Arkansas Environment

Arkansas Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman says he's confident the legislation to build the Keystone XL Pipeline project will pass the next Congress when Republicans take control of the Senate.

Boozman's remarks came on the heels of the Democrat-controlled Senate's narrow defeat of a bill to approve the project on Tuesday.

The final vote was 59-41. The bill needed 60 votes to reach the White House. The House passed it overwhelmingly last week.

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. 

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality says Monday is the deadline to register for its 2014 Watershed Conference and pre-conference workshops.

The conference is set Nov. 20-21 in Eureka Springs, with preconference activities on Nov. 19. The theme, "Connecting Communities, Protecting Watersheds," reflects the importance of involving all Arkansans in helping keep all the state's bodies of water clean and safe.

Arkansas Wildlife Federation / AWF

One of Arkansas’s most established conservation organizations, the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, announced Tuesday it is opposed to Ballot Initiative #1. If passed by voters the constitutional amendment would require rules and regulations issued by state agencies to be approved by the state legislature.

Ellen McNulty, the President of the Arkansas Wildlife Foundation, said politicizing state agencies is a bad idea.

electronics recycling waste
Stephen Votaw / U.S. Navy

Unwanted or unusable electronics can be recycled Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

"The reason that we recycle electronics is to keep the lead and the mercury mainly out of the environment," says Carol Bevis with Regional Recycling, which is organizing the event.

A federal judge wants regulators to take another look at the potential impact of a hog farm near the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas. Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. said Thursday a previous assessment was too brief. That review helped qualify the farm for $3.4 million in loan guarantees from the Small Business Administration.

Georgia-Pacific says it plans invest $37 million at its lumber operations in Gurdon to expand production capacity at the lumber mill by about 60 percent. Improvements at the mill include installing a new continuous dry kiln and planer mill, among other infrastructure improvements.

The project is expected to be finished next year. The company said Thursday that it's also considering additional investments - totaling about $20 million - at the nearby Gurdon plywood mill that would increase the mill's efficiency and capacity and further reduce air emissions.

The former Superfund site is in Greene County near Paragould.

The site of a former auto equipment company in northeast Arkansas has been removed from a national list of one of the most environmentally dangerous places in the country. On Wednesday the Environmental Protection Agency removed the former Monroe Auto Equipment Company site near Paragould from a list of Superfund sites.

EPA spokesperson Jennah Durant said the plant stopped using the area to dispose of waste in 1978 and the site was hazardous for decades.

A company affiliated with the University of Arkansas that makes a compostable bag as a substitute for plastic bags has been awarded a $741,221 grant by The National Science Foundation.

The grant to cycleWood Solutions announced Monday will help the company accelerate the commercialization of the Xylobag. Company officials say Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville is stocking the bags and that there are commitments from two undisclosed retail chains to stock the bags.

City of Little Rock

Pulaski County will seek bids until Friday from private contractors to operate a new recycling rewards program. The plan is intended to replace a previous, smaller rewards program that covered Little Rock, North Little Rock and Sherwood, which ended because it wasn’t engaging residents. The new county-wide recycling incentives program will encourage local businesses to donate rewards to individuals and schools that recycle. The deadline for contract worth up to $150,000 is Friday afternoon.