Readers' Forum

Shift state away from fossil fuels

The Tribune-Star editorial (Dec. 26, 2020) was right on point: “Indiana’s energy policy remains focused on slowing the move from coal to renewable sources such as wind, solar and natural gas. But clinging to that policy is unwise and wrong-headed.”

While members of the legislature may claim that their goal is to protect jobs and economic benefits derived from the coal-mining industry, they are doing just the opposite in failing to acknowledge that times have changed. Coal is no longer a good investment for Hoosiers, and protecting the coal industry is not the way to invest in the future of coal miners and coal-mining communities. Tying citizens to higher prices for decades because of legislation that links energy production to expensive coal would be irresponsible and especially burdensome to lower income families who will be forced to pay ever higher utility rates even as the cost of renewable, clean energy falls.

The Indiana legislature should also take this opportunity to ensure that Indiana is prepared to meet the challenges of climate change. According to the Hoosier Life Survey conducted by the IU Resiliency Institute, 75% of Hoosiers recognize that climate change is happening, The Morrison Institute Survey reports that 69% of Indiana Republicans believe that protection of the environment should be given priority even at the risk of economic growth. Municipalities across Indiana are responding to public demand for action on climate change by developing climate action plans. It’s time for the Indiana legislature to get on board.

Climate change is already here. It looks like 2020 will go down as the hottest or second hottest on record. Millions of acres burned across California, Oregon, Washington and other Western states, displacing thousands of people, destroying businesses and costing lives. A record number of hurricanes slammed the Southeastern states. According to the Climate Change Research Center of Purdue University, southern Indiana will experience some of the most significant impacts from global warming in the entire state, including heavier rainfalls and much hotter weather. Warmer, wetter weather could delay planting for farmers, increase pests plus tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, reduce crop yields, heighten demand for electricity and burden ratepayers with higher bills.

Scientists say we must curb our greenhouse gas emissions by about 45% over this decade if we hope to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and escape the worst effects of climate change. Over 3,500 economists have signed a statement published in the Wall Street Journal declaring that climate change is a serious problem which calls for immediate national action. They recommended that the U.S. Congress place a steadily rising price on fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) based on the greenhouse gases they emit, and return the fee collected directly to U.S. citizens in equal dividends. 

This, they said, would spur innovation, protect the economy and protect Americans, most of whom would receive more than they pay out in increased energy prices. Economists from both Republican and Democratic administrations have signed the statement, including past Federal Reserve chairs, members of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. Treasury secretaries, and 27 Nobel laureates in economics. A bill that meets those requirements — the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) — was introduced in Congress’ last session.

Our state legislators need to anticipate this shift away from fossil fuels. Indiana must be part of the solution, or its businesses, workforce and all those who live here will be left in the backwaters. The wise approach would be for the state to mitigate economic damage to coal miners and coal communities while aggressively promoting a low-carbon, renewable energy future — our children’s future. 

— Lani Ethridge, Evansville

Voters spoke to remove Trump

To the gentleman who says the Tribune-Star never prints any letters in support of the now-voted-out-of-office-by-a-huge-majority president, let me explain why.

This useless shell of a man plays golf at his own golf clubs while charging the American taxpayer for the expense. Not only is he playing golf while 300,000-plus citizens die of a virus that he said would be gone by spring of 2020, he continues to ignore this disease that is killing our country. As for the falsehood that his government is helping distribute the vaccine, nothing could be further from the truth. States are crying for this life-saving vaccine and the manufacturer is saying no shipping instructions have been provided to them by Trump and his henchmen.

I think the thing that upsets me the most is the letter writers attempt to try to drag down President-elect Biden by repeating some unconfirmed rumors about Biden’s son and then continues on with an attempt to blacken HRC’s character with unsubstantiated claims that the GOP has been trying to pin on her for years. There is no concrete proof of either of them committing any such crimes; however, there is daily proof of Trump and what he is doing. 

When Pompeo said the Russians were responsible for trying to hack into our computer systems, Trump said it wasn’t true and said probably someone else did it (you know, the awful Chinese) and he continues to think Putin is a great leader. Perhaps the most damaging information coming out about just how crooked Trump is begins with inside information that he was considering martial law to overturn the election. 

We, the American voter, turned out in record numbers to vote this charlatan out of office. All this supposed stealing of the election has been thrown out of court time and again because there is no valid proof and the judges have said this repeatedly. Still, those who support this dishonest man refuse to see the truth and continue to try to convince the readers of the Tribune how unfairly Trump has been treated.

He has damaged this country for future generations by ignoring the Constitution, subverting money to build a stupid wall that has destroyed the environment, cheated, lied, and bragged about how great he is. Thank goodness the voting citizens of our country turned out in record numbers to remove him from another four years of plundering our assets, destroying our economy, and destroying our environment. 

To those of you who still support this man, wake up and smell the coffee. You have taken this TV want-to-be and made him into something he isn’t. He is the worst possible president ever and we have lost 300,000-plus citizens thank to his mismanaging of the virus. I am hoping when he leaves office he will be put on trial for crimes against humanity. He will be found guilty and, I hope, will spend the rest of his life in prison where he richly deserves to be.

— Shirley A. Thomas, Brazil

Questioning that insurance fee

I’m sure people of Vigo County have received the advertisements in their energy bill the same as I have. I have had the Strike/Stop unit for several years, and I have paid the $2.99 a month for the insurance on it.

In August 2020 we had a storm and I had a power surge from it. I lost my power, my stove, microwave, ADT service, and the code to my garage door opener.

I filed a claim with the Strike/Stop claims office of Duke Energy. I was told I would only be reimbursed for the microwave and the code to my garage door opener. My stove is also a plug-in appliance, so I don’t know why they will not cover it. I guess it doesn’t matter, as I haven’t gotten any payment for anything.

My suggestion to other people in Vigo County is do not pay the $2.99 insurance fee on the Strike/Stop unit. It doesn’t pay anything for a loss.

I realize that the COVID-19 virus has caused some problems. But when I have called the numbers I’ve been given, I either get an answering machine, someone working from home that doesn’t get their mail, or someone that doesn’t call back.

If you have this service, I wish you better luck than I have had.

— Jack K. Callahan, Terre Haute

Understandable rage about China’s actions

China lies about wrong-doing on COVID, spying, global aggression, and trying to seduce U.S. lawmakers and some politicians. 

That is why I am not upset that a Terre Haute police official is so upset to mouth words that some are upset about. I would be sorry if he was not upset. It seems anymore that there is always something to be upset about. I’m upset when I read John Garner’s words. He has free speech, though.

How many spouted things during World War II.

Every time another loved one was killed in the war, what words did you spout?

Please don’t take our right of free speech away.

— Barbara Stoffer, Terre Haute

The Tribune-Star is committed to publishing a diversity of opinions from readers in its Readers’ Forum. We’d like to hear what you think on any issue. Email us at

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