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Thursday, December 7, 2023

2 state environmental groups merge

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The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) and the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation (LEAF) announced that the two not-for-profits have merged and will continue operations as the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Melding the strengths of the two groups, the merger will further advance finding solutions that will improve Indiana’s economy, quality of life for Hoosiers, and the environment.

HEC’s strength in environmental policy development and advocacy will be combined with LEAF’s expertise in providing legal representation and assistance to communities trying to balance economic development and environmental protection.

The merger will also enhance HEC’s reach in Northwest and North Central Indiana, where LEAF predominantly works. Kim Ferraro, former LEAF executive director, will assume the role of water and agricultural policy director for HEC. HEC will open up a third office in Valparaiso, and HEC’s headquarters will remain in Indianapolis.

HEC will continue to focus on advocating for priorities that advance Indiana’s environment and business climate such as clean energy, 21st century transportation systems and sustainable agriculture.

“Through previous successful partnerships, HEC and LEAF have discovered there is a great deal of synergy in our missions, staff, services to the public, and reach throughout the state of Indiana,” said Jesse Kharbanda, HEC executive director. “By joining forces, our organization will be able to better educate and advocate for solutions that better protect our air, water, and wilderness, while making our state more economically prosperous.”

Ferraro, the new water and agricultural policy director, said, “A balanced environmental policy that promotes sustainable development and environmental preservation is essential for improving quality of life among Hoosiers. Combining our strengths will expand the capacity of our new organization to ensure public interests, not special interests, drive environmental policy and land use decisions which will make our state a better and safer place to live, work and play.”

About Hoosier Environmental Council

Founded in 1983, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) is the largest, statewide environmental policy organization in Indiana. HEC aims to set a new path for Indiana, embracing practices and policies that dramatically reduce the footprint of transportation, industry, commerce, and agriculture on the environment.


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