Category Archives: Energy Policy

Thursday To-Do: Lignite Meeting in Benton

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of About.com.Geology.

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.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Center (607 North Market Street) in Benton.

More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.

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Save the Date! Lignite Meeting in Benton

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of About.com.Geology.

State Representative Garry Smith (D-Camden), and the Natural Resources Research Center at Southern Arkansas University (SAU) have been hosting a series of meetings to discuss the potential for lignite mining in southern Arkansas. The final meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, January 6 in Benton.

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.

In December 2010, SAU hosted meetings in Hope, Magnolia, and Hampton. Thursday’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Benton Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Center in Benton.

More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.

Circuit Court Reverses Self, Orders SWEPCO to Halt Work on Wetlands

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reversed itself Monday and ordered Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) to stop working on 8 acres of wetlands near the company’s $2.1 billion coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County.

In October, U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson issued an injunction halting work on the 8 acres where SWEPCO received a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to discharge fill material into a wetland area. The Corps of Engineers issued a permit after it found that the work would have no significant impact on the environment in the area (called FONSI, or Finding of No Significant Impact).

The Sierra Club, Audubon Arkansas, National Audubon Society, and several nearby residents sued the Corps in February, claiming that the Corps did not conduct an environmental impact study (EIS) before issuing the permit. The Hempstead County Hunting Club, which owns land near the plant, also sued the electric utility, citing violations of federal Endangered Species Act.

On November 24, a day before Thanksgiving, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Wilson’s injnction in a one-sentence order, allowing SWEPCO to continue its work in the area. The order contained no explanation for the reversal and was signed by a clerk with the Circuit Court but not by any judge.

Frustrated, Wilson recused from the case on December 8, stating “my time would be better spent working on other cases.”

Yesterday, three Circuit Court judges reversed the November 24 order, reinstating Wilson’s injunction and halting SWEPCO’s work in the 8-acre area. Work continues on other sections of the plant. The plant, known as the John W. Turk Jr. Power Plant, is about 45 percent completed.

No judge has been appointed yet to replace Wilson in the case.

Tuesday To-Do: Lignite Meeting in Hampton

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of About.com.Geology.

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.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Calhoun County Courthouse in Hampton.

More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.

Monday To-Do: Lignite Meeting in Magnolia

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of About.com.Geology.

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.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Center Grand Hall at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.

SAU Schedules Lignite Meetings around the State

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of About.com.Geology.

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.

March 31 Deadline Set for Renewable Energy Rebates

The Arkansas Energy Office announced this week that it has set the March 31, 2011 deadline to apply for a rebate on the purchase and installation of small-scale renewable energy systems for both residential and non-residential owners.

Eligible systems for the rebate include solar panels, wind turbines, and solar hot water heating systems.

Applicants should complete and submit an application form before installing the equipment.

The U.S. Department of Energy privuded the rebates through the $1.78 million Renewable Technology Rebate Fund. The program has given out $1.43 million since its launch in March 2010.

For more information, visit the Arkansas Energy Office website at http://arkansasenergy.org/.