Indianapolis Star

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced an ambitious green initiative to wean the city’s sprawling vehicle fleet off gasoline by 2025, but on Wednesday, his mind wasn’t on the environment.

He was focused, instead, on the Middle East, in 1991. Ballard, then a Marine officer, was serving in the Gulf War at a base near burning Kuwaiti oil fields that turned morning into midnight.

Pictures in the photo album Ballard clutched showed the blackened sky. They also underscored Ballard’s motivation: for Indianapolis to do its part, however small, to reduce the United States’ reliance on oil produced in dictatorships — a recurring factor, in his view, behind recent U.S. wars.

“This choice will save lives,” he said. “We will save taxpayer dollars. And we’ll shift the balance of global strategic power.”

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