Wesley Brown/ Talk Business & Politics

Wesley Brown is the Business Editor for Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by email at wesbrocomm@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @BrownOnBusiness.

white bluff entergy power plant coal energy
Arkansas Business

Less than a full business day after the final rules for President Obama’s Clean Power Plan were published on Friday in the Federal Register, legal challenges from industry groups to halt the new greenhouse gas rules are already piling up at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The newly hired chief of Walmart’s energy division told members of the Arkansas Advance Energy Association on Tuesday that the retail giant’s ultimate goal in becoming 100% sustainable and supplied by renewable energy is still to reduce costs and bring lower prices to the retail giant’s millions of customers

“My responsibility as we execute these (goals) that we are doing is that at the same time we are reducing costs to Walmart and passing it on to the customers,” said Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of Walmart energy.

Windstream Corp. announced Monday it has entered into a definitive agreement with TierPoint of St. Louis to sell the Little Rock telecom’s data center business in an all cash deal worth $575 million.

The Little Rock Tech Park Authority temporarily tabled two controversial items dealing with the first phase of the $30 million downtown development after the board learned that talks on a year-long property dispute and a consortium-backed financial package for the project could land the publicly-financed agency in court.

The contentious issues played out on Wednesday in a sparsely attended meeting at the Little Rock Venture Center, where audience members and media struggled to hear board members speak against the constant din of the center’s humming air conditioning system.

Natural Gas Drilling Mt. Vernon in Faulkner County
Arkansas Times

Monthly and quarterly severance tax collections in Arkansas at the end of September have declined to levels not seen in several years as wellhead prices for natural gas have brought drilling activity in the Natural State to a virtual standstill.

The state’s drill-bit collapse has left tax revenue for natural gas production at only $3.79 million at the end of September, down 50% from $7.56 million a year ago, monthly tax data compiled by the Revenue Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration shows.

Power Lines

Thanks to a multimillion dollar award from the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of Arkansas will lead a new national center that will focus on upgrading and protecting the nation’s energy grid from cyber-attacks.

University officials said the new educational venture is made possible by a $12.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, augmented by $3.3 million in matching funds from research partners.

Arkansas Nuclear One

U.S. nuclear power plants showed marked improvements in performance this summer and saw outages fall to the lowest level ever recorded in early August since federal regulators began collecting such data in 2007, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Governor asa hutchinson military
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Exactly a week after Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled a new initiative to woo more military jobs and spending to the state, the Pentagon on Monday (Sept. 28) released a comprehensive report showing Arkansas ranked near the bottom out of all 50 states in national defense spending in fiscal 2014.

Manufacturing and farming giant Caterpillar Inc., which operates a large motor grader plant in North Little Rock with several hundred workers, announced a major across-the-board restructuring and cost reduction Thursday (Sept. 24) that could possibly affect more than 10,000 employees across the company’s expansive U.S. and international operations.

Just over a week after the Department of Energy (DOE) staff provided an update on the status of the controversial Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission development, Arkansas’ congressional delegation fired off a letter Tuesday (Sept. 15) to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking him to address state’s rights concern over the DOE’s oversight of the multi-state, renewable energy project.