Chapter newsletters are sent out to members and supporters via email. For e-newsletters sent from summer 2020 onwards, see our dedicated page here.
If you're looking for older back issues, you can click these links to download the following issues: Spring Sierran 2017, Summer Sierran 2017, Spring Sierran 2018, Spring Sierran 2019.
April 12, 2023.
Sierra Club Responds to Industrial Fire in Richmond, Indiana. Read our statement here:105.4 KB
March 14, 2023.
EPA Releases New PFAS “Forever Chemical” Drinking Water Standards. Read our statement here:79.09 KB
March 24, 2022.
Several faith, environmental, social justice and consumer advocacy groups have formed a coalition, Energy for All, in response to the widespread distress and hardship in our community caused by exorbitant CenterPoint bills and the utility’s intent to raise rates even more. Read the declaration here.
March 11, 2022.
L-R: Jesse Kirkham, Amy Barnes, David Maidenberg, and Lori Adelson.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Chapter Director of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, David Maidenberg.
Several past friends and colleagues at the Sierra Club were moved to pay tribute to him, which you can read here.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
January 26, 2022
Sen. Mark Messmer, chair of the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee, has refused to hear Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 and Senate Bill 255, two pieces of climate legislation authored by Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette), sponsored by legislators from both sides of the aisle, and championed by Confront the Climate Crisis, a high school student-led statewide campaign that seeks to engage Hoosiers and Indiana policymakers in climate action. In response, Wendy Bredhold, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Indiana, and Amanda Shepherd, director of the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club, released a joint statement. Read in full here.
Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, Just Transition Northwest Indiana, Hoosier Environmental Council, Izaak Walton League, and Save the Dunes Comments on Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Proposed Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (“Proposed SIP”) for Second Implementation Period. Read the comments in full here.
We encourage the Division of Forestry to preserve the Back Country Area (BCA) of the Morgan-Monroe / Yellowwood State Forest as a High Conservation Value Forest
Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter Chair, Julie Lowe, has written an Letter to the Editor which you can read here.
You can read our Chapter Director Amanda Shepherd's comments to the DoF, here.
April 16, 2021
On Friday, Indianapolis woke to news of a mass shooting at FedEx that took eight people’s lives. Our thoughts are with those injured, the families of those who were lost, and those traumatized by the ceaseless and needless violence that permeates our society. As an organization that works to protect both the natural and human environment, we call for our elected leaders to implement sensible gun control policies to protect the lives of all. We can, and must, create a safer world.
Statement from our national office here.
April 14, 2021
A federal judge today ruled that the more than century-old BP Whiting Refinery on Lake Michigan, one of the nation’s largest refineries, repeatedly violated legal limits on deadly soot-like particulate air pollution.
The decision by Judge Philip P. Simon of the U.S. District Court in Northern Indiana was a major victory for the Sierra Club, represented by attorneys with the Environmental Integrity Project. The groups had sued BP over air pollution violations at the Whiting Plant, which sprawls over 1,400 acres in Whiting, East Chicago, and Hammond.
The court will now decide a penalty and whether to require pollution control equipment or other remedies to fix the violations.
“Today’s ruling stamps out BP’s profits-over-people approach and ensures it will be held accountable for endangering Northwest Indianans’ health and safety with their dangerous emissions,” said Bowden Quinn, Director of Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter. Read the full press release here.
More from Chicago Tribune.
April 14, 2021
Our Chapter Director, Bowden Quinn, retires at the end of April.
Bowden has been with the Hoosier Chapter since 2007, and has been director since March 2015.
Julie Lowe, Hoosier Chapter chair: “As a volunteer with the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, I have worked with our current Director, Bowden Quinn closely since 2018 when I joined the executive committee. Before that, I would see Bowden at environmental events around the state... It was not until I began working more closely with Bowden that I realized how important he is to the Hoosier Chapter.” Read the press release here.
We welcome Amanda Shepherd as our new Chapter Director!
Julie- “I know that I speak for the Executive Committee leaders in welcoming Amanda wholeheartedly and with great enthusiasm. We look forward to the work ahead with renewed energy.”
Amanda- “I am so excited to work with the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter to address the growing environmental crises facing our world in multi-faceted ways. I have been particularly inspired by the Sierra Club’s recent focus on working toward a more just and equitable future as evidenced by their public stances on both social and environmental justice, which are so often linked, and am thrilled to be able to help in forging ahead in this new intersectional landscape, while maintaining the necessary work of protecting our natural resources here in Indiana and beyond.” Read the press release here.
We are also welcoming Cory Ray as our new Legislative Coordinator. Read more about Cory here!
March 5, 2021
On Feb. 18, Black Indiana state representatives were the targets of white Republican representatives’ disrespectful and threatening behavior. In response, the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) is recommending actions to protect their physical safety and address systemic racism. Read more and sign.
March 1, 2021
Once again, Indiana lawmakers show their indifference to a clean and healthy environment.
House environmental committee a no-show despite Indiana being one of U.S.' most polluted- article on Indy Star here.
September 2, 2020: Results from the Hoosier Life Survey says Hoosiers support climate policies — even if they don't believe in climate change. Article on Indy Star here.
April 27, 2020: Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter recently lost our friend, colleague, and lobbysit, Brian Hasler. Read his obituary here.
Our tribute from Grant Smith, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter legislative committee chair:
Photo from Brian's gofundme for medical expenses.
Our good friend, colleague, and Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club lobbyist, Brian Hasler, passed away on Saturday, April 18, of cancer in Indianapolis. He will be sorely missed. Brian was eternally upbeat and optimistic, always smiling – yes, even in the face of rather difficult odds at the Indiana General Assembly. And he was always active.
Brian began his political career as an intern at the General Assembly. From there, he became a staffer for former Congressman Frank McCloskey from Bloomington. In the mid-1990s, Brian decided to run for office and became a state representative from Evansville in 1996, retiring in 2004. He secured a job at Indiana State University as special assistant to the university’s president soon after leaving the state legislature and held that position until 2011. During the last decade, Brian co-founded the Indiana Racing Memorial Association, dedicated to preserving the state’s racing history; helped found the Association of Retired Members of the Indiana General Assembly; and, of late, was in the process of creating a statewide Veterans Chamber of Commerce. He was an associate of the lobbying firm Capitol Assets, where he began working with Sierra Club in 2017.
Brian was a pleasure to work with and conscientious in his pursuit of Sierra Club aims at the legislature. His experience and diplomatic nature made our collaborative work that much more effective. Thank you, Brian. Rest easy, our friend and mentor.
April 14, 2020: Mid-States highway planning near Jasper must stop to focus on more important needs amid pandemic, coalition says Group strongly objects to proposed routes that would cut through the Hoosier National Forest. The coalition includes more than 50 businesses in Orange County and several local and statewide environmental groups. Among them are Orangeville Rise, Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Forest Alliance, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Valley Watch and Protect Our Woods, with technical support by the Environmental Law & Policy Center. Read the press release.
April 14, 2020: More than 70 local businesses and environmental organizations are imploring the Indiana Department of Transportation to stop planning a proposed highway project through the southern part of the state, claiming it’s not needed, that it could threaten rare habitat and that resources could be better spent aiding with the COVID-19 pandemic. Full story.
April 9, 2020: Harvard study highlights connection between air pollution and COVID-19 death rates. Read article on 14news.com.
March 10, 2020: Sierra Club calls on Indiana’s governor to veto bill aimed at propping up the coal industry at customers’ expense. Read full press release here.
Remembering John Gibson
We are saddened to learn of the passing of the inspirational environmental leader and mentor, John Gibson. John was a friend of Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter and we were proud to know and work with him and Earth Charter Indiana, which he cofounded, over the years. He will be missed. We send our condolences to his family, to all our friends at ECI, and the environmental community in Indiana. We echo the words of Jim Poyser, director of Earth Charter Indiana: “We are sad, but this is a time for celebration... his dedication to climate and social justice action will continue to motivate us for decades to come.”
BP lays out long-term ambition to achieve net-zero emissions - our response
From the Chicago Tribune: Energy producer BP said it wants to eliminate or offset all carbon emissions from its operations and the oil and gas it sells to customers by 2050, an ambitious target born out of pressure to help combat climate change and keep making money. “It would be nice if they were serious. It’s a little hard to take them seriously,” said Bowden Quinn, director of the Hoosier Sierra Club. “We went through this 20 years ago, it was just a publicity stunt,” he said, referring to BP’s 2000 “Beyond Petroleum” campaign. “A decade later, they got out of solar, pretty much out of wind," he said. “We are about making money off oil, and they went all in on tar sands (producing petcoke, once stored in huge piles in Southeast Chicago).”
We are happy to report that chapter members around the state have re-elected four incumbents of our executive committee (excom) to another two-year term. They are excom chair Julie Lowe, former excom chair Richard Hill, energy committee chair Jean Webb, and legislative committee chair Grant Smith. Congratulations to all. We received 110 votes from chapter members in December. You can read about our re-elected excom members here.
Sierra Club is mentioned in the current edition of Riffles and Pools- the magazine from Hoosier Riverwatch, which also features photos by our Executive Committee chair and Winding Waters Group chair, Julie Lowe. Read the full issue here.
Here's why the Sierra Club opposes animal leg-hold traps: "If you are going to end another life, at least end it mercifully." - NYT article, How Not to Kill an Animal.
Op-ed: Hoosiers can lessen the effects of global climate change. "The forest types, climate and soil in Indiana and parts of our neighboring states are simply better at scrubbing carbon from the air"-Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. Read his full op-ed here.
Environmental Organizations React to ArcelorMittal Investigation Report
Portage, IN – Earlier this week, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) released its investigation report on August’s fish kill in the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. The report includes details on the incident and its cause, the response from both IDEM and ArcelorMittal, and the description of violations that occurred. The report points to a series of events which ultimately led to the toxic release of cyanide and ammonia nitrogen into the waterway that flows into Lake Michigan. Moreover, the report also indicates that ArcelorMittal had full knowledge of the equipment failure that would result in the “continuous release of thousands of gallons per minute of blast furnace gas washing wastewater, known, by the nature of its origin, to contain pollutants including Cyanide, to a treatment plant not designed or equipped to treat Cyanide.” Environmental organizations Save the Dunes, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Surfrider Foundation Chicago Chapter, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Hoosier Environmental Council, Izaak Walton League and Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter found the report shocking.
Op-ed from Jeffrey Dukes, director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center: Climate change impacts Indiana's residents, economy. Read here.
New Senate caucus will seek bipartisan solutions to address the climate challenge. Read more here.
Sierra Club's Justin Onwenu article on being a 'Black Treehugger' in the Guardian UK: "Being a black tree hugger has taught me that we must engage all citizens to fight climate crisis. Activists, journalists, politicians and voters must transcend the cultural, racial and political differences to work together"
Read the full article here.
OpEd: "Here in Madison, Indiana, we need to protect ourselves from the OVEC Clifty Creek coal plant. We don’t need Ohioans to bail it out." - our Executive Committee member, Richard Hill. Read here.
Environmental groups urge city to reconsider invasive tree planted as 9/11 tribute: "While planting a tree in remembrance of victims is a beautiful gesture and certainly appreciated, it is important that we honor the history of 9/11 in a way that does not unintentionally harm the natural environment”- Celia Garza, chair of the Northeast Indiana Sierra Club Network Group.
See the full media release here.
Read an article in the Journal Gazette.
Congratulations to Julia Lowe, Michelle Carr, and Marilyn Bauchat, who were elected to the chapter executive committee officer positions of chair, vice chair, and secretary, respectively. Along with our long-time treasurer, Mary Beth Wert, who was re-elected to that post, the chapter now has an all-woman leadership team.
Left- Julia Lowe, chair. Top right- Michelle Carr, vice chair. Below right- Marilyn Bauchat, secretary.
Steve Aaholm, new executive committee member.
We were honored to be featured on WFYI's documentary, Courage, Brains and Muscle: Our Environmental Champions, where former First Lady Judy O’Bannon travels the state in search of environmental champions, discovering creative individuals who are successfully improving sustainability and reducing pollution in Indiana.
You can watch it online, here, now!
(R) Artist Mark Warpenburg hanging his work at our 2018 Environmental Justice in Indiana exhibition, which was featured in the documentary.
January 6, 2019
Op-ed: Legislators must invest in protecting Indiana's wildlife. This op-ed was written by the Indiana Conservation Alliance and its member organizations: Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Parks Alliance, Indiana Division Izaak Walton League, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Indiana Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy. Read here.
November 19, 2018
Indiana environmental groups support improving radon testing in schools: A recent Call 6 Investigation found most schools do not test for radon, a lung cancer-causing gas that comes up through the soil, even though the EPA recommends schools test at least every five years: read the full article here. Our Chair, Richard Hill, calls it a "no-brainer issue that needs to be addressed".
Environmental advocates rally in Hammond to support youth suing government over climate change. ndiana Beyond Coal's Ashley Williams quoted in this article."I think it's heroic. It's inspiring," Williams said.
August 29, 2018
Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter Applauds Indiana’s VW Settlement Funding Plan to Invest in Electric School Buses.
Statement from Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter director, Bowden Quinn, here.
See also: State Revises Plan For Spending VW Settlement Money Based On Public Feedback (news story on WBOI)
*NEW* Related- The Wheels on These Buses Go Round and Round With Zero Emissions (Nov. 2018 NYT article which mentions Indiana)
Read about our Executive Committee member Marilyn Bauchat, profiled in Senior Life here. 'She believes care for the planet is inspired through shared wonder, and she never turns down the opportunity to engage others, listen to their concerns and share research'
March 16, 2018
MICHIGAN CITY — Environmental advocates are ramping up their efforts in Northwest Indiana to close coal-burning power plants and transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Indiana Beyond Coal organizer Ashley Williams: “We are in a time of climate peril”. Read the full article on the Michigan City News Dispatch website here.
MICHIGAN CITY — In the shadow of the cooling tower at NIPSCO’s coal-fired power plant, the Sierra Club’s Ashley Williams discussed Indiana’s Beyond Coal campaign on Thursday night. Full story on NWI Times here.
In memory of Barb Lollar
The Hoosier Chapter and all of Indiana lost an environmental champion in December with the passing of Barb Lollar after a long battle with breast cancer. Barb hadn't been active with the Chapter in recent years, but those of you who are long-time members will recall her many contributions in the 1990s, when she served on our excom and wrote a grant application that allowed us to fund a wetlands outreach position, which unfortunately we were unable to sustain. Besides her volunteer activities for the Chapter, Barb was a skilled environmental attorney, first with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and then with the Louisville office of the Army Corps of Engineers. Her legal acumen and passion for protecting the environment were recognized and admired by all who knew her. She was married to IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. Her obituary is below. We mourn her passing.
Barbara Ellen Lollar, October 11, 1959-December 22, 2017. Barbara Lollar, family member, attorney, adventurer, animal lover, and mentor was Bob and Sue Lollar’s third child. Barb, her brothers Steve and Stan and her parents spent the first three years of Barb’s life in Park Forest, Illinois before moving to Arlington Heights, where Barb graduated from Prospect High School in the Class of 1977. Barb graduated from University of Minnesota with a BA in 1983. Barb worked her way through the IU McKinney School of Law also serving as legal assistant at McCready and Keene, a benefits and actuarial firm, and as a law clerk in the Indiana Court of Appeals for Judge Patrick Sullivan. After obtaining her J.D. in 1990, Barb served as a volunteer board member of the Sierra Club. She served as Staff Counsel at McCready and Keene from 1991-93 and served as the assistant director of the Hoosier Environmental Council Legal Defense Fund from 1993-4 before joining the Indiana Department of Environmental Management as an attorney in 1994. She was tenacious and well respected in the environmental bar. In 2011 she joined the Louisville District of the US Army Corps of Engineers where she served as senior environmental attorney. In addition to being an attorney Barb was an avid bike rider, paddler, camper, hiker, and traveler. After high school, she spent a summer working and hiking in Glacier National Park. As a member of the Central Indiana Bicycling Association, she biked with her friends in rides around the state and country. She joined the Hoosier Canoe Club and paddled locally on the White, Wabash, Wildcat, and Fall Creek rivers as well as Eagle Creek Reservoir. She also traveled with friends and her husband to far flung locations from Missouri to Florida from North Carolina to Wisconsin to find good paddling. Barb traveled internationally to Central America, Italy, and Ireland. She visited most states including Hawaii and Alaska and introduced her step-sons to Washington, Oregon, and National Parks out west. Perhaps more important than her academic accomplishments or spirit of adventure, Barb was a tremendous person. Recently, Barb enrolled in a program to help teach immigrants who are studying to become US Citizens. She has been a long time member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis and has volunteered on mission trips in Central America, New Orleans, Kentucky, and Indianapolis. She volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America where she became a best friend and mentor to Ashley Fidler. She married her husband Bruno in 2010 and was a caring Step-Mother for Benjamin, Samuel, and Thomas Pigott. Barb has been a loving daughter to her mother Sue and father Bob and a supportive sister to her brothers Steve and Stan. She is survived by her husband Bruno and three step-sons (Benjamin, Samuel, and Thomas), her mother Sue, her brothers Steve (Mary) and Stan (Patricia). Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to the Cancer Support Community of Central Indiana.
November 14, 2017
Updated Building Codes Would Save Hoosiers $ - From PublicNewsService.org - Monica Cannaley, Energy Efficiency Organizer for the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, says the national codes are updated every three years, and states are encouraged to update theirs as well, but Indiana is using codes from 2009. The Hoosier State was ranked 40th for energy efficiency by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Read the full story here.
October 2, 2017
Members of the chapter's Dunelands Group and northern Indiana Beyond Coal organizer Ashley Williams participated in the "Walk the Line" hike to protest our nation's reliance on fossil fuels and call for clean renewable energy. Full story here.
September 6, 2017
Heartwood and the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter filed joint comments opposing the proposal to log 300 acres in the Yellowwood State Forest Back Country Area. Read the press release here, and to see Sierra Club's comment letter click here.
August 23, 2017
WDRB- Environmentalists warn of the effects of coal ash ponds at Gallagher Station, New Albany. Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter Executive Committee Member, Jason Flickner, is quoted: "Duke has been a major polluter, and it's impacted public health for decades." Read the full article here.
August 10, 2017
Chicago Tribune- Climate report validates global warming warnings; Indiana experts weigh in. Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter Director Bowden Quinn: "We need policies to reduce use of coal and fossil fuel... we can't ignore science." Full story here.
August 5, 2017
News and Tribune- Environmentalists are calling on a state agency to reject Duke Energy's coal ash storage plans in New Albany. Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter Director Bowden Quinn: "Keeping the toxic ash away from water is the only proven way to prevent contamination." Read the full article here.
August 2, 2017
Pruitt visits Indiana, continues tour against vital Clean Water Act protections. Read our statement here.
July 8, 2017
Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists. From the New York Times: Early on a March morning in the Indiana State Capitol, under a mural of the Greek sun god Apollo, solar energy enthusiasts swarmed a committee hearing to defend the state’s embattled solar policy - read the full article here.
June 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune- Lawmakers, environmentalists concerned over proposed EPA cuts. Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter Director Bowden Quinn: "Indiana's Department of Environmental Management is already cut to the bone." Read more in the Chicago Tribune article here.
May 30, 2017
The Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter hosts a Nature Play Day - an initiative of the Indiana Children and Nature Network (ICAN) - on June 10. Press release here.
May 8, 2017
Crown Hill North Woods is Saved! - Update from Lori Adelson, Outings Committee Chair
On Friday May 5, 2017 we learned that the only remaining old growth forest in inner city Indianapolis is saved from destruction. The VA and Crown Hill Cemetery (CHC) agreed to a land swap that would allow the columbaria-only national cemetery to be built on an adjacent clear parcel owned by CHC, keeping the centuries old forest intact. The alternate land parcel was among several alternate locations suggested in a land swap by the Dr Laura Hare Charitable Trust, who offered to purchase the woods from the VA in exchange for another location for the columbarium memorial. Hopefully the outcome will be the same: that the woods can be preserved for what it is, a lovely largely unharmed woodland that has been here before the city even existed. The Hare Trust will continue to pursue purchasing the woods so they can be stewards for its preservation.
The Heartlands Group of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter was part of a coalition of many groups and citizens who opposed destruction of the woods and formed the Alliance of Crown Hill Neighbors. We were spearheaded by the Indiana Forest Alliance and had input and support from Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, Crown Hill Neighborhood Association, Amos Butler Audubon Society, Hoosier Environmental Council, Earth Charter Indiana, veterans, arborists, schoolchildren, teachers, attorneys, neighbors and many others. We also thank Senator Joe Donnelly, Congressman Andre Carson, Mayor Joe Hogsett and City Councilor Zach Adamson for listening and responding to citizen outcry. Thanks to everyone who marched, picked up the phone, met with key decision makers, picketed, wrote letters, made signs, and even guarded the trees. We all know the tremendous good that forests contribute to for our health, our air, and our quality of life. As we say in Sierra Club: Explore, Enjoy, and Protect!
For more details and a history of the struggle to save the wood since last fall see Indiana Forest Alliance.
May 2, 2017
Gov. Holcomb Signs Solar-Killing Bill into Law. Read our press release here.
April 12, 2017
Sierra Club responds to U.S. Steel chemical spill at Lake Michigan's Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Read here.
March 28, 2017
Indiana Solar Jobs Grow, While Trump Order and Indiana Legislation Would Take Solar Industry Backward. Press release here.
March 16, 2017
Sierra Club Statement on Trump Budget Cuts to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative - download here.
February 8, 2017
Sierra Club and Earthjustice motion to intervene granted in court case to protect Indiana community from hazardous waste. Download here.
31 January, 2017
Press release: Sierra Club calls for end to environmental agency budget cuts. Download here.