Hoosier Environmental Council’s job no easier with Pence administration

The Hoosier Environmental Council said it plans a full-time presence at the Indiana Statehouse with the election of Republican Mike Pence as governor.

“If Gov. Pence moves forward with the tone he used in his campaign, then we could expect a good deal of overlap to that of Gov. Daniels’ positions on agriculture, energy, open spaces and transportation issues,” Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of HEC, told supporters the day after the Nov. 6 election.

Kharbanda Kharbanda

It would be fair to say HEC has not been a big fan of Gov. Mitch Daniels’ policies, which call for continued development of coal-based electric generation and for construction of Interstate 69, downstate.

The Daniels administration also has not been an advocate for expansion of mass transit, nor has it done enough to protect the state’s waterways, HEC contended.

Pence has not signaled that he would be any more sensitive to HEC’s environmental agenda than his predecessor.

“Of greater concern is the possibility that some of the big corporate interests and ideologues highly critical of environmental protection could push Indiana’s new Legislature and the Governor’s Office to weaken the current safeguards,” Kharbanda added.

HEC wants to head off potential cuts to agencies, such as the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

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