IN gets multiyear grant for climate pollution research

According to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, Indiana ranks third out of 56 U.S. states and territories that release the highest total chemicals and pollutants per square mile into the air. (Adobe Stock)

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is using a $3 million federal grant to track greenhouse-gas pollution in the state.

The Climate Pollution Reduction Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will allow the state to establish a greenhouse-gas emissions inventory and make a climate action plan to address the findings.

"We were one of the organizations that originally pushed for this funding to be accepted by the state, to address climate pollution and climate emissions," said Delaney Barber, outreach energy and climate coordinator for the Hoosier Environmental Council. "One of the biggest hurdles for addressing climate change is funding - and now we have it."

Barber said the target for completing the plan is 2027. She said the council wants to make sure that environmental justice is part of the solution, to help those communities most affected by air and water pollution. The comprehensive plan potentially opens Indiana for almost $5 billion in EPA funding to implement it.

Barber said the grant specifies that 40% of the climate action plan must benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities. So, the Hoosier Environmental Council is doing community outreach to find out what is needed most, through in-person meetings, online surveys and written comments.

At the meetings, she added, attendees have been vocal about what they want to see in the plan.

"Expanding workforce development programs, new clean-energy jobs. Natural forms of carbon sequestration - so, urban canopies, green spaces, native plantings," she said. "Supporting cover crops for future farm fields, and supporting alternative transportation."

According to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, the top five chemicals released into Indiana's air and water are nitrate, manganese and zinc compounds, sodium nitrate and ammonia.

Terri Dee, Anchor/Producer

Friday November 2, 2023