It's official: Indiana's energy efficiency program, Energizing Indiana, will cease operations on Dec. 31, thanks to a bill passed by the state Senate and House of Representatives. Yesterday, Governor Mike Pence announced that he will not veto or sign Senate Bill 340 (SB 340), which means the bill will take effect, according to The Indy Star.
"I was disappointed that the General Assembly chose to eliminate the energy efficiency program established by the previous administration without offering a viable alternative. For that reason, I have declined to sign this bill and acknowledge that this bill will become law without my signature," Pence said in a statement released yesterday. He did address the requests for him to vetoing the bill.
As we previously reported, under SB 340, the end of the year will also mark the end of Energizing Indiana, which currently provides weatherization for low-income households, subsidies for residential lighting products, heating and cooling retrofits in schools, energy efficiency education, and commercial industrial retrofit rebates.
The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Pence wants lawmakers to develop a new energy-efficiency program, and that while he considered the Energizing Indiana program "worthwhile," it was too expensive and "makes Indiana less competitive."
Environmental groups, naturally, expressed disappointment with Pence's decision not to veto the law. "With the new law, Indiana government is promoting more waste, higher costs to customers and more harmful air pollution. That is a law that deserved a veto!" Rebecca Stanfield wrote on the Natural Resources Defense Council's blog, Switchboard. Sierra Club's Indiana representative Jodi Perras said the decision "makes Indiana the first state in the nation to roll back its energy savings goal," noting that "there's no denying that hundreds of energy efficiency workers will be out of a job next January when utilities cancel or scale back home energy audits, appliance rebates and low-income home weatherization programs."