No power plants in my backyard part 2 : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Crowd rallies against power plants By SETH SLABAUGH

INDIANAPOLIS - Citizens from Delaware, Henry, Grant, Bartholomew, Clay, Parke and Pike counties attended a rally in the rotunda of the Statehouse Tuesday to send a message to legislators and Gov. Frank O'Bannon.

The main message, the crowd shouted several times, was "Do Pass" House Bill 1979.

The proposed Indiana Power Plant Certification and Siting Act is sponsored by Reps. Tiny Adams, D-Muncie; Bruce Munson, R-Muncie; Ron Liggett, D-Redkey, and Dean Young, R-Hartford City.

"In the past several years, small, rural communities across the state of Indiana have been besieged with out-of-state speculators attempting to build power plants that are not needed to serve the customers of Indiana," said Chris Williams, executive director of the statewide, Indianapolis-based Citizens Action Coalition. "Citizens from across the state are here today to send a message to the Legislature that it's time to update the laws in a way that accommodates the reality of the year 2001."

Williams caused the crowd to whoop and applaud as he cried, "We need to make sure the General Assembly gets the message loud and clear - we need good siting legislation and we need it now."

The bill would establish standards for the siting of merchant power plants by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and also require developers to comply with local planning and zoning ordinances.

The rush to site merchant power plants in Indiana was caused by deregulation of the wholesale electric market nationally and by the deregulation of retail markets in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan, according to CAC.

The organization says merchant power plant developers hope to take advantage of deregulated markets where they can sell power at inflated rates.

Remonstrators in Delaware, Grant, Henry, Bartholomew, Clay and Parke counties have halted - at least temporarily - the construction of merchant power plants.

"You people have been heard across the state of Indiana, particularly in Delaware County where there was people that stood in our way," Adams told a crowd of dozens of citizens. "And we defeated them.

"Now we've gone to the next step up. This bill allows local say, this bill deals with siting and consumer protection. This is a fairness bill for all. Your voices are being heard as we speak now through the halls."

Delaware County resident Madelyn Ferris has been fighting a proposed Duke Energy merchant power plant for 16 months.

"It's such a relief to be here to thank the legislators who sponsored this bill," Ferris told the crowd. "It is a delight to thank the Citizens Action Coalition."

Ferris said the crowd's message to legislators was, "We are watching, and we expect you to do the right thing regardless of politics."

Jim Elliott of Clay County, who called merchant power plant developers Goliaths, led the crowd in prayer.

"We're going to ask that the Lord put, as the Scriptures said, a mountain of protection around this bill and deliver us," Elliott said.

Williams called H.B. 1979 "but one piece of a large puzzle regarding sane energy policy that this General Assembly must hear and act on in coming years."

-- Martin Thompson (, January 17, 2001


the NIMBY crowd sounds a bit irrational. Power plants are a source of jobs and good for the economy. Provided they follow all the rules and regulations to run a clean plant.

Maybe the farmers can take a lead from Iowa and plant wind generators. The going rate to farmers is $2000 a unit, more profitable than growing corn.

-- John Littmann (, January 17, 2001.

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