We are fortunate to have the Hoosier National Forest, countless lakes and streams, and rich farmland in Indiana. I grew up camping in our forests and swimming in our lakes. I am proud that Indiana's natural beauty supports a thriving tourism industry in our district.
Hoosiers are strong believers in being good stewards of our land. This means leaving clean air and clean water for our children and grandchildren. We can also strengthen our national security through reducing our dependence on foreign oil and increasing our domestic energy production. By addressing climate change, we can protect our health and the environment.
I will support the growth of clean energy jobs and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Indiana through smart public policy. For example, I support tax credits for homeowners to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes.
We should not be losing the race for renewable energy jobs to China or any other country. We should be producing wind turbines and other clean energy solutions right here in Indiana. We should make investments in training a clean energy workforce, and in upgrading our public buildings to become more energy-efficient.
Indiana already has more than 44,000 clean energy jobs, most of which are in energy efficiency. This sector helps make existing systems, such as HVACs, more energy-efficient, and it produces advanced building materials. With a strong building construction industry, we have the potential to grow this sector of our economy substantially.
Indiana is among the top ten coal-producing states, with our coal production concentrated in the southwest corner of the state. This is a $750 million industry in Indiana. As other forms of energy increase their footprint in Indiana, I would support legislation to make workforce training opportunities available for miners in these new forms of energy production.
We also have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of our coal miners who are suffering from black lung disease. This aggressive lung disease is the result of exposure to coal dust, and it is all too often fatal. Over 76,000 miners have died from black lung since 1968.
Supporting our miners means ensuring that their health care needs are met and that their pension funds are solvent. I support the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act, which would streamline the application process for black lung benefits, and the Miners Pension Protection Act, which would ensure that our miners' pensions are adequately funded.