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Four environmental groups call for an investigation into Edwardsport coal-gasification plant

Duke Energy’s controversial coal-gasification plant in Edwardsport, Indiana is again being challenged before state regulators.

Four environmental groups, the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Save the Valley, the Sierra Club and Valley Watch, have filed a motion before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission calling for an investigation into the plant’s operating problems, schedule delays and cost overruns.

Kerwin Olson is the executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition.

“Our complaints relate back to 2007,” Olson says, “Our complaints were that this is a first-of-a-kind technology. This is a science project. We predicted that there would be significant cost escalations, construction delays, and problems during testing and startup, and all of these have happened. So much so that it’s only running at 4 percent of its rated capacity.”

In 2007, when it approved the plant, the Regulatory Commission put a $1.985 billion cap on building costs that Duke could be pass on to its customers. the Commission subsequently raised that cap to $2.6 billion. Today, the cost of the still-not-quite-operational plant is around $3.5 billion and rising.

Duke is now seeking Commission approval to add another $180 million to the expense line for a plant that is years behind its projected completion date.

“This plant was supposed to be purring like a kitten at 85 percent capacity on day one, according to Duke Energy,” Olson says, “In the six month period for the petition we filed it averaged 37 percent capacity, and the latest information we have from January was at 4 percent. We believe that this is a power plant that first of all never should have been approved in the first place and secondly, we have ratepayers paying a tremendous amount of money that is not useful and not serving the public interest.”

Since the time of its initial conception, various opponents have filed 12 motions to the Commission on the proposal. Seven of these are still before the courts.

In the past, the Commission has been reprimanded by the courts for have a too cozy relationship with the interests it is charged with regulating.

Yet the commission continues to add Duke’s costs to ratepayers bills, including the most recent request by Duke to recover repair and maintenance costs for a plant that is not producing much gas.

The Commission has not yet responded to the complainants petition, nor it is required to actually hold a hearing on it. The complainants are preparing for the eventuality of appealing the Commission’s response to Duke’s most recent cost recovery request.

Senators Donnelly and Coats join US Senate to pass Victims Protection Act

Yesterday Indiana Senators Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats joined the rest of the United States Senate in the unanimous passage of the Victims Protection Act of 2014.

The purpose of the bill is to provide for additional enhancements of the sexual assault prevention and response activities of the Armed Forces.

However, the provisions passed in yesterday’s vote only strengthen the already existent Victims Protection Act, whereas the Military Justice Improvement Act that fell five votes shy of passage late last week, specifically addressed the needs of sexual assault victims in the U.S. military.

Donnelly and Coats split their support for the Military Justice Improvement Act, with Donnelly supporting the bill authored by fellow democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New york.

A significant difference between the two bills is the oversight of the prosecution of sexual assault cases. The Military Justice Improvement Act would remove the oversight from the army chain of command.

During Senate Armed Services Committee hearings this summer, Donnelly repeatedly expressed concern with the current system that tasks commanding officers with disciplining their own troops.

“What concerns me is that this is a personal violation of somebody,” Donnelly says, “It is a risk that could destroy a person’s soul and their emotional state. In some cases, that’s by a person who they look to as a leader, or a commander, and that they look to with a sacred trust.”

While the Victims Protection act of 2014 does not address the imbalance of power in sexual assault cases, steps such as eliminating the “good soldier” defense and increasing the victim’s council, did pass into law.

Ins and Outs of Money – Free Community Tax Service

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It’s that time of year again! Tax Season! Find out where you can file for free and claim valuable credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Activate! – Stonebelt: Creon Harper

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Creon Harper of Stonebelt talks about volunteer opportunies with the organization and events celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the Stonebelt Center.

Bring It On! – March 10, 2014

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Cornelius Wright and William Hosea welcome the Honorable Valeri Haughton, judge of the Division VIII Circuit Court, Monroe County Deputy Prosecutor Joi Kamper, and Defense Attorney Megan Lewis.

PART ONE
the Honorable Valeri Haughton, judge of the Division VIII Circuit Court, Monroe County Deputy Prosecutor Joi Kamper, and Defense Attorney Megan Lewis join Cornelius and William to discuss the legal intricacies surrounding the Michael Dunn case and the impact of the President’s new social initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper.”

PART TWO
Headline news and local calendar events of interest to the African-American community.

CREDITS
Hosts: Cornelius Wright and William Hosea
Bring It On! is produced by Clarence Boone
Executive Producer Alycin Bektesh
Our News Editor is Michael Nowlin
Our Board Engineer is Chris Martin

Energy Efficiency Program on Chopping Block

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With four days left in this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers are still considering a bill that would end programs aimed at increasing energy efficiency. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

UPDATE: Just as the Daily Local News was going to air, the state Senate voted 37 – 8 to pass the bill. It now goes to Gov. Mike Pence, who can either sign it or veto it.

 

Daily Local News – March 10, 2014

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Within the two thousand page Obamacare law is a two-point-three percent excise tax on the total sales of medical devices that are used in hospitals every day; A local group has scheduled a public meeting for tomorrow evening to discuss ISTEP and other standardized testing in local schools; On March 5th a proposed cell tower southwest of Bloomington cleared a bureaucratic hurdle complicated by the new Interstate 69; The 6th annual March Against Hunger food drive competition began last week.

FEATURE
Energy Efficiency Program on Chopping Block
With four days left in this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers are still considering a bill that would end programs aimed at increasing energy efficiency. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE!
Creon Harper of Stonebelt talks about volunteer opportunies with the organization and events celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the Stonebelt Center.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by Ally Tsimekles (chim-uh-kliss), David Murphy, and Olivia DeWeese,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer today is Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – March 7, 2014

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The Jennifer Resolution Act, which urged the legislative council to study the issue of involuntary commitment of persons with substance use disorders, was turned down for a hearing by Senator Brent Steele; As warm weather and March Madness approach, Indiana State Police are ramping up drunk driving enforcement on Indiana’s roads; The future of a seven-acre urban forest remains unclear after residents debated the issue for more than three hours March 5th; Senate Bill 59, which allows guardians to file for dissolution of marriage, was passed Monday, March 3rd by the House with a unanimous vote.

FEATURE
Science on a Sphere is Here!
Science on a Sphere, a project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, has arrived on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. This makes IU one of only four universities in the country to have the resource. The sphere is housed in the university’s new Cyber-Infrastructure Building, and its unique effects are being used by everyone from data-research students to digital artists. It was funded by the Office of the Vice President of Information Technology. Correspondent Casey Kuhn spoke with Tassie Gniady (Guh-nay-dee), graduate assistant and sphere liaison, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

VOLUNTEER CONNECTION
Local organizations scout the listening area for service help on Volunteer Connection, linking YOU to current volunteer opportunities in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Helen Harrell, Lindsey Wright
Today’s headlines were written by Dani Aleksa and Sierra Gardner,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Casey Kuhn.
Volunteer Connection is produced by Wanda Krieger, in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes,
Our engineer and editor today is Drew Daudelin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Science on a Sphere is Here!

Play

Science on a Sphere, a project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, has arrived on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. This makes IU one of only four universities in the country to have the resource. The sphere is housed in the university’s new Cyber-Infrastructure Building, and its unique effects are being used by everyone from data-research students to digital artists. It was funded by the Office of the Vice President of Information Technology. Correspondent Casey Kuhn spoke with Tassie Gniady (Guh-nay-dee), graduate assistant and sphere liaison, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Hola Bloomington – March 7, 2014

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Hostess Prisma Lopez and Carlos Bakota interview Debbie Rincones form the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. The local news, sports, eco-report with Ramon Tristani and “Desde los pasillos”… with students from the Academy with Melissa Mitra and the events of the week.

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