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Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett

We talked with Mayor Bennett about Terre Haute's colleges, oil exploration and recycling programs.

Here are some highlights from today’s interview:

“It is an education-driven community. All of our colleges and universities play a huge role – not only equipping our citizens and everyone with a higher education. We have a great variety of them here – there’s something for everybody. The economic development role they play – I mean they’re all economic engines within themselves and bring a lot of resources and it’s just unbelievable that we’re blessed with five different colleges and universities in our community.”

  • Indiana State University is pursuing oil exploration under its campus near downtown Terre Haute.

“Two or three years ago (this issue) wasn’t even on our radar screen. Over time it has become more and more of an opportunity to get oil. There’s been a lot of testing done, a lot of education to the community done and it’s happening – it’s going in and it’s gonna happen and I think the key to this is, is the communication and education happening so people aren’t as concerned? And two, that is really is clean. So that at the end of the day there aren’t any environmental issues we have to worry about whether it’s a smell or anything else.”

“With the new technology they have, my guess is that no one will really even know what’s going on. You know, you drive by it, you may see this facility, but the approach they’re taking with horizontal drilling – having one site basically that they will run these horizontal lines to will be very unintrusive to anyone. It won’t be visible and the technology will keep it from being dirty or smelly.”

  •  Several coal-fired power plants just north of Terre Haute on the Wabash River will be closing in the next few years.

“It will affect us here. The Wabash River Generating Station is the one that they’ve targeted . . . they have six different systems within there. One of them is a newer technology and that will still be operating. But the other units will be shut down – the old coal-fired units.”

“It will impact some jobs, there’s no question.”

“Coal is such an inexpensive way to provide electricity and we have such an abundance here in Indiana. It’s creating a lot of jobs for coal miners, the railroad, the trucking industry – I mean it’s really a good thing. And all I ask, of our federal officials especially is to find a way to keep coal in the mix. Yes, keepin it clean and all that, we gotta do all those things, but I don’t think we’re in a position to go to all alternative energy at this point. In Indiana, the majority of our energy comes from coal. So when you see these plants shut down, what takes its place is the interesting part to me.”


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