Please find below a letter signed by a number of local elected officials across the state regarding House Bill 1191, the ban on local gas bans.
— Jennifer Wagner, Shannon Anderson and Iris O’Donnell Bellisario with the Earth Charter Indiana
We urge the Indiana General Assembly to reconsider their advancement of House Bill 1191, local unit power to prohibit utility connection. This bill undermines local government from taking critical steps to ensure the safety and affordability of housing and development in their jurisdictions, taking charge of their energy use, and responsibly reducing emissions in their communities.
Each of our communities faces different challenges in developing sustainably and HB 1191 takes away an important tool in this work. Over 40 cities and towns in Indiana are taking steps to address their resilience in the face of increasingly unstable weather, ensuring their residents a safer and healthier future. The state of Indiana has not developed a comprehensive plan to address the findings of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center with regard to increasing instances of more severe weather, so it falls to us to do this critical work.
HB 1191 would enshrine the continued burning of natural gas in residential and commercial development, despite the risks that it brings to air quality and safety. Byproducts of natural gas combustion include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, and other harmful substances. Installing gas lines in homes increases the risk of fires and explosions. Buried gas lines are an enormous risk during excavation, where lines can often be mapped improperly.
Our state is founded on the principle of home rule; the state legislature has demonstrated an alarming trend of undercutting what is so core to our identity as a state. HB 1191 not only ties local governments’ hands on a useful tool to curtail future air emissions, protect residents’ health and safety, and reduce costs of development, it sends an unsettling message that local communities have no guarantee of control over their own self-improvement. Please do not pass HB 1191.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis, Lisa Dullum from Tippecanoe County Council, all West Lafayette City Councilors. Also signed by other city councilors around Indiana.