Arkansas Energy

Advocates from Entergy Arkansas are visiting with congressional leaders to urge increasing funding for an energy assistance program for the poor.

Advocates planned to visit Washington Wednesday to push for increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides assistance for needs such as energy bills.

Entergy says cuts in funding for the federal program from $5.1 billion in 2009 to $3.4 billion have limited the level of assistance available for more than 340,000 qualifying households in Arkansas.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A company that will manage operations of Entergy Arkansas’s power grid, broke ground on a new facility in Little Rock Friday. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator or MISO, is establishing a regional headquarters that it says will employ 50 people at average salaries of 85,000 dollars a year.

Local elected officials and company representatives gathered in the middle of a dusty construction site in West Little Rock to move dirt with golden shovels and give a ceremonial blessing to the arrival MISO’s new facility in Arkansas

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses remain without electricity after wintry weather hit Arkansas.

Entergy Arkansas says about 38,000 customers were without power Wednesday morning. Garland County had the highest number of outages at more than 5,800. Crittenden County reported more than 4,100 outages and Conway County had about 3,300 outages. Cross County reported more than 3,100 outages.

Outages of more than 2,000 customers were reported in Mississippi, Montgomery and St. Francis counties.

A Denver-based energy company says it will invest $80 million this year to drill about 50 natural gas wells in south Arkansas.

Bonanza Creek Energy Inc. says the wells will be drilled in the McKamie Patton and Dorcheat-Macedonia fields, which are located in Columbia and Lafayette counties.

Arkansas Business reports infrastructure projects and saltwater disposal wells will account for an additional $4.5 million of planned capital.

Bonanza Creek has operations in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and the Cotton Valley sands of southern Arkansas.

Frank Burggraf
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

As many as 60,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas were without power at one point this past weekend because of the winter storm.

Above-ground electrical transmission and distribution lines are vulnerable to failure from heavy wet snow, dense ice and high winds.

Some advocates say it’s time to move those lines underground.  But that is much more expensive and many utility customers don't want to pay higher electric bills.

Jacqueline Froelich with Fayetteville station KUAF has a look at the debate.  You can hear her report above.

More than 37,000 homes and businesses are without electricity as a wintry storm hits the state.

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark reported about 12,000 outages Friday morning, while SWEPCO had more than 11,000 outages in northwest Arkansas in Sebastian, Polk, Scott and Logan counties. Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported an additional 2,000 outages in Fort Smith, 1,200 outages in Charleston and more than 1,100 in Lavaca.

Crews from Entergy Arkansas are heading to Virginia to help restore electricity knocked out during this week's storms.

Entergy Arkansas is sending 87 employees to Virginia, including 50 linemen. The utility says Dominion Virginia Power requested assistance from Entergy.

At its peak, severe storms with high winds and hail knocked out power to 285,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers.

As of Friday morning, that number had dropped to 95,000 outages, with most in the Richmond and southeastern Virginia regions.

New Study: Fracking Hasn't Polluted Arkansas Water

May 16, 2013
A Natural Gas Well
Daniel Foster / flickr.com

A new study says natural gas drilling, or fracking, hasn't contaminated drinking water wells in Arkansas but researchers say the geology there is more of a natural barrier to pollution than in other areas where drilling takes place.

Duke University professor Avner Vengosh says the team "didn't see any contamination" in an area of heavy drilling in north-central Arkansas. Members of the U.S. Geological Survey were also part of the study examining 127 drinking water wells for evidence of pollution from methane gas or chemicals.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A power transmission company says it will locate a regional hub in Little Rock, a move that company officials say will bring between 30 and 50 high paying jobs to the state in the near future.

Governor Mike Beebe and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola joined state economic development officials as well as representatives from Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator, or MISO, at the state Capitol to announce the new jobs.

MISO handles power transmitted on the nation’s electric grid and Beebe said the mostly-high tech jobs would pay an average of $85,000 a year.

Animals Released Into Wild After Arkansas Oil Spill

Apr 8, 2013

Officials have released some animals back into the wild after they were rescued and cleaned up following an oil spill in central Arkansas.

Crews on Monday brought a pair of raccoons and several turtles to the Bell Slough State Wildlife Management Area near Mayflower.

Their release comes more than a week after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured in Mayflower and spilled thousands of barrels of oil on March 29.

Oil spewed onto lawns and roadways and almost fouled nearby Lake Conway. No one was hurt, but the spill led authorities to evacuate more than 20 homes.

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