Local & Regional News
8:10 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Commission Approves Controls At SWEPCO Power Plant

The Arkansas Public Service Commission has approved the installation of additional environmental controls at the Flint Creek Power Plant in Gentry.

Wednesday's decision comes in response to a request by Southwestern Electric Power Co.

SWEPCO and the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation each own 50 percent of the coal-fueled plant in northwestern Arkansas.

SWEPCO says it expects construction to begin in January, pending approval of environmental permits.

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Mayflower Oil Spill
8:00 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

ExxonMobil: Original Manufacturing Defects To Blame For Pipeline Break

Residents captured images like this immediately after the ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured on March 29.
Credit KUAR

ExxonMobil says an analysis by an independent lab concludes that original manufacturing defects caused the rupture of a pipeline on March 29.

An estimated 150,000 gallons of tar sands flowed through a residential neighborhood in Mayflower after the break in the 65-year-old Pegasus pipeline.

Hurst Metallurgical Research Laboratory inspected the damaged section, which was removed from the ground, exposing a 22 foot gash.

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Economic Development Incentives
6:55 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Economic Development Director Says HP Will Return Some Of Incentives Package

Grant Tennille
Credit Mike Pirnique/ Arkansas Business

State Economic Development officials say Hewlett Packard no longer fulfills a benchmark that allows them to receive the same incentives established when its Conway facility opened in 2010.

Grant Tennille, director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development, told KUAR News that after laying off 500 employees, HP no longer has the 1,000 workers at its service center which was a requirement for the computer company to receive its full-incentive package from the state.

He said the state will work with HP to determine how much money needs to be returned.

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Arkansas Senator
6:41 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Boozman Wants Long Term Fix For Student Loans

Senator John Boozman of Arkansas says Congress should reach a bipartisan solution to lowering student loan interest rates by tying them to U.S. Treasury rates, which are now at historic lows.

After interest rates for subsidized Stafford student loans doubled last week, Congress so far has not been able to reach an agreement to keep rates low for students applying for aid for the upcoming fall semester.

Boozman says tying rates to financial markets would be a better long term solution than a temporary extension of the loan rate subsidy.

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Local & Regional News
4:26 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Arkansas Lottery Posts Nearly $90 Million For Scholarships

The Arkansas lottery generated $89.1 million for college scholarships in the fiscal year that ended June 30, but that's about 10 percent less than projected in the budget the lottery proposed the year before.

Numbers released Wednesday show that gamblers bought almost $42 million less in scratch tickets for the fiscal year.

Because of revenue shortfalls, legislators this year altered the formula for scholarship awards, giving university freshmen $2,000, with the amount rising by $1,000 annually through their senior year.

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Local & Regional News
3:27 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Report: Immigration Reform Could Boost Arkansas Revenues

Supporters of immigration reform efforts in the U.S. hold a rally in Washington, D.C. and urge Congress to pass legislation.
Credit Nicholas Neufeld / iStock

A recent analysis by a liberal-leaning think tank estimates that undocumented immigrants pay $72.4 million a year in state and local taxes in Arkansas.

The report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy also suggests that immigration reform would positively impact Arkansas’s economy.

The study suggests that the state could gain $16.4 million in increased revenue if undocumented immigrants currently in Arkansas are allowed to work in the country legally.

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Local & Regional News
3:07 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Arkansas Lawmaker Announces Bid For Attorney General

Nate Steel during the 2013 session of the Arkansas General Assembly.
Credit Brian Chilson/ Arkansas Times

State Rep. Nate Steel says he's seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general next year.

The lawmaker from Nashville on Wednesday announced he's running for the office currently held by Democratic AG Dustin McDaniel.

The 31-year-old Steel is the first Democrat to announce he's running for the seat. McDaniel is term-limited and unable to run for re-election next year.

Steel has served in the state Legislature since 2009.

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Local & Regional News
2:58 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

USGS Takes To The Sky To Learn More About New Madrid Seismic Zone

The area being mapped by the low-flying USGS plane.
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey is taking to the sky this week with a low-flying airplane that will map the subsurface of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

The plane will collect aeromagnetic data in parts of Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.

The flights are part of a larger USGS study to pinpoint and map undiscovered faults in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

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Local & Regional News
12:50 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Arkansas AG: Current Death Penalty System Is Broken

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says the current death penalty system is broken.

Speaking to the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association in Fort Smith on Wednesday, McDaniel pointed to legal challenges and a shortage of drugs used in executions as problems with the death penalty and said it is time to discuss the punishment's future.

The attorney general says he continues to support the death penalty but said he has no reason to believe that any of the state's condemned prisoners will be executed while he is in office.

Local & Regional News
12:17 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

UPDATE: ExxonMobil Blames Original Manufacturing Defect For Pipeline Break

Crews cleaning up the Mayflower neighborhood in April, a week after the spill.
Credit Michael Hibblen/ KUAR News

ExxonMobil released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying an independent assessment has found that "original manufacturing defects" were to blame for the March oil pipeline rupture in Mayflower.

An estimated 150,000 gallons of tar sands were spilled in the residential neighborhood.

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