Hoosier Action brings environment, housing concerns to state officials

·3 min read

MORGAN COUNTY — Hoosier Action continues to live up to its name as the group takes action across the state to better the lives of Hoosiers everywhere.

Hoosier Action is a chapter-based, member-led organization focused on holding local and state officials accountable about pollution and contamination which impacts residents in the county. During COVID, the group focused on housing for Morgan County residents.

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Most recently, the group had a conversation with State Sen. Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) about a number of issues impacting Morgan County residents.

Tasha Coppinger, the organizer for Morgan County's chapter of Hoosier Action, noted the group had created a legislative agenda which they brought to Bray.

Senator Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) met with several members of Hoosier Action to discuss concerns through out the state.
Senator Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) met with several members of Hoosier Action to discuss concerns through out the state.

"(The agenda) was a set of issues that we put together after talking to over ten thousand Hoosiers over the course of the summer," Coppinger said. "A number of issues that we see really directly impact people in Morgan County."

Coppinger said the issues ranged from drug use and lack of childcare to housing and environmental concerns.

One major environmental concern for Hoosier Action has been several toxic plumes, particularly ones located at Pike and Mulberry Streets in Martinsville, where the Environmental Protection Agency recently began a $12 million cleanup.

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"We are really very dedicated to getting the problem resolved, and we'd rather it sooner than later." David Schell, the environment coordinator for Morgan County's Hoosier Action chapter, said.

Schell said Bray seemed very interested in working together to resolve the plume issues.

"Part of what was hard about the plumes is that it's not directly a legislative issue right now," Coppinger told the Reporter-Times. "I want to figure out... how we can actually get the legislature to give more funding to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to clean up sites like those in Martinsville."

Coppinger said they planned on following up with Bray about the plumes in March, but would be pursuing results for the other concerns outlined in their agenda much sooner.

"The end result, and our intention, is to clean up the plumes and to destroy or eliminate any possibility for people getting cancer or neurological diseases that have been directly connected to it by the EPA," Schell added.

Schell said the EPA's plan has the plumes being fully eliminated in 30 years.

"We would like something much sooner than that... two or three years at the most," Schell said.

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"We want to see the plumes in Martinsville cleaned up, and we also want to see this stop happening across the state," Coppinger added. "Every Hoosier (should have) clean air, water, and soil, and can breathe the air in their home without getting sick."

Schell noted there were four plumes in Martinsville, but more were spread out across the state.

"There are fifty-seven more of them in the state of Indiana," Schell said. "I would just hope that the community knows that there are a number of people who... are not going to just let it continue on as it has for the last thirty years."

"We're resolved to get action," he added. "We care about it and we're going to do something about it too."

Coppinger encourages citizens to contact their representatives, ask questions, and stay up to date.

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"I think our legislatures are not hearing enough from everyday people," Coppinger said. "They're not hearing enough from people who are just living lives in the community and who are struggling. I think everyone deserves to be heard."

For more information on Hoosier Action and how to get involved, contact Coppinger at tasha@hoosieraction.org or call/text (740) 274-5444.

Contact Reporter-Times reporter Grace Phillips at gphillips@reporter-times.com or at 765-346-4815

This article originally appeared on The Reporter Times: Indiana housing, environment concerns voiced by Hoosier Action

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