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West Lafayette students continue to push for climate legislation

West Lafayette high school student Rahul Durai speaking at a Statehouse climate rally Wednesday. (Ben Thorp/WBAA News)

West Lafayette students continue to advocate for climate legislation at the Statehouse.

Leaders of Confront the Climate Crisis held a rally Wednesday supporting a bill to create a climate change task force.

The legislation mirrors a similar bill introduced last year by Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette). That bill never got a hearing. 

But Rahul Durai, West Lafayette high school student and member of Confront the Climate Crisis, said students have learned to be persistent.

“This has had another entire year of building support,” he said. “There are more and more legislators in the Republican caucus who support this.”

The bill would create a task force aimed at tackling a variety of issues – from implementing carbon sequestration practices, funding for zero-emissions vehicles and infrastructure purchases for municipalities, and establishing a statewide climate action plan.

Durai said this year's bill is more focused than last year's, and would give more lawmakers seats on the task force.

“It’s not as broad as last year was. It’s showing a blueprint to our legislators of what climate action can look like,” he said.

Rep. Chris Campbell (D-West Lafayette) is co-author of a similar piece of legislation in the House. She said student advocacy has been essential to climate efforts across the Greater Lafayette region.

“They are just amazing,” she said. “They have managed to pass resolutions in both of our cities, a task force was created among our municipalities, and they are making recommendations.”

The climate change task force bill, introduced in the Senate this year by Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington), could get a hearing as early as next week.