Environmental Council to 'Green The Statehouse'

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The Hoosier Environmental Council will host what organizers call Indiana's largest gathering of environmental advocates. Next month's Greening the Statehouse event in Indianapolis will feature sessions on topics including public policy, clean energy and mass transit.

October 24, 2013

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- The Hoosier Environmental Council is pleased to announce that the sixth annual Greening the Statehouse, Indiana's largest gathering of environmental advocates, will be held Saturday, November 16, 2013 at the IUPUI Campus Center, Room 450, in Indianapolis.

This year's Greening the Statehouse speaker, John Tuma, has been a proven force for change in the Midwest for the cause of sustainable agriculture. Tuma is best known as a long-time lawyer and former Republican legislator in Minnesota. He’s been central to making environmental progress in his home state in the contentious arena of industrial livestock production. Tuma has also been a passionate advocate for the rights of both small farmers and communities seeking to control their own destiny.

"Agriculture is an integral part of Indiana – instrumental to our economy, employment, and quality of life. It's critical, however, that Indiana’s local and state elected officials continue to have the ability to balance the need to sustain agriculture with the need to safeguard Indiana’s environment and quality of life," said Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council. "Our forum will focus on ensuring this balance is preserved -- and the health and well-being of Hoosiers remains protected."

During the 2013 legislative session, the Hoosier Environmental Council and its partners successfully protected Indiana's natural resources and rural quality of life by helping defeat several proposed policy measures aimed at providing special privileges and legal protections to the corporate livestock industry. Had these special protections passed, they would have threatened the ability of local and state policymakers to properly balance agricultural interests with the goals of environmental quality, food safety, and animal well-being. The most damaging proposed measure, misleadingly titled the Right to Hunt and Fish (but more appropriately titled “Right to Harm”), would have provided unprecedented constitutional protection for the commercial livestock industry by creating a fundamental right – embedded in Indiana’s Bill of Rights -- to engage in factory farming in a way that would tie the hands of local and state policymakers.

The Hoosier Environmental Council’s 2013 Greening the Statehouse Forum is a day of learning and engagement about Indiana’s most pressing environmental issues. In addition to talks about how proposed public policies would significantly weaken protections from polluting industrial livestock operations, the forum will address topics such as clean energy and mass transit. A special collaboration with IndyTalks will offer participants the opportunity to learn how to safeguard a cleaner and healthier environment for their own children and for future generations, and a partnership with the Student Sustainability Coalition will allow college students from across the state to convene and determine their own priorities and goals for the coming legislative session.

The HEC Greening the Statehouse Forum is made possible by our sponsors including:

Cummins, Mann Plumbing/MPI Solar, IndyTalks, Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads, Indiana Citizen's Alliance for Transit, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Health by Design, Alliance for Clean Rural Environment, Indiana Forest Alliance, Energy Matters, The League of Women Voters of Indianapolis, Indiana Public Health Association, IUPUI’s Office of Sustainability, Carmel Green Initiative, Earth Charter Indiana, Improving Kids Environment, Indiana Recycling Coalition, Indiana Living Green, NUVO Newsweekly, IU Kelley School of Business, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, IU School of Dentistry, IUPUI Honors College, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Purdue School of Science, and anonymous gifts from long-standing HEC donors.

About Hoosier Environmental Council:

Founded thirty years ago, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) is the largest statewide environmental policy organization in Indiana. HEC aims to set a new path for Indiana, embracing practices and policies that dramatically reduce the footprint of transportation, industry, commerce, and agriculture on the environment. Visit http://hecweb.org for more information. You can also follow HEC on Twitter: @hec_ed, #HECforum, or like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/hecweb.

About John Tuma:

John Tuma is a former state legislator and litigation attorney. He served in the Republican Caucus of the Minnesota House of Representatives for eight years, beginning in 1994. Tuma was known for his independent thinking and ability to work across party lines. He carried the marquee legislation for several state agencies and organizations representing a wide variety of interests from small businesses, to local governments and the environment. Tuma earned his JD from the University of Minnesota and BA, in political science, from the Mankato State University.

Source: Hoosier Environmental Council