Arkansas Prepares For New Law Limiting Power Plant Emissions

May 27, 2014

Next week the Environmental Protection Agency is to release a first draft of rules to limit carbon emissions for existing power plants.

Glen Hooks with the Sierra Club of Arkansas says it will be an important first step toward improving air quality in the state.

"For the first time, some of our older, dirty plants will actually have to take in consideration the amount of carbon dioxide that they're pumping into our air.  Currently there are no limits on that," Hooks said.  "Power plants can do as much as they need to do and we're seeing those effects on climate disruption.  So power plants in Arkansas, especially dirty coal-fired plants will have to begin limiting that."

The EPA says it will finalize standards, which are part of the federal Clean Air Act, by June 30, 2015.

Wednesday the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will host a stakeholders meeting, which will include utility companies that will have to retrofit plants to meet the new standards.

It will include an overview of the upcoming rule and explore approaches for implementing the standards.

"This meeting and others like it will provide a unique opportunity for interested Arkansas parties to obtain information  and provide input into the development of the statewide implementation plan to comply with the new EPA regulations," Public Service Commission Chairman Colette Honorable said in a press release.

Hooks, with the Sierra Club, says there's one plant in particular that he wants cleaned up.

"Entergy has an older, dirtier coal-fired power plant in Redfield called White Bluff.  Every year that plant alone spews out almost 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution.  I think about all the power plants that we have in Arkansas that are doing that kind of pollution," Hooks said.

A representative of Entergy Arkansas was not immediately available for comment.

Wednesday's meeting will be at ADEQ headquarters at 5301 Northshore Drive in North Little Rock from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.