Arkansas Energy

Colette Honorable
Arkansas Times

Arkansas Public Service Commission chair Colette Honorable has officially resigned from her post and will be sworn in as early as this afternoon to her new role on powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Honorable was approved by the U.S. Senate before Christmas for the FERC position.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission," Honorable said in a statement.

Previously proposed routes for SWEPCO's Shipe Road-Kings River Transmission Line Project.

A controversial $116 million transmission line proposal for northwest Arkansas is being withdrawn by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). The company said in a statement Tuesday that there is no longer enough demand to justify the project.

The high-voltage power line has drawn opposition as it has been reviewed by the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Pat Costner, director of Save the Ozarks, organized opposition to the once-proposed power line based on property and environmental concerns.

Arkansas Public Service Commission Chair Colette Honorable, who has been nominated to the powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be front-and-center before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources on Thursday.

Honorable’s Senate hearing to consider her nomination to FERC will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4 in Room SD-366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

State Rep. John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Members of the state legislature on Monday reviewed the potential impact of a proposed $2 billion, 750 mile interstate transmission line that would cross Arkansas from west to east from just north of Fort Smith to West Memphis.

Outgoing Republican State Representative John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg) has typically been against regulating the energy sector. However, Hutchison believes the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project will bring problems to waterfowl, such as ducks, in the areas it crosses. That includes an area nearby his own property in northeast Arkansas. 

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The Environmental Protection Agency’s draft of a rule to cut the nation’s power plant emissions by a rate of 30 percent by 2030 has the state’s utilities, business leaders and environmental groups at odds. Thursday, those stakeholders presented their differing views on how Arkansas fits into the national goal of lowering emissions.

Teresa Marks, director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, welcomed the various stakeholders for a meeting focusing on the economic impacts of the drafted rule.

A Natural Gas Well
Daniel Foster /

A new report claims Arkansas has 168 fracking sites, primarily in the north-central part of the state, that have illegally injected diesel fuel into the ground as a part of natural gas drilling operations.

An association representing some of the world’s largest energy producers released a study Thursday claiming a possible new ozone regulation could be costly for Arkansans. The finding is disputed by leading environmental groups in the state.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wants to defend in court a $5 million tax break the Legislature gave the natural gas industry after the state's top finance official said the exemption was unconstitutional.

McDaniel on Friday filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit challenging the measure approved earlier this year exempting sand used in natural gas drilling from state sales taxes. The tax break was included in the Department of Finance and Administration's revenue services division budget, an approach the lawsuit argues is unconstitutional.

Environmental officials and utilities plan a public meeting to discuss new federal regulations designed to reduce the nation's carbon emissions.

Under the plan announced this month by President Barack Obama, Arkansas's goal is to cut emissions by nearly 45 percent by 2030. Arkansas gets about half its electricity from coal-fired power plants.

A meeting is set at which utilities and Arkansas officials are to discuss new federal rules that are to reduce carbon pollution.

The state Public Service Commission and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality are to hold the public meeting at 9 a.m. June 25 at the ADEQ office in North Little Rock.

The new federal rules restrict carbon pollution from existing power plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to have a final set of rules in place by July 1, 2015.