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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Conservationists tout IN old mines, brownfields to develop renewable energy

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Thursday, June 20, 2024   

Today is the summer solstice, the day of the year with the most sunshine, and Indiana conservationists said they have a plan to make the best use of solar energy.

In a new report, called Mining the Sun, The Nature Conservancy says the quickest way for the state to gain energy independence is to utilize unused sites -- such as abandoned mines, brownfields or dumpsites -- to develop solar and wind farms.

Sean Mobley, senior policy associate for The Nature Conservancy-Indiana, said there is less resistance to using sites not being used in other ways.

"If you have acres that are abandoned mines or brown fields, they don't really serve a purpose in the community or economically anymore," Mobley pointed out. "We see clean energy as a way to transition those back to productive acres."

Mobley noted clean energy is a way to transition land back to productive acres. In a Nature Conservancy survey, 66% of Hoosiers favor solar energy production, and 69% support adding state incentives to facilitate solar and wind development on brownfields and mine lands.

Mobley emphasized solar capacity tripled across the state from 2021 to 2022, and Indiana ranks eighth in the nation for projected solar energy growth by 2025. He added the state's Department of Natural Resources currently has $385 million in federal grants available to reclaim abandoned mine lands.

"There are a little over 150,000 acres of mine lands, primarily in southwest Indiana, that would be suitable for solar energy development," Mobley stressed. "Again, bringing back economic and conservation value back to those acres."

The Mining the Sun report outlines steps to develop policies to generate new revenue streams for landowners and create jobs in construction and maintenance.

"I think the first step is to develop some bill language for the next legislative session that would direct the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to update the Indiana state reclamation plan for the abandoned Mine Lands program," Mobley urged.


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