HOOSIERS TAKE ENERGY MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS AS D.C. GRIDLOCK CONTINUES
Once seen exclusively as a federal issue, decades of Washington-beltway gridlock on developing a comprehensive national energy policy and alternative sources of energy have caused many states to seek their own solutions. Indiana was among the first states in reviewing statutes and policies in hopes of helping Hoosier families cope with the “squeeze” on their budgets due to rising energy costs.
Indiana continues to seek alternative sources of energy, including wind and clean coal. Benton County is home to the largest wind farm under construction in the country which will produce enough energy to power more than 200,000 homes. Meanwhile, Indiana’s first clean coal gasification plant is under construction in Knox County.
Using agricultural products and by-products as alternative and renewable energy sources are also being explored. The first of its kind in the nation, BioTown USA is designed to meet all of its energy needs with renewable resources while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and creating new opportunities for Hoosier farmers and rural communities.
High gas prices continue to drain Hoosier wallets, but less expensive fuel alternatives are more available and affordable due to a new law, which increases the number of stations selling E-85 – a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Indiana now has the third highest number of E-85 pumps in the nation.
What’s more, the world’s largest soy biodiesel plant is now operating in north central Indiana.
Through innovative efforts like these, we are working hard to achieve energy alternatives and savings for Hoosier families.
Meanwhile, there are things our families can do to cut our energy costs:
•Watch your thermostat and consider a programmable one;
•Sign up for budget billing with your home energy provider;
•Install Energy Star appliances, which will help save money on your energy bills and are eligible for a tax credit; and
•Apply for federal Energy Assistance Programs through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). These are available for residents whose household income is less than $15,000 for individuals and $31,800 for a family of four. Last year, 159,000 Hoosiers received assistance. For information, contact the IHCDA at 1-800-872-0371.
Sen. David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is President Pro-Tem of the Indiana Senate. He serves District 16, which includes portions of Fort Wayne.
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