A recently-founded group of conservative students and Republican municipal leaders is working to bring what it calls a conservative voice to energy conversations in Indiana.
Indiana Conservatives Alliance for Energy aims to connect Republicans who care about renewable power.
“What I think is important is, is that we need to talk about these issues in a way that’s meaningful to conservatives and from an authentic perspective which is why we are trying to start from the grassroots level,” says Tim Phelps, the ICAE executive director.
Phelps says ICAE wants to advocate for the “all of the above” energy strategy, something former-Gov. Mike Pence advocated as he railed against what he called the Obama Administration’s “war on coal.”
“This effort is organized to–it’s advocating in support of the all of the above strategy which includes coal and natural gas but also renewable,” says Phelps.
But Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda disagrees and believes the state should transition away from heavy polluters like coal-fired power plants as soon as possible.
“We believe that Indiana needs to really restructure its utility business models towards a carbon free power sector,” says Kharbanda. He says the “all of the above” ideology doesn’t work financially or environmentally.
Kharbanda says he would be interested in working with the group on issues both agree on recognizing the group could reach a population that his group has struggled to connect with.
“I think that to the extent that there is a dovetailing of strategic goals, then I think that it’s a good thing,” says Kharbanda.
Currently, no Republican members of the Indiana General Assembly or statewide GOP officeholders are listed as being part of ICAE.