IN Students Push for Climate-Justice Task Force
Friday, February 11, 2022
Confront the Climate Crisis is a student-led coalition pushing Indiana lawmakers to establish a new environmental-justice task force.
Last month, the group rallied at the state Capitol, calling on the General Assembly to pass legislation establishing a 17-member commission which would draft a new climate action plan for the state.
Claire Curran, a sophomore at Brebeuf High School, told the crowd stopping climate change starts at home.
"Youth activism is always, and has always been, a crucial factor for significant social change," Curran asserted. "Civic engagement is no stranger to this generation."
The Elkhart High School Pennant reports the bill has stalled in the Senate's environmental-affairs committee, where it has yet to receive a hearing. Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, the committee's chair, told the Indianapolis Star the measure was redundant, and its goals can be achieved via another committee or the state's 21st Century Energy Task Force.
The Pennant reports both the Senate bill and a paired resolution, which also is stalled in the Environmental Affairs Committee, were drafted with input from students.
Sen. Ron Alting, R-Tippecanoe County, the legislation's lead sponsor, told students last month grassroots organizing such as theirs is essential for the democratic process.
"Is there anything, any topic, more important than the air that we breathe and the water that we drink? I don't think so," Alting stated.
In addition to the task force, the Senate bill also would require the state's utility regulatory commission to issue a report forecasting greenhouse gas-emissions from Indiana's utility companies for each year until 2050.
In a 2020 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated climate change was affecting their local community in some way.
This story was produced with original reporting from Elena Krueper, a high school student member of Earth Charter Indiana's Youth Environmental Press Team and published in The Elkhart High School Pennant.
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