Our Position On Climate Change

The League believes that climate change is a serious threat facing our nation and planet. The League believes that an international approach to combating climate change — including through energy conservation, air pollution controls, building resilience, and promotion of renewable resources — is necessary to protect public health and defend the overall integrity of the global ecosystem. The League supports climate goals and policies that are consistent with the best available climate science and that will ensure a stable climate system for future generations. Individuals, communities, and governments must continue to address this issue, while considering the ramifications of their decisions, at all levels — local, state, regional, national, and global.

Old Growth Forest Preservation and Creation on State Lands

The LWV Muncie‐Delaware County Environmental Group agreed to forward to the Leadership Team a proposal for preservation and creation of old‐growth forest preserves on state lands. At our November meeting the Leadership Team unanimously voted to support the proposal subject to membership approval, which was obtained by December 2, 2017. The text of our Resolution follows:

Whereas old growth hardwood forests once covered most of the 23 million acres of pre-settlement Indiana and therefore were a significant part of the state’s history and heritage.

Whereas less than 3000 acres of this virgin old growth remains today, and most of these old growth forests are small patches of less than 100 acres.

Whereas the vagaries of nature, including drought, storm, fire, insects, and pathogens, will inevitably destroy these last remnant old growth forests, depriving future generations of Indiana citizens the opportunity to experience the environment that shaped their forbears.

Whereas, given time and opportunity, forests that have been harvested in the past will recover and can ultimately develop most or all of the characteristics of historical old growth forests.

BE IT RESOLVED that the League of Women Voters supports the proposal that 10% of each state property that historically supported forest vegetation be set aside and protected in perpetuity so as to allow the forests therein to develop into old growth.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources should be directed to identify and designate for preservation areas that contain large contiguous blocks of mature forest with characteristics similar to historical old growth forests of Indiana.

Support for Carbon Fee/Dividend Policy

In its 95-year history, the League of Women Voters of the United States has demonstrated its belief that responsible citizens should educate themselves and participate in public decision-making.

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems. Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability. Pollution of these resources should be controlled in order to preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of ecosystems and to protect public health.

Therefore, the LWV of Muncie-Delaware County, through six months of study and working from long-standing LWVUS positions on Natural Resources and Resource Management, supports the non-partisan Citizens Climate Lobby carbon tax policy proposal.

The Environmental Subcommittee on Carbon Fee/Dividend Policy studied available materials on proposed carbon fee policies that would reduce CO2 emissions. Materials were also presented in two general membership meetings. Based on the Subcommittee’s study and League Positions on Natural Resources and Resource Management, the Subcommittee voted unanimously on February 4, 2017, to recommend that the LWV of Muncie-Delaware County support the non-partisan Citizens Climate Lobby carbon tax policy proposal. The Leadership Team voted unanimously on February 14, 2017, to accept that recommendation.

We fully understand that this support is the beginning of a long and complicated effort to reduce CO2 emissions and thereby retard if not reverse the most onerous consequences of global warming. It is our position that the recommended policy is fully within the LWVUS public policy positions on resource management and environmental protection. Climate is a vital environmental resource, and excessive CO2 emissions impact negatively on the earth’s ecosystems and public health.

This support is not an endorsement of specific legislation but of the CCL recommended policy for reducing CO2 emissions. Future action on this project will focus on education, outreach, and advocacy.

Executive Statements of Opposition to Mounds Lake Project and Support for Mounds Greenway Concept

Mounds Lake Reservoir

Results of Six Months of Research by our Environmental Study Committee, Working from League Positions on Land Use, Water Resources, and Fiscal Responsibility.

Mounds Greenway

Building on the work of the Environmental Study Committee and from League Positions on Land Use, Water Resources, and Fiscal Responsibility, the Greenway Committee studied the available materials on the proposed Mounds Greenway.

A response to the proposed Mounds Lake Project, which would build a dam and reservoir on the White River. Working from long-established LWVUS positions, the committee presented their findings on January 10, 2015 to the entire League which overwhelming agreed with their recommendation to oppose the project.

Included in our concerns:

  • there is no proven need for water. Our information from Citizens Energy Group indicates that there is no foreseeable water shortage, and if one occurs they have a plan in place that will cost less than buying water from Mounds Lake.
  • the reservoir would be on top of several industrial hazardous waste dumps, necessitating cleanup at an undetermined cost.
  • the removal of thousands of mature (200-300 year old) trees in the river corridor would have an adverse effect on air and water quality.
  • removal of the trees would accelerate erosion and threaten the integrity of prehistoric earthworks at Mounds State Park.
  • the reservoir would drown a dedicated state nature preserve and destroy the fen at Mounds State Park. The Mounds fen is an extremely rare natural community of very high quality, created during the Ice Ages.
  • CED states that ” Mounds Lake is being developed as a water supply reservoir, but there are likely to be downstream flood control benefits.” Since Muncie-Delaware County is upstream, this is a non-issue for our county.
  • it is clear from Phase II engineering study that this will be a working reservoir, with fluctuating water levels . Reservoirs of this type are not attractive and Delaware County will be at the muddy, shallow end. The proposed low head dam to be built in Delaware County is to collect the sludge before it hits the main dam in Anderson. Is this really what we want?

In conclusion, the epoch of dam building is behind us. Over the decades Americans have learned that dams degrade and reduce water quality; destroy natural river movement; introduce invasive non-native species that take over habitats of native species; slow the river current which warms the water and contributes to climate issues; and decrease, rather than increase, recreational opportunities.

At its meeting October 26, 2015 the Greenway Committee agreed to recommend to the LWV Leadership Team that our League officially join the Hoosier Environmental Council coalition in support of the Mounds Greenway concept. The Team, at its November meeting, voted to accept their recommendation. The committee anticipates that our future participation in this project will focus on education, outreach, and advocacy. Right now, HEC is completing studies and collecting endorsements from businesses, associations, and organizations like LWV. For updated information, see:

http://www.hecweb.org/issues/open-spaces/hec-releases-mounds-greenway-plan/

The LWV of Muncie-Delaware County Greenway Statement:

In its 95-year history, the League of Women Voters of the United States has demonstrated its belief that responsible citizens should educate themselves and participate in public decision-making.

Therefore, the League of Women Voters of Muncie-Delaware County, working from long-standing LWVUS positions on Natural Resources and Resource Management, supports the concept of the Mounds Greenway, a proposed linear park and trail system connecting Muncie, Yorktown, Daleville, Chesterfield and Anderson. Mounds Greenway would protect the West Fork of the White River and adjoining parks, provide a safe and accessible non-motorized route to connect citizens and visitors to natural, historical, and cultural sites, provide outdoor recreation activities, and contribute to the region’s quality of life by encouraging sustainable business and wellness opportunities without the use of eminent domain.

Criteria for our support, from the League’s Position on Natural Resources and Resource Management:

The League supports comprehensive long-range planning and believes that wise decision-making requires, [among other things]:

  • adequate data and a framework within which alternatives may be weighed and intelligent decisions made;
  • consideration of environmental, public- health, social and economic impacts of proposed plans and actions;
  • protection of private property rights commensurate with overall consideration of public health and environmental protection;
  • special responsibility by each level of government for those lands and resources entrusted to them;
  • special consideration for the protection of areas of critical environmental concern, natural hazards, historical importance and aesthetic value: areas where development could result in irreversible damage (such as shore-lands of rivers, lakes and streams…; rare or valuable ecosystems and geological formations; significant wildlife habitats; unique scenic or historic areas; wetlands;…); renewable resource lands, where development could result in the loss of productivity (such as watersheds, aquifers and aquifer-recharge areas, significant agricultural and grazing lands, forest lands);
  • special attention to maintaining and improving the environmental quality of urban communities.

The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should:

  • Be responsive to the will of the people.
  • Promote public understanding and participation in decision making as essential elements of responsible and responsive management of our natural resources.
  • Promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest.
  • Ensure transparency, accountability, positive community impact and preservation of the common good when considering the transfer of governmental services, assets and/or functions to the private sector.
  • Promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest.

Source: LWVUS Impact on Issues