Arkansas Environment

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Editor’s note: Each Friday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Energy In-depth,” a round-up of energy and regulatory news. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed to approve Arkansas’ request to designate Crittenden County as attaining the federal 2008 ozone standard, a move that Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and other officials said will boost the state’s economic development in eastern Arkansas.

The proposed “attainment” designation comes after a letter last month from Hutchinson requesting the EPA to remove the eastern Arkansas county from the federal “dirty air” nonattainment list, a designation that goes back to the Huckabee administration’s recruitment of a Toyota superproject.

Arkansas Ag Secretary, Israeli Ag Minister Speak At Arkansas Soil & Water Conference

Jan 27, 2016

A group of several hundred people spent Wednesday learning how soil and water can play a key role in the growth of crops as well as helping the bottom line of farmers. They even learned how other countries are using technology to conserve water and energy.

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward gave the keynote speech at the Arkansas Soil and Water Conference in front of 250 people at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center. Those who attended the conference learned about everything from cover crops and no-till farming to poly-pipe and rice irrigation.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning along the Ouachita River in southern Arkansas.

Forecasters in Little Rock said Sunday that the warning will continue through Wednesday and includes parts of the river in Calhoun, Ouachita, Bradley and Union counties.

At 6 a.m. Sunday the river's stage at Thatcher was 82.2 feet and flood stage is 79 feet. Forecasters say minor flooding is already occurring and the river's level is expected to continue to rise through early Tuesday afternoon.

Little Rock-based Southwest Power Pool is one of the regional transmission organizations participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s ongoing Grid Modernization Initiative that’s central to the Obama Administration’s initiative to improve the resiliency, reliability and security of the nation’s electricity delivery system.

ADEQ Clean Power Plan ADEQ Director Becky Keogh and APSC Chairman Ted Thomas
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

State regulators on Tuesday hosted the fifth and final “stakeholder” meeting in Little Rock before a draft plan and comments are submitted to federal environmental officials on Jan. 21 to move Arkansas closer to complying with President Obama’s sweeping Clean Power Plan.

Arkansas is asking the federal government to designate Crittenden County as meeting federal ozone standards, a move officials say will help boost economic development in the region.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday asked the EPA to redesignate the county as in attainment of federal ozone standards. In the letter, Hutchinson said that the county has met federal ozone standards according to monitoring data between 2012 and 2014.

A stakeholder conference call held by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Wednesday indicates that consensus is building around a mass-based compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan. The Environmental Protection Agency rule calls for Arkansas to reduce power plant carbon emissions 36 percent by the year 2030. The nationwide target is a 32 percent reduction.

 

Pipe manufactured in advance of a Keystone XL decision sits idle outside of an east Little Rock plant.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

President Barack Obama on Friday (Nov. 6) rejected the Keystone XL pipeline proposal after a lengthy State Department review of the controversial project. The move ignited a barrage of criticism from Arkansas’ Congressional delegation and the oil and gas industry.

“Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security,” Obama said in a press conference with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry at this side.

Power Lines
commons.wikimedia.org

The U.S. Department of Energy released its final environmental impact statement for the proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line transmission project, a controversial $2 billion electric transmission line that proposes to deliver up to 3,500 megawatts of wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to communities in Arkansas, Tennessee and other states.

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