Arkansas Trucking Association

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The Natural State Gets Closer to Nature

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In early June, President Barack Obama announced an initiative to reduce the nation’s climate-warming emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Each state was asked to develop its own plan for reaching its goal — a cut of nearly 45 percent for Arkansas, which gets about half of its electricity from coal-fired power plants and the rest from a mix of natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric.

 If not, the federal government will (develop the standards). It’s important for the stakeholders in this state who are most familiar with our energy sources and resources to come evaluate this on our own, said Colette Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Arkansas is among the top third of the nation’s consumers of electricity on a per-customer basis. Food manufacturing, an important source of jobs, and other industries require large amounts of power, as does agriculture.

Obama’s plan has been well-received by the state’s environmental groups but businesses and utilities foresee problems on the horizon if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency puts the regulations in place.

Anything we can do to reduce carbon emissions and slow the pretty steep arc we’ve seen in climate change would be a positive first step, said Brett Kincaid, vice president and executive director of Audubon Arkansas.

Arkansas Chamber of Commerce President Randy Zook said it doesn’t matter how it’s done, because he believes business at all levels will be hurt by rising utility prices.

Any dramatic increase in any cost within most businesses can be constraining or disruptive. It will have an impact across a wide swath of the economy, Zook said.

Zook said he didn’t see the benefit of reducing emissions.

American Electric Power spokeswoman Tammy Ridout said it will take years to develop the regulations, and the company, which provides electricity in western Arkansas, will spend that interval working to protect its customers’ interests.

Ridout said it remains unclear whether the government will award credits for reduced emissions already achieved by utilities. She said AEP has cut carbon emissions by 21 percent since 2005.

The company also plans to retire significant amounts of coal-fueled generation in the next year and closing 25 percent of its coal-fueled plants over the coming several years.


photo credit: J. Stephen Conn via photopin cc

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Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

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You are here: Home News In Brief The Natural State Gets Closer to Nature