Arkansas Environment

Becker1999 / Wikimedia Commons

Advocates for using science and data to drive policy decisions plan to take their concerns to the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol Saturday.

The second annual March for Science happened in many states, including the nation’s Capitol, a week ago on April 14. Arkansas Sierra Club Executive Director Glenn Hooks says each march relates to the environmental issues in that state.

A fungus called white-nose syndrome has killed millions of cave-dwelling bats in the eastern U.S. and Canada and is now aggressively spreading across the South, including the karst-rich Ozarks and its abundant caves.

The irritating white, feathery fungus grows on the warm snouts and wings of hibernating bats, rousing them from winter torpor. Infected bats often flutter, disoriented, out of  protective caves where they may freeze or starve to death.

A federal task force which formed in 2011 to track and manage the epidemic is finally starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of a long tunnel.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

A handful of Arkansas environmental advocacy groups are seeking to block legislation from being considered that could allow a controversial hog farm to keep operating.

Newton County-based C&H Hog Farms has come under scrutiny in recent years due to concerns over waste runoff into the Buffalo National River Watershed. The farm sits on Big Creek, a major tributary of the Buffalo.

Southwestern Electric Power Company on Tuesday fired back at a group opposing the $4.5 billion “Wind Catcher” project designed to deliver wind-powered energy to Arkansas.

Federal regulators say they will let Arkansas enforce a portion of its own haze-reduction program, prompting criticism from environmentalists who say the plan is too weak.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it had approved Arkansas' proposal for reducing nitrogen oxide, which with sulfur dioxide contributes to haze.

Clean Line
Arkansas Business

Arkansas's congressional delegation has asked U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to block plans for a power line across the state, arguing that recent setbacks make it unlikely for the project to continue.

Delegation members sent a letter to Perry on Tuesday urging the Energy Department to either "pause or terminate" the $2.5 billion Clean Line Energy project. The project is expected to bring several hundred miles of wind power lines through Arkansas, which landowners say would lower property values.

Copyright 2018 Arkansas Public Media. To see more, visit Arkansas Public Media.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

More than 150 wood pellet manufacturing mills operate across the U.S., many supplying the domestic woodstove pellet market with home heating fuel.

More than a quarter are industrial pellet mills, grinding thousands of acres of forest into biomass for overseas export to electrical utilities stoking retrofitted coal-fire furnaces with "densified" wood.

The largest mills, concentrated in the southeastern U.S., claim to sustainably harvest timber, from both hardwood and softwood forests. But a new mill, Highland Pellets in Pine Bluff, which harvests only fast-growing Southern softwood pine may be among the greenest.

Still, the calculated ecological costs and benefits of forest biomass remain hazy.

Bruce Westerman
c-span.org

Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman’s bill to change how federal forests are managed passed in the U.S. House on Wednesday and is headed to the Senate. Last year a similar version of Westerman’s Resilient Federal Forests Act passed the House but stalled in the Senate. The Republican lawmaker tells KUAR this time around he expects better results in the upper chamber.

Listen to the full interview in the link posted above.

There’s a new superintendent at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Josh Jeffers was named to the post on Monday, which administers more than 2,300 acres of wetlands, prairies, forests, and of course – Pinnacle Mountain. Jeffers says he intends to focus his energies on attracting youth from diverse backgrounds in Little Rock schools.

Pages