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Monday, July 27, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Pence’s environmental petulance hurts Indiana" and "Pence noncommittal on gay anti-discrimination law"

Matthew Tully's July 24th IndyStar column is subheaded: "Gov. Mike Pence might be scoring political points with his opposition to new federal environmental proposals. But he is not helping Indiana, and he is ignoring some longterm realities." A few quotes:

It would be a lot easier to take Gov. Mike Pence’s opposition to just about every new environmental policy seriously if he didn’t so gleefully and diligently use it to try to score political points.

“We’re not going to do it,” he wrote in a recent email to “conservative” campaign supporters, one in a long series of publicity-seeking steps he’s taken to show just how much he opposes the Obama administration’s attempts to reduce air and water pollution.

We’re not going to do it? That sounds less like a grand gubernatorial statement and more like teenage petulance. Particularly when it’s not backed up by any counter-proposals or any serious concern about the state’s deeply entrenched environmental problems.

The tone was the same at a press conference Pence recently participated in — with an energy industry group, of course — in which he said, according to my colleague Maureen Groppe, “We do have a choice. You can refuse to submit a state plan.”

What a choice. Just do nothing. Sure, in a state that ranks near the bottom on all sorts of health and environmental measures, let’s just do nothing. Don’t even offer a plan that attempts to reduce emissions. Don’t get into a battle of ideas. Just say no. Hey, maybe all of that pollution will just blow over to Illinois. * * *

I understand that Pence isn’t going to be an environmental champion. But his words and actions suggest that on these issues he is living in a policy bubble free of diverse voices. That’s hurt him in other areas, and it’s not serving Indiana well on this one.

Yesterday in the NWI Times Dan Carden had a news story with a similar theme on a different topic. It begins:
Gov. Mike Pence is hinting that he believes Indiana's recent economic growth may eliminate the need for a new state law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Speaking to reporters last week following a bill-signing ceremony, the Republican seemed to suggest Indiana has suffered no long-term ill effects from the March-April "religious freedom" debacle that temporarily made Indiana synonymous with gay hate and prompted boycotts of state businesses and tourism sites.

As a result, further attempts to placate critics of Indiana's policies might not be necessary, he implied.

"I think our economy speaks for itself. Our economy is strong and growing stronger, and that's a testament to the resilience of the people of Indiana and to the great reputation our state enjoys," Pence said.

"We're going to move forward on the policies that are making that a reality, and we'll leave debates about the future for the future." * * *

When asked whether he views the need for an anti-discrimination law solely through an economic lens, the governor boasted that since he took office in 2013 more than 110,000 new jobs have been created, and Hoosier businesses this year already have promised to invest $3 billion in the state.

"I really do believe that we found a way through that difficult period last spring to calm the waters, and the facts speak for themselves: Indiana's economy is strong and growing stronger," Pence said.

"Hoosiers may be assured that I'm going to continue to advance the policies and the practices that are building on Indiana's story and telling Indiana's story."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 27, 2015 10:10 AM
Posted to Environment | Indiana Government