways that we can encourage our utilities to embrace the kind of common sense reforms and implementations that will lead to a cleaner environment,” Pence says.

Pence will unveil his own plan this summer. And, turn it over to Duke Energy to run the program?  The energy sector was required to expand their portfolio to include alternative clean energy sources, and instead of complying, they spend millions circumventing the regulations by buying politicians who will repeal and/or alter the regulations. It’s cheaper for them to buy politicians than it is to administer clean energy programs.

As a result of this successful practice in Indiana, our state’s environmental regulations are non-existent. We rank 42nd out of 50 states for being dirty, yet we still rolled back our energy-efficient program which had worked to shift toward cleaner energy. Poor air quality equates to a sick population which is why the American Lung Association awards us with an F.

The Kokomo republican’s, who authored the bill to end the energy efficiency program, three largest campaign contributors were in the dirty energy sector.

Drawing attention to our state by political grandstanding doesn’t really work when you’re guilty as charged. President Obama might as well be writing the new environment standards for Hoosiers, since our leaders refuse to do the right thing. Leadership is difficult. It requires making unpopular decisions which might cost you votes and campaign contributions, but you do them for ethical and moral reasons. When you know our poor air quality is killing innocent babies, fighting for dirty energy is morally wrong. Period. He calls himself a man of faith and moral values, but his policy initiatives reek of profit over people.

Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, issued the following statement about the US EPA’s proposed new policy on greenhouse gas emissions and the policy’s impact on Hoosiers and our environment:

     “Confronting climate change is a challenging, multi-decade process. The US EPA’s proposed new policy on greenhouse gas emissions provides states more than a decade and a half of time to achieve a realistic reduction in greenhouse gases from power plants, the principal source of climate change. This will not only allow Indiana companies to cost-effectively comply with this policy, but will allow Indiana to become a major market for innovation in low-carbon technologies.

We’re troubled that the Governor, rather than embracing the opportunity to accelerate positive change in Indiana’s electricity market, has resorted to fear mongering that is unbecoming of a governor through hyperbolic statements like the U.S. EPA’s policy is occurring “without regard for the impact on the U.S. economy or American workers,” and “will dramatically raise electricity rates”. This is untrue.

The policy will allow maximum compliance options; it will allow Indiana to significantly reduce its energy consumption through a significant expansion in energy efficiency — which will lower, not increase electricity bills. The irony is that if the Governor were so passionate about reducing energy bills facing Hoosiers, he would not have become the first leader in the U.S. to disband a statewide energy efficiency program, as he did earlier this year. Our hand remains extended to the Governor and other key leaders to find innovative ways for Indiana, one of the country’s largest carbon emitters, to confront the significant global challenge of climate change. Political grandstanding, which is what some of Indiana’s key political leaders are doing, is not a constructive way to deal with a problem that will affect generations of Americans to come.”

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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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