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Indy Star: Controversial Coal Bill Passes off the House Floor, Heads to Indiana Senate

Posted by Sarah Bowman on Feb 3, 2020

Indy Star covered Indiana Bill 1414 and its opposition by AEE, business and civil rights groups as it makes its way to the Senate. Read excerpts below and the entire Indy Star piece here. 

The controversial Indiana bill that could delay closing coal plants and raise rates for customers is still alive and on its way to the Senate. In a relatively close vote, House Bill 1414 passed out of the House, 52 to 41. In fact, the vote was tight enough that House Speaker Rep. Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, cast a "yes" vote — the speaker does not normally vote unless it will make a difference in the outcome. 

He has previously claimed that the bill — which raises the bar for utilities wanting to close power plants, at a time when coal-fired plants are the only ones closing — is not a bailout for the coal industry. The bill's author, Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, has echoed that statement. Supporters of the bill, whose provisions are currently set to expire in May 2021, have defended it in part as a stopgap measure to help Indiana as it pivots to cleaner energy sources...

Those entities include Indiana's five investor-owned utilities, through the Indiana Energy Association; the Indiana Chamber of Commerce; the Indiana Industrial Energy Consumers group; the Indiana Conservative Alliance for Energy; the National Taxpayers Union; the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP; trade associations such as Advanced Energy Economy; consumer advocacy group Citizens Action Coalition; and environmental organizations the Hoosier Environmental Council and Sierra Club. 

The only group that spoke in favor of this bill during hearings of the House utilities committee, chaired by Soliday, was the Indiana Coal Council. The bill, after several amendments last week, would no longer require the state's regulatory commission to approval the closure of a coal plant, Soliday said Monday. It does, however, still create a process that requires the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to hold a hearing on a proposed closure and issue a report with its findings and conclusions...

Read the entire Indy Star piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News