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Conservation Day highlights energy issues

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A renewable electricity standard and net metering expansion were among the legislative priorities addressed at Conservation Day at the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday. The event was hosted by the Indiana Conservation Alliance, a group of more than 30 organizations that focus on environmental issues. For a renewable electricity standard, the alliance suggested Indiana adopts a goal that by 2021, 20 percent of Indiana's electricity be generated by renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass.

So far, every state in the Upper Midwest except Indiana has a renewable energy standard. In Illinois and Minnesota, 25 percent of electricity will come from renewable sources by 2025. In Ohio, 12.5 percent of electricity will come from renewable sources by 2025. In Michigan, the goal is for 10 percent of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015.

Senate Bill 94 addresses this issue and would call for 20 percent of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2021, but that bill has stalled in the Committee on Utilities & Technology with no movement since early January.

The other energy issue, net metering, is when a business or homeowner generates more energy than they need and some of the energy is pushed back into the grid. Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, used the example of a homeowner who has a solar panel that generates electricity for his home. If the solar panel generates 1,200 kilowatt hours in August, but the home only uses 1,000 of those kilowatt hours, the homeowner would ideally get a credit of 200 hours from the utility company if there was a statute for net metering. So when the solar panel generates 500 kilowatt hours in September, and the home uses 800 kilowatt hours, the owner will be able to use the 200 kilowatt hours in credit and only need to pay for 100 kilowatt hours for that month to make up the difference, he said. Two bills that address this are House Bill 1094 and Senate Bill 97.


The alliance supports HB 1094 and SB 97, Kharbanda said. HB 1094 passed out of committee Monday; SB 97 was denied a hearing in committee. The alliance does not support another net metering bill, Senate Bill 313 in its current form, but would support it if it was more like HB 1094. SB 313 had a second reading in the Senate Thursday. Other legislative priorities specifically for the Hoosier Environmental Council in 2010 include industrial livestock operations, forest protection, and sustainable cities. Conservation Day also addressed the reauthorization of the Lakes Management Workgroup and the discussion of creating a study to determine the effects of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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