State Representative Garry Smith (D-Camden), and the Natural Resources Research Center at Southern Arkansas University have scheduled a series of meetings discuss the potential for lignite mining in southern Arkansas.
The Arkansas Geological Survey has estimated that southern Arkansas sits atop most of the state’s 9 billion tons of lignite, a lowest-grade coal variety that can be used as a fuel source for power plants. Controversies surround lignite due to much higher carbon dioxide emissions from lignite-burning power plants than those that burn higher-grade coal. The resource has not been commercially developed on a large scale in Arkansas. Environmentalists are concerned because of strip mining involved with the extraction of lignite.
The first meeting was held last night at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Student Center. Additional meetings will be held Monday at the Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Center Grand Hall at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia; Tuesday at the Calhoun County Courthouse in Hampton; and Jan. 6 at the Benton Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Center in Benton. All meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.