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Clean Air Advocates March On Vectren

Samantha Horton

Thursday evening Evansville residents young and old marched along downtown to urge Vectren to retire its coal power plants and reevaluate its energy rates. 

People carried handmade wind turbines and signs while chanting, "What do we want? Clean air. When do we want it? Now." They traveled down Riverside Drive starting at the Four Freedoms Monument, crossing the street, and stopping on the sidewalk outside the Vectren Corporation building. Local activist and lead chanter Mary Lyn Stoll said people should understand that this is not a protest.

Credit Mareea Thomas / WNIN
As the sun sets along the Ohio River, advocates prepare to march with their handmade turbines and signs in hand.

“It’s asking them to make the right choice. To be a community leader in a transition to a clean power future. They can do it, they should do it; it makes financial sense, it makes moral sense, it’s minimally just. That’s all we want them to do is to make the right decision moving forward.”

Mallory Rodenberg says some people might say to just move away, but she believes its not that simple. 

Credit Mareea Thomas / WNIN
Some advocates that participated in the march wore T-shirts with this graphic printed on the front.

"To relocate a family takes a lot of money," said Rodenburg. "You have to take a lot of logistics into consideration; planning a move is not just as simple as hopping on a plane and going somewhere different. So I think that's unfair to the thousands of Evasnville residents who don't have that option."

Rodenburg said  that people who say just move have a "love it or leave it" attitude about Evansville as a place to live in and she disagrees with that mindset.

"I love this area. I grew up here; I moved away for a few years. I chose to come back and raise my family here and I think that it's worth fighting for and protecting."

Rodenburg said she wants to stay here and do that because, "Evansville and the people who live in this community deserve better."

While the group chanted its way to the Vectren building, Sierra Club President Wendy Bredhold met with the company's CEO to deliver the groups letter.

“I met with Vectren CEO Carl Chapman along with another one of our volunteers to present a letter to him from our volunteers letting them know that what we want from Vectren is a responsible transition to clean energy and a way from coal and other fossil fuels," said Bredhold.

Chapman gave no comment to the letter while meeting with Bredhold, but she remains hopeful.

“Vectren is our utility; and so Vectren can be a model and can lead our community forward by presenting us with a plan to transition over time to clean energy and make this a better place for all of us to live.”

Vectren will reveal its new 20 year plan for energy production November 29th.

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