When Indiana policymakers talk about jobs, both energy efficiency and clean energy should be part of the conversation. New energy strategies can conserve resources and reduce pollution. But they also should appeal to our hardheaded Hoosier business sense. Though employment related to energy efficiency and alternative sources is burgeoning around the country, the focus in Indiana has been on reinforcing traditional electricity sources and preserving jobs in the coal-mining industry. Many jobs in the coal industry have been eliminated, and the livelihoods of the remaining 2,500 miners in the state are imperiled. Use of coal as a power source has been declining for years, driven by environmental regulations and cheaper natural gas. Plans should be laid to help and retrain those who depend on the industry for their livelihood. But a state energy policy primarily based on coal is not realistic.
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