On Monday, February 3, 2020, the Indiana House endorsed a proposal supporting coal-fired power plants. House Bill 1414, was voted 52-41. HB 1414 will make it more challenging for utility companies to close these plants by imposing extra state reviews prior to any shutdowns.
Environmental groups argued that propping up the coal industry was bad for the environment and would suppress efforts to grow the renewable energy sector. There were also concerns over increased bureaucracy for these utility companies. Proponents of the bill say that the coal industry has been an important component in providing the residents of Indiana with cost-effective energy. Currently, 70% of Indiana’s electricity comes from coal-burning plants. These lawmakers believe that phasing out coal as a technology of the past is not wise.
Republican Rep. Ed Soliday, the bill’s sponsor, wants to slow the rate at which these plants are closing until a report by the state energy task force is released. This report will help legislators determine what the right strategy is for Indiana with regard to future energy policies. Indianapolis Power & Light Co. and Northern Indiana Public Service Co. are two of the largest utility providers in the state that have plans to close many coal-burning plants within the next few years.
The bill is on its way to the Indiana Senate for review.
Indiana and the Coal-Mining Industry
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana is one of the top 10 coal-producing states in the United States. Every year, our state produces upward of 35,000,000 tons of the stuff. The majority of the coal that is mined in the state comes under the management of 15 companies that are located in 10 southwestern Indiana counties.
Coal’s impact on Indiana’s economy is significant. A study done at Purdue University estimates that there are over 2,500 jobs and over $750 million that the mining industry brings to the state. Indiana has an award-winning reclamation system for active operations and abandoned mines that require restoration.
Bankruptcy in Indiana
Times have not been easy for the coal industry. Increased competition from alternative energy sources and the rise in natural gas have hit the coal industry hard. In 2016, natural gas surpassed coal as the largest source of electricity production in the country. The United States has just seen its eighth bankruptcy filing from a prominent coal producer. Blackhawk Mining has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy as they seek to work through $1 billion in debt.
If you are facing bankruptcy, you are likely scared, unsure, and overwhelmed. This is understandable as the decision to file for bankruptcy is not an easy one. My name is Christopher L. Arrington, P.C., and I am an Indiana bankruptcy attorney who respectfully serves residents in Putnam and Hendricks counties and throughout the central Indiana region. When you are facing significant debt, you do not have to take on this challenge alone. I have extensive experience helping individuals come out from under such tremendous debt.
Call my Danville law firm today at 317-745-4494 to schedule your free consultation. I look forward to discussing your financial situation with you and working for you to find an agreeable solution.