Arkansas Environment

emerald ash borer
David Cappaert / Michigan State University

State agriculture officials say an insect native to Asia that kills ash trees has been confirmed in three Arkansas counties.

Fuel efficiency, cost effectiveness, cleaner air are all benefits a handful of local officials are praising with the dawning of the Central Arkansas Transit Authority's new, soon to be introduced natural gas fleet.

CATA is being recognized for its efforts to convert its fleet of buses to use Compressed Natural Gas, or CNG, as a fuel. The conversion comes as city leaders increasingly talk up the benefits of bolstering public transportation in the area. The authority will be receiving 15 new CNG buses, starting next summer, says executive president Jarrod Varner.

Interior least terns
Wikimedia Commons

A reward is being offered for information on the deaths of several Interior least terns found on a small island in the Arkansas River.

Least terns are protected by federal and state endangered species regulations.

The endangered birds are found anywhere along the Arkansas River, from the Oklahoma state line to the Mississippi River.Their main nesting area is a section of the river from Clarksville downstream to Pine Bluff.

A reward of up to $8,500 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the deaths.

Arkansas Times

Whirlpool Corp. is being given 30 extra days to install devices to test for toxic vapors in a Fort Smith neighborhood near the company's former plant that closed in June 2012.

The Times Record reports that Whirlpool asked the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for 60 additional days because access to perform the monitoring had not been granted by some property owners.

ADEQ Hazardous Waste Division Chief Tammie Hynum told Whirlpool that it should document and submit all efforts it has made to secure access.

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 public hearing is planned in Harrison on a proposed regulation that would ban large hog farms in the Buffalo River watershed.

The meeting is set for Tuesday evening in Harrison. The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission is considering a new regulation that would ban farms with 750-plus hogs weighing 55 pounds or more and farms with 3,000 or more hogs weighing less than 55 pounds.

Arkansas' four members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written to the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about their concerns with a proposal to classify the Northern Long-Eared bat as an endangered species.

Congressmen Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, and Tom Cotton say they sent the letter Wednesday to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

Arkansas' four U.S. representatives are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to hold a field hearing in Arkansas on the agency's proposed carbon rule.

The EPA rules announced June 2 set a goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent nationwide from 2005 levels. The goal's deadline is 2030.

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.

An Arkansas electric cooperative says an Environmental Protection Agency plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants will reduce utility companies' use of coal in favor of more expensive fuels.

The Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation says it was disappointed by the implications of Monday's announcement by the Obama administration to cut carbon dioxide emissions from plants over the next 15 years.

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