Environmentalists are concerned with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s nod to “clean coal” in his State of the State address earlier this week.
In a roughly 26 minute speech, Holcomb’s comment on energy policy was brief — about 30 seconds. He says coal is necessary to keep Hoosiers employed and factories running.
“Let’s apply technology and innovation to find new ways to unleash this abundant source of power by burning coal cleanly,” Holcomb said.
Coal has gotten cleaner, in part, by installing pollution controls at power plants, but the fuel still typically releases more toxic and greenhouse pollution than other forms of energy, including natural gas.
Citizens Action Coalition Director Kerwin Olson says he hopes Holcomb’s comments are just rhetoric.
“Clean coal is perhaps one of the biggest oxymorons of our day,” Olson says.
He says he’d like to see Holcomb follow former Gov. Mitch Daniel’s lead by emphasizing energy efficiency and renewable energy development.
Olson also says Indiana has been in a negative spotlight lately when it comes to environmental issues, like the state’s poor air quality rankings and the lead contamination crisis in East Chicago.
“We sure would like to have a governor who elevates the environment to a matter of importance as far as his agenda goes,” Olson says.