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Mayor Henry urged to sign petition seeking renewable energy from I&M

(Photo Supplied/Ohio News Service)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – Tuesday morning at Citizens Square around 20 members of area groups presented 1,000 petitions asking for Mayor Tom Henry to sign a letter that would endorse investing in renewable energy.

The petitions were accepted on behalf of Henry by the mayor’s spokesman, John Perlich.  Each petition contained one signature.  Perlich, however, did not pledge that Henry would sign as he said that Henry wants the city to “lead by example.”

According to the Journal Gazette, the petitions want Mayor Henry to ask Indiana Michigan Power to use energy from more renewable energy sources like solar and wind when he submits the 20-year planning document which is due on May 1 to state regulators.

Members of the group state that South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg and Muncie mayor Dennis Tyler have both signed on. Also signing are seven of the nine members, both Democrat and Republican, of Fort Wayne’s City Council.

Many of the people that showed up to give the petitions were from groups like Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, NAACP Fort Wayne Branch and the Sierra Club.

I&M has indicated that it is planning to end a lease for their coal-fired plants, Rockport Unit 2 by 2022 and the Rockport Unit 1 by 2028.  Environmentalists and regulators indicate that those plants are polluters.

The letter asks I&M to replace Rockport’s share of power generation with a more green system using wind, solar and battery power.  Also the letter indicates that it wants them to provide more support for low to fixed-income residents by offering more support of energy efficiency programs.

According to Doug Fasick, Program manager for City Utilities, the city has made efforts to be more energy efficient, such as switching to LED lights in their traffic signals and street lighting.  He also indicates that the city is studying solar and hydraulic projects to execute.

In a statement, I&M says that two-thirds of energy that they provided was from emission-free resources that include four solar farms.  I&M also indicates they generate nuclear power and their parent company has purchased seven large wind farms with one being in Indiana.

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