Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Record high temperature 69 degrees in Fayetteville on Friday

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Record High Temperature Set

By Anna Fry The Morning News
Warm temperatures Friday set a record at 69 degrees, said Pete Snyder, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tulsa, Okla.

The previous record of 66 degrees was set on Dec. 26, 1971, said Chuck Hodges, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The average temperature for the day over the past 30 years is 45 degrees.

The service records temperatures for Fayetteville but not Bentonville, Springdale and Rogers, Hodges said.

Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico started flowing through the area Thursday, Hodges said. A strong cold front will approach from the northwest today.

As the weather changes, there’s a chance of severe weather, including tornadoes, hail and wind, Hodges said.

Hodges expected storm watches and warnings to be issued overnight. The National Weather Service forecasts possibly severe thunderstorms into noon today.

Mike Dixon, the deputy director of the Benton County Department of Emergency Management, said it’s good to remember the difference between a watch and warning.

“A watch means the weather is probable and a warning means the weather is imminent or happening,” he said.

If a thunderstorm warning is issued, people should stay indoors and away from windows, Dixon said. If a tornado warning is issued, people should get on a lower level room without windows such as a closet or bathroom.

“We would encourage people if they have a weather radio, check it and make sure it’s working,” Dixon said.

Monday, December 22, 2008

British view of Obama's Green Choices

Obama Cranks Up Green Revolution
Sunday 21 December 2008
by: Geoffrey Lean, The Independent UK

The next US president is reversing Republican policy on global warming by putting leading scientists in key posts. Geoffrey Lean reports.

Barack Obama yesterday promised to end George Bush's "twisting" of science to suit "politics or ideology" in an extraordinarily outspoken address to the nation, and announced that he was putting top climate scientists in key positions in his administration.

The move, which signals perhaps his sharpest break with the outgoing administration, makes it clear that he was going to put climate change and the environment among the most urgent priorities of his presidency.

And as if to emphasise the difference, President Bush is using his last weeks of power to push through a record number of last-minute rule changes to increase mining and oil drilling on public lands, and even to allow people to carry concealed, loaded guns into national parks.

During its years in office the Bush administration attempted to muzzle senior government scientists who disagreed with it, and even altered scientific reports - causing more than 60 top academics to sign a petition accusing the White House of manipulating findings for political reasons.

But in his weekly radio address, Mr Obama pointedly promised to end this. "Promoting science is about free and open inquiry," he said. "It's about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It's about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it's inconvenient - especially when it's inconvenient. That will be my goal as president of the United States."

The president-elect used the address to announce his top scientific appointments, which included two of the world's most respected climate scientists, John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco, in a move warmly welcomed even by the country's top Republican environmentalist. They will have enormous influence over his government's green policies.

The appointments follow the naming earlier this month of Steven Chu - a Nobel prize-winning physicist, and another prominent advocate of urgent measures to tackle climate change - to the key position of energy secretary, and a decision to create a special office on energy and climate within the White House headed by Carole Browner, Bill Clinton's former environment chief.

Both Professors Holdren and Lubchenco are past presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Professor Holdren, a professor at Harvard University and director of the blue-chip Woods Hole Research Center, will be science adviser to Mr Obama, who has elevated the position to an official assistant to the president.

He recently called for immediate action on climate change, saying that it was already causing "widespread harm". But he is also sceptical about nuclear power, reflecting a feeling in the Obama team that it cannot be made economical.

Professor Lubchenco, of Oregon State University, a similarly outspoken expert on oceans and global warming, is to be the first female administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which measures the pace of global warming, tracks hurricanes and monitors the health of the world's seas.

The chief scientist at Defra, Professor Bob Watson, who worked in the Clinton White House, said yesterday that Obama was putting together "a phenomenal team of world- class scientists", as a sign that he was "totally committed to the environment".

William K Reilly - President George Bush's environment chief and the country's leading Republican environmentalist - told The Independent on Sunday that he was "very pleased" by the appointments of "long-standing advocates of addressing climate change".

In another clear indication that the incoming team has taken on board the arguments of those advocating a "green new deal" that expanding environmental industries and jobs is the best way out of the recession, Mr Obama on Friday signed up a vocal advocate of green jobs, Hilda Solis, to be his labour secretary. The Californian congresswoman will be a key figure in implementing a plan to create millions of green jobs.

US environmentalists, however, are split over yet another appointment - of Colorado senator Ken Salazar - as secretary of the interior. It was welcomed by the top environmental pressure groups, but smaller and more radical ones said he had had a mixed record in congressional votes. "He's far from the most anti-environmental guy out there," says Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity, "but he's no environmental hero."

Meanwhile, Mr Bush has been pushing through a record number of so-called "midnight regulations". He has enabled coal-mining firms to dump waste in valleys, relaxed pollution rules from factory farms, and allowed companies that produce toxic wastes to burn them as fuel.

Barack's Green Team

Professor Steven Chu The Nobel Prize-winning physicist becomes Energy Secretary. He is a forceful advocate of America's urgent move towards carbon-free energy.

Professor John Holdren A physicist at Harvard University who directs the prestigious Woods Hole Research Centre, he will have the ear of the President as Obama's top scientific advisor.

Professor Jane Lubchenco A leading expert on the effects of global warming on oceans, she becomes the first woman administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Congresswoman Hilda Solis The new Labour Secretary advocates providing employment through a clean energy economy. She was key sponsor of a Green Jobs Act last year.

Carole Browner Head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Clinton, she is on the radical side of the party and will head a White House energy and climate unit.

Senator Ken Salazar Ten-gallon-hatted Colorado Senator Ken Salazar is more controversial as Interior Secretary. The top environment groups are pleased but radicals have doubts.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Coal plant appeal set for trial March 9, 2009

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Trial date set for coal plant appeal

By THE MORNING NEWS
LITTLE ROCK -- A challenge to Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s air permit for a planned coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County will go to trial March 9, an administrative law judge said Monday.

At a scheduling hearing, Judge Michael O'Malley set aside March 9-20 for a trial to decide whether the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality's decision to grant an air permit for the $1.6 billion, 600-megawatt plant should be overturned.

Environmental groups, hunters and landowners have appealed the permit, claiming it was granted without complete analysis of the plant's potential impact on public health. SWEPCO claims there is nothing more to analyze.

Construction of the plant is already under way. The state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission ruled Dec. 5 that SWEPCO can continue with construction while the appeal is pending.

SWEPCO announced last week it would seek a rate hike to cover increased costs, including but not limited to the cost of building the Hempstead County plant.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

President Clinton joins Governor Beebe to announce plan to bring energy-efficiency to state government

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2008/12/13/news/121408arclintonglobal.prt

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2008/12/13/news/121408arclintonglobal.prt


The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Clinton, State Announce Energy Efficiency Plan

By Peggy Harris
The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK -- Former President Bill Clinton announced a partnership Saturday between his foundation and Arkansas to retrofit state buildings and adopt energy-efficient practices, part of what he said was the country’s “greatest opportunity” to rejuvenate its economy and create a safer, cleaner world.

Clinton joined Gov. Mike Beebe and state Rep. Kathy Webb, co-chair of the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on Global Warming, in announcing the partnership and urging state and business leaders to join them in bigger task of creating “green jobs,” reducing dependence on foreign oil, and stopping the advance of global warming.
Clinton said the foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative, created in 2006, has been working with 1,100 cities, including New York, where the housing authority is upgrading residences with energy-efficient windows and lighting along with “green roofs” to reduce energy costs. He said a loan for the work will be paid off with money saved in utility costs.
In Pennsylvania, he said, the foundation was helping find ways to sequester carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. He said the Clinton Climate Initiative provides the technical expertise and the purchasing power for its partners to secure materials and environmental technologies at discounted costs.

“No one is proposing to do anything in Arkansas that is not good business, that doesn’t make sense, that doesn’t create jobs and save money over the long run,” Clinton told an audience of hundreds at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.

He said six countries, including Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, will be able to meet international goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they shifted to “a new energy economy” and realized great energy savings and job creation.

“This is the greatest opportunity we’ve had since we mobilized since World War II to completely redo our economy,” he said. “And if we do this right, I think you’ll have more growth than we did when I was president, and more jobs.”

Both the former president and Beebe recognized J.D. Lowery of Maumelle, a graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service, for suggesting a partnership between the foundation and the state after Lowery worked on a Clinton Climate Initiative in Australia.

Beebe said the partnership coincides with strides the state has already made to reduce energy consumption and do less harm to the environment. He said Pennsylvania has been working with the foundation on a limited basis, but Arkansas will be the first state to join forces with the foundation on a larger scale.

December 14, 2008, agenda of Carbon Caps Task Force

Carbon Caps Task Force – 13 Dec 2008
Location and Time: Omni Center @ United Campus Ministry, 1:30pm
Agenda
1. Repower Arkansas – Update on roadshow, materials, state action
2. Fayetteville coal moratorium resolution
3. National policy/strategy debrief
4. Poland international climate talks update
5. The Green-collar Economy discussion groups
6. Formation of fundraising event committee
7. Powershift 2009
Attachments and Links
1. Repower Arkansas Friday letter (attached)
2. 350ppm newsletter - http://www.go350ppm.org/Latest_Issue.html
3. Green-collar Economy discussion guide (attached)
Friday Letter No. 4
4 December 2008
This past week was devoted to getting ready for and then presenting 3 Road Shows in Jasper and
Russellville. Our second conference call was not very successful as we had only 4 participants.

On Thursday evening, December 4th, I gave the Presentation in Jasper at the Newton County Public
Library. There were 25 people in attendance and the presentation led to much discussion about the
future of energy in Arkansas and the creation of the grassroots network to contact their legislator
during the General Assembly next year. To encourage everyone to fill out the contact cards I had 3
door prizes to hand out at the end of the slide show: a poinsettia, fluorescent bulbs, and switch and
socket insulators. Afterwards the librarian, Jennifer, had refreshments. For over an hour we had
informal talks with a number of people. Barry Weaver who helped organize the event emailed me that
the event was viewed as successful and “There is very good feeling here about what you are doing.”

At 2:00 PM I spoke to a standing room only crowd at Arkansas Tech University. Heather Kowolski
and the local campus environmental club, had done an excellent job in advertising and getting a turn
out. There were a number of questions and comments about global warming, green jobs and getting
involved. It was an exhilarating experience. Door prizes were again given to encourage completion of
the contact cards. Here’s a link from the Tech website after the presentation.
http://www.arkansastechnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=442:dr-robert-
mcafee-speaks-at-tech&catid=1:university-news&Itemid=2

After this presentation at Tech I had the opportunity to talk with some of the students active in
environmental issues at Tech. We had supper together before my presentation at the Pope County
Library at 6:30 PM.

Although the turn out at the Library was small (15) it was still an interested group and appreciative that
Repower Arkansas was doing this outreach. We gave the same door prizes as in Jasper. For nearly an
hour after the program ended individuals continued to talk and find out more about our project.

The intense and quick paced 48 hours left me tired and exhilarated at the same time. As a woman told
me in Jasper, your grassroots campaign is just what a number of people are wanting -- somehow they
can feel they are taking action that can make a difference. The effort produced new contacts: 20 in
Jasper, 42 at Tech, and 11 at the Pope County Library. I am going to send each of the new contacts an
email next week.

These Road Shows have convinced me that there is a great many people who are willing to help with
what we are doing and we just need to get to as many locations around the state as possible.

Thanks so much for your support and help along the way. Together we are building a very exciting
movement across the state that is empowering Arkansans to repower, rebuild, and refuel their state.

All the best for your endeavors next week.


www.repowerarkansas.org

Dear Group Leader,
Thank you for your interest in The Green Collar Economy and for taking the next step of using
the book to generate discussion. Green For All has partnered with The Engage Network to cre-
ate this guide and to begin the process of building small community groups on this issue around
the country.
This book guide has a companion video guide. Use these tools to bring people together, to eat
(we love eating!), to talk and to create an economy that can lift people out of poverty and save
the earth at the same time. We can create a world that is truly GREEN FOR ALL!
The book guide and the video guide are slightly different. Feel free to mix and match the top-
ics we have given you or to focus your whole discussion on the questions you feel are most important. Each section of
the book guide has a place for you to write your thoughts. We also encourage you to create your own list of ques-
tions and quotes. You can email us your thoughts and opinions at smallgroups@greenforall.org. We may use your
questions or notes in future versions of this guide.
We want all of you who read the book to become part of the effort to make a difference. If this book leads you and
your group to want to become more involved, or if you are inspired to take some kind of action, we want to know!
To see what others have done to get involved and to bring attention to the issue and get involved, view the great
videos and photos at www.greenforall.org and www.greenjobsnow.com. We hope you will do the final exercise and
collage a vision of what is possible in your town/city. We would love any photos or videos of your book group or
community group that you would be willing to share with others around the country.
Green For All,
Van Jones Marianne Manilov
Green For All The Engage Network
www.greenforall.org www.engagenet.org

• Do you believe the United States can create a green
economy? Why or why not?
• What do you think are the blocks to creating a green
economy? What are the opportunities?
The American Midwest is the Saudi Arabia of wind; indeed, North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas alone produce
enough harnessable wind to meet all of the nation’s electricity demand. As for solar, according to a study in
Scientific American, photovoltaic and solar-thermal installations across just 19 percent of the most barren
desert land in the Southwest could supply nearly all of our nation’s electricity needs without any rooftop instal-
lation...
Introduction
By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Solar Richmond: Richmond, California, a Green For All Partner Organization. For more info go to www.solarrichmond.org
© Ella Baker Center Solar Richmond / GRID Alternatives training
page 1x:
my thoughts:
• Where do you see problems of the environment and
the economy in your everyday life? Where do you see
this nationally? Internationally?
• Create a list of the businesses in your town or that you
have heard of around the country that employ or train
low-income people. Create a list of the green
businesses in your town or that you have heard of.
Are there some that do both? Are there some that
could do both?
The Katrina story illustrates clearly the two crises we face in the United States: radical socioeconomic inequal-
ity and rampant environmental destruction . . . Is there a way to address both crises simultaneously? Can we
help the people without harming the planet? Can we protect the planet, without dooming more people to mate-
rial poverty? I believe the answer is yes. And if so, the key to a dual victory is to be found in the heart of the
one sector of the U.S. economy that is still thriving and growing: the green part.
CHAPTER one:
The Dual Crisis
pages 24 & 33
Global Green’s construction on New Orleans green affordable housing in the Lower 9th Ward: August 21, 2007. For more info go to www.globalgreen.org
© Global Green USA
my thoughts:
• What is eco-apartheid? • Where do you see signs of it in your community?
It is not too early to sound the alarm against the possibility of eco-apartheid. In that scenario, on one side of
town there would be ecological “haves,” enjoying access to healthy, morally upstanding green products and serv-
ices, and on the other, ecological “have-nots,” languishing in the smoke, fumes, toxic chemicals, and illnesses of
the old pollution-based economy. This kind of morally disgraceful, politically untenable, and ecologically unsus-
tainable result is not far-fetched—at all.
CHAPTER two:
The fourth quadrant
Page 53
Playground and Chemical Plant, Texas City TX
© Sam Kittner www.kitner.com
my thoughts:
• Who are the key people who would need to get
involved to create a green economy? Can you name
five in your community and five nationally?
• What are the three things required for a successful
movement for change? Can you think of something
you can do to help the green collar economy effort?
If the crusade to racially integrate the dirty, gray economy represented the height of nobility in the last century,
then how morally compelling is the calling to build an inclusive green economy in this one? If Dr. King and
other activists were willing to face attack and dogs and fire hoses and murderous mobs to get everyone included
in the pollution-based economy, then what should you and I be willing to do today to ensure that the new,
clean, and green economy has a place in it for everyone?
CHAPTER three:
eco-equity
page 72
my thoughts:
• What are the barriers you face in being ready to
participate in creating a green collar economy? Which
barriers are inside of you? Which are outside?
• What practices do you or could you undertake to help
you find a place of more compassion inside and out?
We are not just battling the polluter without; we are also battling the polluter within...We all have inner
demons that pollute our minds and hearts—that cloud our thoughts and distort our actions.
CHAPTER four:
The green new deal
page 110
my thoughts:
• What are the five subsystems of sustainability the
book talks about?
• Of these, which do you think is the easiest to start
action on?
Which would be the most difficult? Why?
In Los Angeles, the community-based group Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)
convened the local Apollo Alliance. Campaign Coordinator at SCOPE, Elsa Barboza says the local Alliance’s
first step was “to collect signatures from black, Latino, Asian, and Anglo working-class families throughout Los
Angeles’ inner city neighborhoods.”...One of the people knocking on doors with a petition was Oreatha Ensley,
a lifelong civil rights activist, a mother and grandmother, a former teacher [who said], “I expected some folks
to tell me that jobs are number one and cleaning our environment is just a nice wish. Instead, they told me
that it’s about time reinvest in our community, because we are slipping away further into poverty and getting
sicker because of it.”
CHAPTER five:
the future is now
pages 116 & 117
my thoughts:
• What are the key factors and leadership that have led
to Chicago’s success? Are there local leaders in your
community who are examples of great leadership?
• What are the five areas of local policy change that
local and state governments can embrace?
One American city is quite clearly at the forefront, leading the way toward sustainability, but it’s probably not
the place you’d guess. “With its strong industrial base, Chicago is perceived to be a meat and potatoes kind of
town,” says Chicago’s chief environmental officer Sadhu Johnston, “so for it to set a green example is different
than a city like San Francisco or Boulder doing so.” It’s true. For such groundbreaking environmental leader-
ship to come out of “ The City of Big Shoulders” rather than the land of tofu and hot tubs is remarkable. And
the example the city is setting is a powerful one for industrial centers across the nation and the world.
CHAPTER six:
the government question
Pages 165 & 166
my thoughts:
• What are the key factors and leadership that have led
to Chicago’s success? Are there local leaders in your
community who are examples of great leadership?
• What are the five areas of local policy change that
local and state governments can embrace?
One American city is quite clearly at the forefront, leading the way toward sustainability, but it’s probably not
the place you’d guess. “With its strong industrial base, Chicago is perceived to be a meat and potatoes kind of
town,” says Chicago’s chief environmental officer Sadhu Johnston, “so for it to set a green example is different
than a city like San Francisco or Boulder doing so.” It’s true. For such groundbreaking environmental leader-
ship to come out of “ The City of Big Shoulders” rather than the land of tofu and hot tubs is remarkable. And
the example the city is setting is a powerful one for industrial centers across the nation and the world.
CHAPTER six:
the government question
Pages 165 & 166
my thoughts:
We would love you to photograph or
send your collage to Green For All.
Green For All
1611 Telegraph Ave. 6th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
For more information,
or to join our efforts go to
www.greenforall.org
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612
510-663-6500
www.greenforall.org
P.O. Box 330446
San Francisco, CA, 94133
www.engagenet.org

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Washington Post says EPA, Interior to be transformed under Obama

EPA, Interior Dept. Chiefs Will Be Busy Erasing Bush's Mark
Friday 28 November 2008
by: Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

Few federal agencies are expected to undergo as radical a transformation under President-elect Barack Obama as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, which have been at the epicenter of many of the Bush administration's most intense scientific and environmental controversies.

The agencies have different mandates - the EPA holds sway over air and water pollution, while Interior administers the nation's vast federal land holdings as well as the Endangered Species Act - but both deal with some of the country's most pressing environmental concerns, such as climate change. And over the past eight years, many career employees and rank-and-file scientists have clashed with Bush appointees over a number of those of issues, including whether the federal government should allow California to regulate tailpipe emissions from automobiles and how best to prevent imperiled species from disappearing altogether.

In June 2007, Obama told reporters in Reno, Nev., that he would not hesitate to reverse many of the environmental policies Bush has enacted by executive order.

"I think the slow chipping away against clean air and clean water has been deeply disturbing," Obama added. "Much of it hasn't gone through Congress. It was done by fiat. That is something that can be changed by an administration, in part by reinvigorating the EPA, which has been demoralized."

Global warming policies are expected to mark one of the sharpest breaks between the Obama and the Bush administrations.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson overruled his career advisers in deciding to deny California authority to control tailpipe emissions and rejecting their conclusion that global warming poses a threat to public welfare, and Obama is likely to reverse both of those policies shortly after taking office. This month, the president-elect told delegates to the Governors' Global Climate Summit that he would push for a federal cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and then to cut them an additional 80 percent by 2050, targets Bush has never embraced.

"Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response," Obama said in a videotaped message. "The stakes are too high, the consequences too serious."

Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife, said that together, the two agencies will help shape the government's response to climate change.

Clark, who headed the Fish and Wildlife Service under President Bill Clinton, is not a formal Obama adviser, but many of her former Clinton colleagues are helping the transition team, including David Hayes, a partner at Latham & Watkins; John Leshy, a professor at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law; and Robert Sussman, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

"EPA will play the lead role in crafting a regulatory response," Clark said. "Interior has a huge role to play in adaptation" -- the effort to cope with climate changes that are already happening, such as drought and more frequent wildfires.

EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said Wednesday that the agency is focused on finalizing policies on coal-fired power plants and other matters, but he would not speculate on the task the next administration faces: "We'll let the next team decide what their priorities will be when they get here."

With escalating responsibilities, both agencies will need more resources after years when their budgets shrank, relatively speaking. The EPA received $7.5 billion from Congress in 2008, down from $7.8 billion in 2001. Interior has fared slightly better, getting $11.1 billion compared with $10.4 billion in 2001, but that represents more than a 10 percent cut in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who as chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has feuded with both Johnson and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne over global warming and other issues, said in an interview that she has high expectations of the people who will take their places.

"I'm expecting President-elect Obama to select people who really care about the issues they're in charge of, someone who believes in their mission and not someone who's going to undermine their mission," she said. "That's a sea change."

There is a long list of Democrats vying to take the helm of both agencies. The two leading contenders for EPA administrator are Mary Nichols, a favorite of Boxer's who chairs the California Air Resources Board, and Lisa Jackson, who is in the midst of switching from heading New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection to serving as chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Other possible nominees include Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty; Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles; former Sierra Club president and environmental activist Lisa Renstrom; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Pace University law professor and chairman of the Waterkeeper Alliance, another advocacy group.

The list for Interior is almost as long. Two House Democrats, Raul M. Grijalva (Ariz.) and Mike Thompson (Calif.) are contenders, but Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, former Oregon governor John Kitzhaber, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe, as well as three former Interior officials - David Hayes, John Leshy and Clark at Defenders of Wildlife - have all been mentioned.

Regardless of who takes over at the agencies, the new leaders will face impatient scrutiny from green groups eager to change the government's trajectory on the environment. Frank O'Donnell, who heads the advocacy group Clean Air Watch, ticked off 10 initiatives he expects the new EPA administrator to undertake, including changing rules on emissions from coal-fired power plants and monitoring airborne lead pollution more closely.

"The Bush administration has cut so many special deals for industry that it could be a Herculean effort reversing them all," O'Donnell said. "The new team is going to have to muck out the regulatory stables."

--------

Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Barbara Fitzpatrick's thoughts on the economy and climate change

Efficiency is the solution

What's not to like about energy efficiency ? Efficiency is conservative and liberal. It benefits the whole population while saving money and resources. Insisting on inefficiency is insisting on paying more than something's worth.

The two major problems staring us in the face are unemployment and climate change. Efficiency alone can solve about half of both. We need about 10 wedges to avoid the worst of extreme climate change, each wedge representing reduction of 1 billion metric tons of carbon by 2055. They include doubling world-fleet average miles per gallon and building efficiency and halving world average miles driven. Each one means jobs, good jobs, retrofitting and weatherizing buildings, manufacturing lines for cars that get 45, 55 or more mpg, rebuilding and running rail and mass transit for people and freight.

Other wedge "green"jobs replace existing coal plants-no new ones, pleaseby increasing gas-fired power plants fourfold, wind-powered plants 50-fold and photovoltaics 700-fold. More efficiency, letting nature do the sequestering, creates jobs protecting and restoring rainforests and wetlands, and replacing high-petroleum, high-water input, carbon-releasing corporate agriculture with family farms (producing 50 percent more for less petroleum and water while sequestering carbon ) will increase our national food security. American efficiency can create good jobs and rebuild the economy, giving America domestic and international security. The next president and Congress need to hear this. I'm going to tell them. How about you ?
BARBARA FITZPATRICK / Fayetteville

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bush moves to destroy wilderness protection

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President for 60 More Days, Bush Tearing Apart Protection for America's Wilderness
Thursday 20 November 2008
by: Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian UK

Oil shale mining in Rocky Mountains gets go-ahead. "Midnight regulations" to dismantle safeguards.

Washington - George Bush is working at a breakneck pace to dismantle at least 10 major environmental safeguards protecting America's wildlife, national parks and rivers before he leaves office in January.

With barely 60 days to go until Bush hands over to Barack Obama, his White House is working methodically to weaken or reverse an array of regulations that protect America's wilderness from logging or mining operations, and compel factory farms to clean up dangerous waste.

In the latest such move this week, Bush opened up some 800,000 hectares (2m acres) of land in Rocky Mountain states for the development of oil shale, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. The law goes into effect on January 17, three days before Obama takes office.

The timing is crucial. Most regulations take effect 60 days after publication, and Bush wants the new rules in place before he leaves the White House on January 20. That will make it more difficult for Obama to undo them.

"There are probably going to be scores of rules that are issued between now and January 20," said John Walke, a senior attorney at the National Resources Defence Council. "And there are at least a dozen very controversial rules that will weaken public health and environment protection that have no business being adopted and would not be acceptable to the incoming Obama administration, based on stances he has taken as a senator and during the campaign."

The flurry of new rules - known as midnight regulations - is part of a broader campaign by the Bush administration to leave a lasting imprint on environmental policy. Some of the actions have provoked widespread protests such as the Bureau of Land Management's plans to auction off 20,000 hectares of oil and gas parcels within sight of Utah's Delicate Arch natural bridge.

The Bush administration is also accused of engaging in a parallel go-slow on court-ordered actions on the environment. "There are the midnight regulations that they are trying to force out before they leave office, and then there are the other things they are trying not to do before they go. A lot of the climate stuff falls into the category of things they would rather not do," said a career official at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Other presidents have worked up to the final moments of their presidency to impose their legacy on history. But Bush has been particularly organised in his campaign to roll back years of protections - not only on the environment, but workplace safety and employee rights.

"This is Bush trying to leave a legacy that supports his ideology," said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, an independent Washington thinktank that monitors the White House office of management and budget. "This was very strategic and it was in line of the ideology of the Bush administration which has been to put in place a free market and conservative agenda."

The campaign got under way in May when the White House chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, wrote to government agencies asking them to forward proposals for rule changes. Bolten had initially set a November 1 deadline on rule-making. The White House denies that the flurry of rule changes is politically motivated. "What the chief of staff wanted to avoid was this very charge that we would be trying to, in the dark of night in the last days of the administration, be rushing regulations into place ahead of the incoming, next administration," Tony Fratto, the White House spokesman, told reporters.

But OMB Watch notes that the office of management and budget website shows 83 rules reviewed from September 1 to October 31 this year - about double its workload in 2007, 2006 and 2005.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration cut short the timeframe for public comment. In one instance, officials claimed to have reviewed 300,000 comments about changes to wildlife protection within the space of a week.

The new regulations include a provision that would free industrial-scale pig and cattle farms from complying with the Clean Water Act so long as they declare they are not dumping animal waste in lakes and rivers. The rule was finalised on October 31. Mountain-top mining operations will also be exempt from the Clean Water Act, allowing them to dump debris in rivers and lakes. The rule is still under review at the OMB. Coal-fired power plants will no longer be required to install pollution controls or clean up soot and smog pollution.

Yet another of the new rules, which has generated publicity, would allow the Pentagon and other government agencies to embark on new projects without first undertaking studies on the potential dangers to wildlife.

Announcements of further rule changes are expected in the next few days including one that would weaken regulation of perchlorate, a toxin in rocket fuel that can affect brain development in children, in drinking water.

The Bush strategy has prompted a fightback from environmentalists, the Democratic-controlled Congress, and members of the Obama transition team.

John Podesta, who is overseeing the transition, has said that Obama will review the last-minute actions, and will seek to repeal those that are "not in the interests of the country".

Pollute, Baby, Pollute

The last-minute rules passed during the "midnight hours" of the George Bush presidency differ from his predecessors because they are basically a project of deregulation - not regulation. Among the most far-reaching:

Industrial-size pig, cow and chicken farms can disregard the Clean Water Act and air pollution controls.

The interior department can approve development such as mining or logging without consulting wildlife managers about their impact.

Restrictions will be eased so power plants can operate near national parks and wilderness areas.

Pollution controls on new power plants will be downgraded.

Mountain-top mine operators could dump waste into rivers and streams.

2m acres of land in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado opened to development of oil shales, the dirtiest fuel on Earth.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marsha Melnichak's passing leaves an empty spot in the hearts of Fayetteville residents

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of Marsha Melnichak (right) and friends visiting the Fayetteville Farmer's Market on October 25, 2008.


Marsha Melnichak died in her sleep Thursday night November 20, 2008, or early this morning, at Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas, I was told.
Having visited her Wednesday night at the hospital, I knew her time was short. During the meeting of the Telecommunication Board on Tuesday night, several people spoke off camera of their sadness that she would likely never again attend such meetings and report on them with her clear sense of reality and highly developed ability to sort through the chaff and find the significant points of such city meetings. She earned universal respect from city workers, public officials and area residents who read her news stories.
Few people reach Marsha's high level of competence and integrity in reporting the news.
She covered the beginning of the mayoral campaign well, and it was clear in brief conversations in the weeks since she found herself unable to work that one of her concerns was not being able to continue her work and be on hand next Tuesday to report on the final chapter.
Maybe she realized that she would not be with us by this time. Most of us did not.
Her absence should be a reminder that, whatever goals we set, pursuing them with honesty, good humor and grace is as important as the result.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Clean Air Arkansas to meet November 19 in Fayetteville

Clean Air Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
November 19, 2008 Meeting
Agenda & Notes

Welcome! Introductions

Review Turk Jr. Coal Plant, Hope, AR
Update
No New Coal Rally
What is next?

Shady Point II Plant, Shady Point, OK
Update
Oklahoma City Meeting, Nov. 13, 2008
What is next?

Roles of Organizations
Clean Air Arkansas
Carbon Caps Task Force
Audubon Arkansas
Sierra Club
Ecological Conservation Organization
ARK-OKL Alliance (no name yet)
Repower Arkansas


Statewide No New Coal Day to Beebe?
Meet at City Hall
Dec. 8-15, weekday lunch hour?


EPA Ruling-What does this mean for coal?


League of Women Voters Issues Paper (CAA’s Role)-due Early January
Resources for the Arkansas Voter, Where to go for info on:
• Coal Plants
• GCGW recommendations
• Repower Arkansas
• Carbon Caps Task Force-PLANETwork

WHAT IS THE FATE OF CLEAN AIR ARKANSAS, FAYETTEVILLE?

EPA can no longer ignore pollution by coal-fired power plants

Welcome to the first day of our clean energy future.

The Sierra Club received word yesterday that we have won a major decision; the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) will no longer be able to ignore global warming pollution caused by coal-fired power plants [1].
This victory can be the turning point in our fight for clean energy.
We've stopped virtually all new coal plants dead in their tracks.
This ruling means new and proposed coal plants (over 150 have been proposed in the last two years) must now go back to the drawing board to address their carbon dioxide emissions.
This victory would not have been possible without your support. Will you help keep the clean energy momentum going by donating to the Sierra Club today?
With coal as the single largest cause of our nation's global warming pollution, this is a critical step to ensuring a clean energy future.
And it's just the beginning. The ruling gives us the framework we need to make real progress on replacing coal with new clean energy solutions that will repower our economy and help fight climate change.
We need your help now more than ever. We can seize upon this decision and make it the turning point in our fight for clean energy. Please consider donating to the Sierra Club today.
This major breakthrough will strengthen the efforts of Sierra Club activists from all over the country who have been engaged in fighting new coal plants. Our mandate to put an end to dirty coal has just gotten that much stronger.
This ruling opens a number of new doors to our fight. From giving the Obama administration a clean slate to regulate carbon emissions to fighting for the retirement of the fleet of existing, old, dirty coal plants, there is a lot of work to get started on.

Bruce Nilles
National Director, Sierra Club Coal Campaign

1 Bryan Walsh, "Environmentalists Win Big EPA Ruling on Coal Emissions", TIME, Thursday November 13, 2008. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1859049,00.html

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Climate Project announces grant to RepowerArkansas

RepowerArkansas NEWS RELEASE

The Statewide Coalition RepowerArkansas Receives The First Grant Awarded from
National Organization: The Climate Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10 November 2008. ARKANSAS.

Robert McAfee, of Hackett, AR, one of the 1,000 trained by Al Gore, has been awarded the first ever grant from The Climate Project (TCP) (www.theclimateproject.org) to fund a statewide coalition Repower Arkansas. The coalition formed to promote awareness of the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating renewable power and green collar jobs. The strategy of the coalition is to develop a citizen alert network to inform the Arkansas General Assembly that the public wants the recommendations from the Arkansas Governor’s Commission to be adopted as law. By enacting these policy options many new green collar jobs can be created. This is a real opportunity for Arkansas to become a leader in repowering energy supplies with clean, renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and others.
Robert is a climatologist and an environmental educator. Since December 2006 he has given over 50 presentations of Mr. Gore’s slide show. Four other Arkansas TCP presenters, Kevin Smith, of Helena, Brent Robinson, Fayetteville, Robert Huston, Van Buren, and Cindy Fribourgh of Little Rock will also work with the coalition. Robert and Kevin served on the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming. The final report of the commission was presented to Governor Beebe on October 31.
Over the next three months members of the coalition will travel to communities around the state to discuss the climate crisis with citizens and share the opportunity of green collar jobs for economic development. Green-collar jobs pay family wages and provide opportunities for advancement for a career with increasing skills and wages. While some green jobs require advanced technical skills, most are middle-skill jobs requiring more education than high school, but less than a four-year degree. Much of the work to green our economy involves transforming the places that we live and work, and the way we travel. Repower Arkansas will enlist the support of citizens to inform the General Assembly of the publics growing desire for clean energy and green jobs.
The first event will be November 18th at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, from 7-10pm. These presentations will incorporate the major themes of the Climate Project and The WE Can Solve It Campaign with Arkansas specific applications from the Global Warming Commission’s policy options.
Further information can be obtained at www.repowerarkansas.org.
CONTACTS: Robert McAfee Robert@repowerarkansas.org;
Joanna Pollock Planetworkscom@gmail.com;
Charlotte Wales walescharlotte@hotmail.com.

Statewide coalition to promote recommendations of global-warming commission

RepowerArkansas NEWS RELEASE

Statewide Coalition Forms to Promote
Global Warming Commission Recommendations

RepowerArkansas: Green-collar Jobs in the Natural State to Provide Economic Solutions for the Climate Crisis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10 November 2008. ARKANSAS.

Repower Arkansas is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals committed to rallying the legislature to adopt the recommendations of Governor Beebe's Global Warming Commission. By enacting these policy options many new green collar jobs can be created. This is a real opportunity for Arkansas to become a leader in repowering energy supplies with clean, renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and others.
The coalition, which is steadily growing, includes organizations, such as, the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology, the Carbon Caps Task Force, Ecological Conservation Organization (ECO), Planet Works, Social Sustenance, Arkansas Climate Awareness Project (ARCAP), and the Thinking Like a Mountain Institute. These groups are working with the national organizations “The Climate Project” and “The WE Can Solve It Campaign” to inform the Arkansas public of the opportunities to simultaneously reduce global warming and create thousands of green collar jobs.
Over the next three months members of the coalition will travel to communities around the state to discuss the climate crisis with citizens and share the opportunity of green collar jobs for economic development. Green-collar jobs pay family wages and provide opportunities for advancement for a career with increasing skills and wages. While some green jobs require advanced technical skills, most are middle-skill jobs requiring more education than high school, but less than a four-year degree. Much of the work to green our economy involves transforming the places that we live and work, and the way we travel. Repower Arkansas will enlist the support of citizens to inform the General Assembly of the publics growing desire for clean energy and green jobs.
The first event will be November 18th at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, from 7-10pm. These presentations will incorporate the major themes of the Climate Project and The WE Can Solve It Campaign with Arkansas specific applications from the Global Warming Commission’s policy options.
The coalition believes that the best way to start an economic boom for Arkansas and address the climate crisis is for the 2009 legislative session to approve public policy that enacts the recommendations of Governor Beebe's Global Warming Commission. Further information can be obtained at www.repowerarkansas.org.
CONTACTS: Robert McAfee Robert@repowerarkansas.org;
Joanna Pollock Planetworkscom@gmail.com;
Charlotte Wales walescharlotte@hotmail.com

Carbon Caps Task Force meeting at 1:30 p.m. today at the Fayetteville, Arkansas, public library

Carbon Caps Task Force meeting at 1:30 p.m. today at the Fayetteville, Arkansas, public library.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Arkansas panel ignores environmental hazards and issues air permit for coal-fired power plant

Utility gets air permit for plant
BY BILL W. HORNADAY
Posted on Thursday, November 6, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/242726/
The final air permit for a $ 1. 6 billion coal-fired power plant to be built in Hempstead County was issued Wednesday by state environmental regulators.

Southwestern Electric Power Co. spokesman Scott McCloud said the company is “extremely pleased” to complete a two-year process that involved two public hearings and hundreds of comments from residents.

Yet any euphoria that plant supporters may experience could be short-lived, as opponents of the project 15 miles northeast of Texarkana plan to appeal the decision.

“I am confident there will be an appeal,” said Chuck Nestrud, a Little Rock attorney who represents private hunting clubs and owners of 18, 000 acres near the site. “But right now we’re not sure which parties would participate.”

McCloud said, “Of course, there is always the possibility of another appeal, and if that occurs, who knows what will happen ? But today is a good day.”

Such a move must be filed with the Arkansas Pollution Control Ecology Commission within 30 days, said Doug Szenher, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

If so, it would place a stay on the permit, he said. That would block SWEPCO’s plans to immediately start full-scale construction on the John W. Turk Jr. power plant, which is expected to take four years to complete.

It would also join two other appeals filed against the 600-megawatt facility.

One is before the 8 th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. It contests a federal judge’s July ruling that certain types of construction are allowed before obtaining an air permit.

The other is before the Arkansas Court of Appeals. It contends that the Arkansas Public Service Commission’s 2-1 approval of the plant in November 2007 was improper because it ruled on SWEPCO’s need to provide additional power and need for the Turk plant itself in separate hearings.

Once plant construction begins, it would create up to 1, 400 jobs at the height of the project and 110 permanent jobs once the plant is completed, SWEPCO said. The project would generate about $ 38 million in sales and property tax revenue and an annual payroll of $ 9 million to southwest Arkansas.

However, the plant site is near one of Arkansas’ most ecologically sensitive areas. This includes 2, 000-acre Grassy Lake, which is home to alligators, migratory birds and some of Arkansas’ last cypress swamps and stands of virgin timber.

Environmental activists decried Environmental Quality Department’s decision, noting that the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming recently recommended a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants in Arkansas until 2020.

“This battle is not over,” said Glen Hooks, senior regional representative for the Sierra Club. “Expect that Sierra Club and our allies will use every tool in our arsenal and fight this plant until absolutely all avenues have been exhausted, up to and including legal challenges.”

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Movie on the planet

http://www.linktv.org/programs/special_planet1

http://www.linktv.org/programs/special_planet1


The Planet Part 1 - Watch Online!

This outstanding documentary series outlines the challenges faced by humanity in the grip of global environmental change, making a strong case for mankind's own contribution to this life threatening problem. Not limited to climate change, The Planet examines global changes brought about by overpopulation, the destruction of plants and animals, high levels of consumption, growing economies and industrialized farming. Swedish filmmakers Michael Stenberg, Linus Torell, Johan Söderberg take this serious material to the next level, using unconventional aerial photography, archived instructional films and a thriving soundtrack to bring a scientific subject into the realm of artistic, contemporary documentary. Environmental experts interviewed for the series include Pulitzer Prize and National Medal of Science winner Jared Diamond ("Guns, Germs and Steel"), author and Stanford professor Gretchen Daily, Herman Daly, Will Steffen, George Monbiot, Norman Myers and Lester Brown.





Part 1: Global Change
The first episode of The Planet attempts to correct our use of the term "climate change", arguing that what humanity really faces is change to all aspects of the biosphere, including the decimation of resources, ongoing damage to natural services such as pollination, and the widespread extinction of plants and animals. This is a global change – one that reaches beyond the climate. Because it's global, it's a marked example of our growing dependence on the behavior of other nations.

The first people to feel such global changes are often the most unlikely – Inuit hunters whose fish are suffering mutations from e-waste, Australian ranchers fighting raging bushfires, Portuguese farmers facing ceaseless droughts, year in year out. We all share the planet, and the decisions we make now will affect not only our own lives, but the future of the whole world.

Visit our pages for The Planet Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Reply Reply to all Forward
--
Dick Bennett

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Morning News reports on the ADEQ's token effort to protect Arkansas watersheds from gas-drilling pollution

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


State Plans Closer Look At Drilling Water
By The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK -- The top state environmental regulator her agency will increase inspections of areas where drilling companies store water used in boring through rock to reach natural gas deposits.
Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Director Teresa Marks said Friday companies now send test samples to the department but that she wants the agency to start conducting its own tests.
Drilling has expanded rapidly across the Fayetteville Shale in north-central Arkansas, where higher natural gas prices have made it economically feasible to probe more difficult areas to extract gas. Drilling sites have lined storage ponds that contain water and rock from the drilling process.
Marks says random inspections at the ponds are to start immediately.
“A concern I have is we don’t know for sure what’s in those ponds,” Marks said Friday during the Arkansas Watershed Advisory Group and Arkansas Stream Team Watershed Conference. “They send us test samples, but we want to do testing ourselves.”
Marks says she has 17 inspectors, with eight of them working Fayetteville Shale. She says she needs to hire more inspectors to be able to handle the random testing.
Marks said that it would take a few months after the inspections to develop a report on the findings. There are a dozen sites that are allowed to store water that’s used during drilling, and three other companies are seeking ADEQ permits, she said.
“We want to do more testing and more research to determine the long-term effects the facilities could have on Arkansas,” Marks said.
The water can be used to irrigate crops, but soil and water samples must first be approved by ADEQ.
State Rep. Betty Pickett, D-Conway, who was at the gathering, said the Legislature should provide resources the ADEQ needs.
“This may be one of the biggest economic boons in Arkansas, and Arkansas needs it,” Pickett said. “Arkansas will be enriched by what’s going on, but while we bask in the dollar signs, we must not develop a blind eye for the environmental impact this will have. There’s no reason we have to trade one for the other.”
Shale drilling will contribute an estimated $22 billion to the state economy by 2012.
Pickett said she will encourage state regulatory agencies, such as the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission and the ADEQ to work closely together to keep an eye on the industry.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Global-warming fighting online magazine

Latest issue of global-warming fighting news magazine

Energy companies advocate state rules to keep pollution legal

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Group to advocate for energy, environment policies

By Jason Wiest
THE MORNING NEWS
LITTLE ROCK -- A new group comprised largely of energy companies announced Tuesday it will advocate for energy, environmental and economic development policies in the state, some of which could be contrary to those of the state's global warming panel.
Bob Lamb, chairman of the newly formed group Progress Arkansas, said recommendations made by the Governor's Commission on Global Warming would provide fodder for analysis and that the group will lobby its positions on the recommendations.
"I would think there would probably be some issues that would come out of this report that this group will support. There may be other issues that they may not support," Lamb said, declining to be more specific.
While the group has not yet discussed the commission's recent report to be submitted to the governor and Legislature, it is not likely to take a position on Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s proposed $1.5 billion coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County, Lamb said.
By an 11-10 vote, the commission recommended a moratorium on coal-fired plants until technology to capture and store carbon emissions is fully developed.
"This group does not have any position on the SWEPCO coal plant at all, and I would not think they would take one," Lamb said. "They've already gone through a lot of process. This group's just getting started. We're not in a position to join the discussion."
Lamb formerly served as executive vice president of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce-Associated Industries of Arkansas, as well as an officer, director and vice president of community development for the Arkansas Western Gas Co. He also is a former lobbyist for Southwestern Energy Co. and its subsidiaries. Southwestern is the largest natural gas developer in the Fayetteville Shale play.
Lamb said Tuesday he is not currently acting as a lobbyist for Progress Arkansas but that he may serve in that capacity as the group lobbies the Arkansas Legislature and the U.S. Congress.
He said the group likely will advocate its position on a number of recently opened dockets at the state Public Service Commission regarding rule-making, rate-making and energy efficiency.
"Perhaps out of those dockets we'll develop some legislative initiatives that we might could support," he said.
The group will also work to create jobs in Arkansas, specifically service and manufacturing jobs to replace recent losses in those areas, he said.
Scooter Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said the group would provide welcome assistance.
"As a state agency, we're certainly supportive of organizations such as Progress Arkansas and the goal that this organization is working toward," he said. "We'll cooperate and work with Progress Arkansas."
Lamb said that while the group will seek to assist economic growth and increase the quality of life in Arkansas, there are also many challenges in the energy field.
"We want to be supportive of ensuring that Arkansas continues to have a reliable source of energy, both electricity and natural gas at the retail level," he said.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Global Warming Commission approves revision of report

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Global Warming Commission approves final revisions to report

By John Lyon
THE MORNING NEWS
LITTLE ROCK -- The Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming on Thursday approved final revisions to its report containing 54 recommendations for reducing the state's contributions to climate change.

The 21-member commission was created by an act of the Legislature last year and is required to present its final report to Gov. Mike Beebe and legislators no later than Nov. 1.

The commission's report recommends that Arkansas adopt goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions below 2000 levels by 20 percent by 2020, 35 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2035.

The commission includes representatives of several fields, including conservation, industry, government and academia. The panel approved some recommendations unanimously, but it was divided on some votes, including an 11-10 decision to recommend a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in the state until technology to capture and store carbon emissions becomes available.

The committee approved a final set of revisions to the report during a meeting Thursday held by conference call. Committee Chairman Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, thanked the members for their work.

"I know people have very strong opinions about all of these issues," Webb said. "We did a really fine job. Thank you all for all the time that you've given in the last year on this."

In a period allowed for public comments, Ken Smith, executive director of Arkansas Audubon, told the commission, "Congratulations, all of you, for a great job."

Among the revisions the commission approved Thursday was a slight change to an assertion in the report that peer-reviewed literature is "unanimous" in concluding that human activity is causing climate change. The commission changed "unanimous" to "virtually unanimous."

Steve Cousins, vice president of refining for Lion Oil, said although no vote was taken on whether global warming has a human cause, he knew of "at least three commissioners that are agnostic" on the issue.

The report states that Arkansas' greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster than those of the nation as a whole, according to research conducted for the commission by the nonprofit Center for Climate Strategies. From 1990 to 2005, gross emissions in the state increased by 30 percent while national gross emissions rose by 16 percent.

On a per-capita basis, the state's emissions increased by about 10 percent between 1990 and 2005, while national per-capita emissions decreased by 2 percent.

The report notes that Arkansas has large forests which negate some of its greenhouse gas emissions. In 2005, the state's gross emissions accounted for 1.2 percent of national gross emissions, while its net emissions accounted for 1 percent of national net emissions.

Electricity consumption and transportation were the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Arkansas in 2005, accounting for 32 percent and 26 percent, respectively, of the state's gross emissions.

The direct use of fuels such as natural gas, oil products, coal and wood in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors accounted for 18 percent of emissions. The agricultural and forest wildfire sectors together accounted for 14 percent of emissions.

Other sources of emissions included industrial processes, landfills and wastewater management facilities.

The commission analyzed the costs to implement 29 of its recommendations and estimated a net cost of $3.7 billion between 2009 and 2025.

Among other things, the commission recommends new nuclear power plants; a carbon tax program; a consortium to develop renewable energy production facilities and market renewable energy to consumers; and numerous measures to improve energy efficiency.

Web Watch

Governor's Commission On Global Warming

www.arclimatechange.us

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Carbon Caps Task Force meeting at 1:30 p.m. today!

Sunday Oct 19 - is the next meeting of the Carbon Caps Task Force. 1:30 pm, Omni office, 902 W. Maple.

We'll be talking a lot about the Planetwork Project. Robert McAfee and a working group are refining a plan to get it ready before the legislative session. You'll want to hear about the plan, and your input will be helpful. There'll be other things to discuss too.

If you have questions, please reply.
Gladys

Nick Brown clarifies relation of man and natural world

Guest writer : Conserve and protect
BY NICHOLAS R. BROWN SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Posted on Saturday, October 18, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Editorial/240588/
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a unique, diverse collection of ecological systems and the home to caribou, muskoxen, sheep, foxes, moose, wolves, black bears, brown bears, polar bears, and over two dozen other species of mammals. It’s one of the largest, most ecologically intact wildlife refuges in the world.

Recently, columnist Bradley R. Gitz described ANWR as an “uninhabited, pestilence-ridden wasteland.” This thoroughly anthropocentric view of the world—that there are no important existing values if they are not of immediate economic benefit to humans—is the very kind of thinking that has led us to a wide range of environmental problems. As Albert Einstein said, we cannot solve our problems with the same type of thinking that created them.

Our planet, whether you think of it as the Creation, Gaia or simply the third rock, is driven by ecological processes that may or may not be observed and valued by our industrial culture. To assume that an ecosystem is “wasteland” just because there’s no perceived economic value is human arrogance of a very dangerous sort. Political and economic decisions should be made with a biocentric view, which serves human interests and conserves ecological values over a long term.

All ecological systems have values that relate to the continuing healthy existence of the planet, whether we understand the importance of those values or not. This is a general statement that may be discomforting to economists and industrial developers, but it’s just a paraphrase of the well-known and well-understood axiom, everything’s connected to everything else. Ecology, which is the study of interactions among species and between species and their environments, inescapably leads us to this conclusion, though as a science it is silent on its meaning and importance.

Ecological thinking dictates that we assume that there are connections of which we are oblivious and that we accordingly manage ecosystems with precaution. It embodies respect for nature.

ANWR’s selection as a location for a wildlife refuge isn’t accidental. It’s a unique and biodiverse boreal region. One hundred ninety-five species of birds, 36 species of fish and 36 species of land mammals are found in six ecological regions of ANWR.

Section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act provides for the possibility that 1. 5 million acres of ANWR could be opened for oil production, and that area is, therefore, known as the 1002 Area. A study of the 1002 Area reveals 16 land-cover classes or types of ecological systems. Grasses, sedges, shrubs, willows and other vegetation of riparian zones each offers critical ecological values to porcupine caribou, arctic caribou, muskoxen, grizzly bears, wolves, golden eagles, polar bears and snow geese that use the 1002 Area.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has written that the 1002 Area contains “an unusually diverse assemblage of large animals and smaller, less appreciated life forms tied to their physical environments and to each other by natural, undisturbed ecological and evolutionary processes.” Let’s not consider the home of wolves, grizzly bears, polar bears and golden eagles a wasteland.

It is not as though no petroleum exploration is allowed in Alaska under current rules. Twenty-three million acres of Alaskan land are currently in production in the National Petroleum Reserve there, which is located west of ANWR on the North Slope and Arctic Coastal Plain. Current production is about 750, 000 barrels of oil per day from about 300 gas and oil leases.

The most optimistic estimate of oil production from the 1002 Area is 900, 000 barrels per day, about 4 percent of our national demand and 1 percent of global demand. By comparison, we could save a million barrels per day if the efficiency of our national fleet improved by five miles per gallon or 2 million barrels per day if we all simply drove five miles per hour slower on our highways. The Energy Information Administration of the U. S. Department of Energy estimates that addition of ANWR’s oil to existing supplies would reduce the price of oil by 50 cents per barrel. It’s five to 10 years from flowing through pipelines if we started work tomorrow. The extent to which additional oil drilling is a necessary part of our bridge to a sustainable energy future can be debated. But it is clear that ANWR’s boreal ecosystems contain unique ecological values that we should conserve and protect.

—–––––•–––––—Nicholas R. Brown, a native of Helena, is the executive assistant for sustainability at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No new COAL rally in Little Rock supported by UA chapter of OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology

NO NEW COAL RALLY IN LITTLE ROCK!

STATE CAPITOL STEPS

1 PM, SAT, OCT 18

FREE TRANSPORT FROM FAY TO LR

CALL 479-225-8396 TO RSVP



Saturday October 18th, 1 p.m., on the State Capitol steps we, Arkansans, will be having a rally to show our opposition to the proposed coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County. After a recent decision by the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming to halt construction on this plant, it is important we show Governor Beebe that he has the public support to move forward with the recommendation of his own commission and stop this plant.



Live music performed by

EPIPHANY, DAMN BULLETS, and MAGIC HASSLE

plus...
Expert speakers on this issue
and video postcards to Governor Beebe...
Call Maggie Bailey to reserve your seat on the No New Coal vans! 479-225-8396. or email: mtucker22@yahoo.com. Free ride, though no food is provided... bring a lunch and your water bottle! We will leave 8:30 am, this Sat, be stopping along the way, spend a couple hours in LR, then back to Faytown around 7ish, Saturday evening. Meet in the Walton Arts Center parking lot.
Here is a recent link with information regarding the vote by the Governors Commission on Global Warming:
http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/238400/
Also, check out the new YouTube video made by Audubon Arkansas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5zuwEi7YXk

Thank you for all your support…hope to see you on the 18th!

PS...if you are anywhere b/t Fay and LR, and need a ride...feel free to call!

Have a wonderful day!

Maggie Bailey
NW Facilitator
Clean Air Arkansas
479-225-8396
mtucker22@yahoo.com

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Good idea only if using waste material from agriculture and timber production and without decreasing wildlife habitat. Clearing land pollutes air

Summit promotes growing high-energy plants
BY DUSTIN TRACY
Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/69979/
Northwest Arkansas Times Fayetteville’s first ever Sustainability Summit brought more than 300 people to the city’s center to talk about ways organizations can become more environmentally friendly. One way discussed was a switch from conventional diesel fuel to the use of bioenergybased fuel. Jim Wimberly with BioEnergy System LLC in Fayetteville talked about the energy-efficient idea at a small breakout session during the summit. “ Agriculture and energy are so intertwined, ” Wimberly said.
He said the idea is to start promoting the growth of high-energy yielding plants that can be processed and manufactured into a full spectrum of energy projects, including fuel for automobiles.
“ In essence, plants are batteries, ” he said. “ They store energy through photosynthesis. ”
Arkansas provides a large amount of natural resources to make bioenergy manufacturing a reality, Wimberly said, and if the state takes an active interest in the concept, it could cut in half its yearly 1 billion gallons of petroleum used each year.
“ It would take just under a million acres of herbaceous energy crops (crops high in energy ) to displace half of that diesel used, ” he said.
Wimberly said a lot of research is being done on soybeans to create biodiesel, and that it’s a good fuel. However, he said fuel users need to broaden their horizons.
“ We need to quit being worried about planting a future around traditional approaches to biofuel, ” he said.
The state has the forest and farmland to support biofuel operations, which makes it already an attractive location to bioenergy companies, Wimberly said, but Arkansas and its cities need to work towards sealing the deal with the green fuel producers.
“ We are in competition with neighboring states, ” Wimberly said.
Financial incentives as well as getting state landowners and far mers on board with the idea could be the key, Wimberly said.
“ It’s not going to happen unless (farmers ) can make at least as much money as they do growing traditional crops, ” he said.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com
A draft of the final report of the Global Warming Commission is now available. Commissioners can comment on it until next Friday, October 17. Please review and let me know if you have any comments, etc.

Thanks.

Link:

1 Compilation Table of Contents through Chapter 8 (117 pp, 2,654 kb)
Part 2 Compilation Appendixes A through K (355 pp, 7,229k b) [Note: Appendix L is under development and not included in this file].

The separate sections of the draft report are posted below. Chapters 3 through 7 are summaries of the longer technical Appendices F through J that contain the “Policy Option Descriptions for Analysis.

Cover Page
Table of Contents (1p, 13 kb)
Acknowledgments (1p, 13 kb)
Members of the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on Global Warming (GCGW) (2p, 18 kb)
Acronyms and Abbreviations (5p, 51 kb)

Executive Summary (17 p, 298 kb)
Chapter 1 – Background and Overview (21p, 318 kb)
Chapter 2 – Inventory and Forecast of GHG Emissions (10p, 177 kb)
Chapter 3 – Cross-Cutting Issues (10p, 65 kb)
Chapter 4 – Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Sectors (16p, 119 kb)
Chapter 5 – Energy Supply Sector (8p, 64 kb)
Chapter 6 – Transportation and Land Use Sectors (10p, 106 kb)
Chapter 7 – Agriculture, Forestry, and Waste Management Sectors (12p, 128 kb)
Chapter 8 – Review of Current Scientific Literature on Causes and Impacts of Global Warming (4 p, 38 kb)

Appendix A – Act 696 - An Act To Establish the GCGW (8p, 71 kb)
Appendix B – Description of GCGW Process (16p, 108 kb)
Appendix C – Members of Technical Work Groups (3p, 20 kb)
Appendix D – Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory and Reference Case Projections (1p, 14 kb)
Appendix E – Methods for Quantification (5 p, 45 kb)
Appendix F – Cross-Cutting Issues – Policy Recommendations (35p, 261 kb)
Appendix G – Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Sectors – Policy Recommendations (58p, 441 kb)
Appendix H – Energy Supply – Policy Recommendations (54p, 423 kb)
Appendix I – Transportation and Land Use – Policy Recommendations (48p, 406 kb)
Appendix J – Agriculture, Forestry, and Waste Management –Policy Recommendations (102p, 1,193 kb)
Appendix K – List of References (25p, 229 kb)
Appendix L – Public Comments


Robert McAfee
The Governor's Commission on Global Warming, Climatologist
2610 W Hackett Rd, Hackett, AR 72937
[479]638-0035 [479]462-8834 www.arclimatechange.us

http://go350ppm.org/

350 PPM: The Most Important Number YOU Need to Remember! Cap & Reverse CO2 Emissions Now.

. . . unless we advance beyond thinking only in terms of conservation and alternate sources (of energy) and begin to think in terms of a carbon pie, we will have no chance to stop the rise in atmospheric CO2. Wallace S. Broecker

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Governor's commission on global warming tentatively says NO to new coal-fired power plants

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas


Panel Tentatively Endorses Ban On New Plants

By Peggy Harris
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LITTLE ROCK -- An Arkansas commission studying ways to reduce global warming tentatively endorsed a ban Thursday on new coal-fired power plants, saying a proposed $1.5 billion facility in Hempstead County shouldn't open until at least 2020.

The preliminary proposal would allow the John W. Turk Jr. plant near Fulton to open eight years later than planned, when new "sequestration" technology presumably would be available to capture harmful carbon dioxide emissions and store them in the ground. The plant could open sooner if the technology becomes available.

Under the proposal, the $1.3 billion Plum Point plant being built near Osceola could open as planned in 2010 but operators would have to retrofit the plant with the new anti-pollution technology once it becomes available.

Any other new coal-fired power plants in Arkansas would have to have the new technology when they open.

Currently, sequestration is not in use at any commercial power plant in the country. But the new technology is among the many innovations being discussed nationally and worldwide to reverse global warming.

State Rep. Kathy Webb, who chairs the Governor's Commission on Global Warming, said the draft proposal was one of about 50 the group has analyzed over the last several months with the help of consultants. The panel expects to have its final recommendations in a report to Gov. Mike Beebe by Oct. 31. Legislators could consider the measures when they meet in regular session next year.

Webb, D-Little Rock, said the proposed ban has been among the most controversial of the draft recommendations.

Coal-fired power plants and automobiles are the leading producers of carbon dioxide, the chief culprit of global warming. They also are a primary generator of electricity in the U.S. and considered essential to economic growth.

Commission members from the energy industry Thursday voiced opposition to the proposed ban.

Gary Voight, chief executive of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, said scrapping plans for new plants would mean using "dirtier" inefficient plants that produce more pollution and fail to meet consumer demand.

He said a ban would effectively make it more difficult for utilities to produce electricity economically and free up more money to invest in energy-efficient technology. In addition, Voight said, the Arkansas Public Service Commission has already imposed conditions on Southwestern Electric Power Co. to address pollution at the planned 600-megawatt plant in Hempstead County.

"This is a bad plan. It's retroactive regulation," said Voight, whose cooperative plans partly own the SWEPCO plant. "The commission has already ruled that SWEPCO must evaluate all carbon sequestration and capture technologies as available in the future so this (proposal) is pointless. It's a waste of time, and we should all vote against it and get it off the table."

Other commissioners spoke of the seriousness of global warming and the need to take strong action.

"This is what Congress is talking about. This is what a lot, a lot of scientists are concerned about. New coal plants, we're talking about moratorium until sequestration," said Art Hobson, a physics professor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Commissioner Kevin Smith, the former state senator from Stuttgart, said without a moratorium Arkansas could become "the new Pittsburgh -- not the Natural State." And commissioner Rob Fisher, executive director of The Ecological Conservation Organization, said the proposal was the most important recommendation the panel could make.

"If we don't pass this option, everything else we do is pointless," he said.

The commission endorsed the recommendation by a vote of 11-10.

Kacee Kirschvink, a spokeswoman for SWEPCO, said the Turk plant would be one of the cleanest coal plants in North America. She said it would use "ultra-supercritical" technology that requires less fuel and produces less carbon dioxide. In addition, she said, the plant could be retrofitted for newer technology once it becomes available.

"It would not be good public policy to change the rules now after much planning and investment has been done to meet the energy needs of SWEPCO's customers," she said.

Shreveport, La.-based SWEPCO wants to open the plant in 2012 and has begun site work, while awaiting an air-quality permit from state environmental regulators. SWEPCO is a part of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co.

David Byford, a spokesman for Plum Point developers Dynegy Inc., said the commission proposal was in the early stages and Dynegy might comment later after further study.

Web Watch:

Arkansas Governors Commission on Global Warming

www.arclimatechange.us

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oil shale production threatens wildlife, human life

Help Stop a Grave New Threat to Wildlife, Public Lands and Water!‏
From: Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, National Wildlife Federation (alerts@nwf.org)
Sent: Fri 9/19/08 8:15 PM
Reply-to: Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, National Wildlife Federation (alerts@nwf.org)

Stop the Senate from Putting More Wildlife Habitat and
Natural Resources on the Chopping Block

Drilling for oil and natural gas, and mining for coal has already taken a dramatic toll on our country's public lands, wildlife habitat and natural resources.

Now, Congress is considering a proposal to develop a new dangerous energy source--oil shale-- for TWO MILLION acres of America's public lands!




Photo by Chris Evans, The Pembina Institute.

Oil shale extraction will yield impacts similiar to the syncrude oil sands mine in Alberta.

Please urge Congress to extend the moratorium on commercial oil shale development!


Oil shale production is 130% more carbon dioxide intensive than conventional drilling and gasoline production, which means it would continue to fuel global warming—the already single greatest threat to wildlife.

HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS AT STAKE:

OUR WATER: Oil shale production will require upwards of 315 million gallons of water a dayThis is scarce water we already need for drinking, agriculture, livestock and wildlife.

OUR WILDLIFE: Oil shale development would put at risk millions of acres of wildlife habitat, and continue to raise the harmful impacts of global warming pollution for wildlife and their habitats.

OUR WAY OF LIFE: Preserving America's public lands are an important part of our country's conservation tradition. Oil shale development threatens to dramatically change the face of some of our most treasured places.



Congress is moving in the wrong direction to break America's oil addiction.

Please ask your Members of Congress to be the difference that moves America's energy policies in a bold new direction.

Thanks so much for speaking up!

Sincerely,

Dominique Burgunder-Johnson
Online Grassroots Coordinator
National Wildlife Federation
alerts@nwf.org

Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.


© 2008 National Wildlife Federation. All rights reserved.
11100 Wildlife Center Dr., Reston VA 20190 | 1-800-822-9919 | Contact us

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A chance to testify against coal-fired power plant

Hello,
This is James with ECO. I want to thank you for your support with our grassroots campaign to stop the proposed coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County.
If you would like to learn more about this campaign or volunteer please contact me for more information as well as check out our website:
www.cleanairarkansas.org
Next Thursday September 18th at 6pm at the University of Arkansas Community College in Hope there will be a public hearing regarding SWEPCO’s air permit. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is reviewing the permit to determine if the plant meets the federal rules regarding mercury emissions.
This is a very important hearing and we need people to go down to Hope that evening to speak out against the plant. Even if you do not feel like speaking at the hearing just coming and holding a sign or wearing a NO COAL T-SHIRT will make a huge difference.
We have organized car pools so far in three cities across the state (Little Rock, Conway, and Fayetteville). Here are the contacts for each location if you are able to come or if you have family or friends in other parts of the state who would like to attend.

Little Rock: Conway: Fayetteville:
Departure Time: 2pm Departure Time: 2pm Departure Time: 11am
Joe Sundell Molly McGuire Maggie Bailey
501-416-4640 940-368-7183 479-225-8396
joesundell456@yahoo.com McGuireMF@hendrix.edu mtucker22@yahoo.com



We are planning a press event with all these groups as well as locals from Hempstead County at 5:30pm right before the hearing so it is essential that we get on the road on schedule.

Prior to the hearing we will be sending out talking points for those who are coming but if you are not able to join us you can send in your comments to ADEQ via email as well.

For more information about the status of the plant and the hearing please view this article:

http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssIndustryMaterialsUtilitiesNews/idUSN1547251720080815

Thanks for your support. Please contact us to find out how you can help with this important event!

James
burke@ecoconservation.org
www.ecoconservation.org
336-455-1065
501-372-7895
"All great questions must be raised by great
voices, and the greatest voice is the voice of
the people - speaking out - in prose, or painting
or poetry or music; speaking out - in homes and
halls, streets and farms, courts and cafes - let
that voice speak and the stillness you hear will
be the gratitude of mankind."
Robert F. Kennedy

Friday, September 12, 2008

OMNI folk traveling to support effort to stop coal-fired power plants

Testimony in Little Rock‏
From: Omnicenter Communications on behalf of Gladys tiffany (gladystiffany@yahoo.com)
Sent: Fri 9/12/08 12:17 AM
Reply-to: Gladys tiffany (gladystiffany@yahoo.com)
To: OMNINEWS@LISTSERV.UARK.EDU
Omni is a coalition member of "Clean Air Arkansas", a group trying to block coal-fired power plants trying very hard to move into Arkansas and Oklahoma. Last Tuesday a group of us went to Little Rock to testify before the Global Warming Commission. A physician talked about health problems from coal plants, an outdoorsman talked about the effect on wildlife and sensitive habitat, a businessman talked about the effects of the acid rain on forestry, a traveler told about the awful air they'd seen in China on a recent trip, and some of us just said we like to breath.
Our friends on the Commission said we were pretty effective. We even impressed the coal plant supporters, which means that at the next event the supporters will be "loaded for bear," as they say. They can be pretty pursuasive.
Are you concerned about those coal-fired plants moving in? Do you know that the Shady Point II plant in Poteau OK is seeking a permit to double its size, and belch its pollution from Fort Smith to Joplin? That's our air they're planning to pollute.
We haven't given up the argument yet, but we're running out of time. Next Thursday a friendly member of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has scheduled a hearing to let the public speak their mind about the Turk plant at Hope. We need some concerned citizens who can spend the day helping to make a splash there. Can you go? Or can you take a vehicle with a few other folks along? You don't need to testify if you don't want. Concerned people are what we need.
Please reply if you can help with this. Pass it to a friend if you know someone who needs to hear.
Thanks Omni folks,
Gladys

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mulberry River watershed threatened by companies wanting to drill for natural gas

Keep Arkansas Natural
Jesse Edmondson

Whitmar Exploration, out of Denver, CO, is proposing four natural
gas wells in the Ozark National Forest in Franklin County,
Arkansas. They are located along the Pig Trail, Hwy. 23, and
within the immediate drainage to the Mulberry River. Whitmar has received its drilling permits from AR Oil and Gas
Commission, although the area they have leased is expected
to have little probabability of being productive. If these
wells were promising, it is likely that Chesapeake and SEECO
would have already claimed stakes. The development of the
Fayetteville Shale play is fast-growing, as many companies
stand to benefit from Arkansas' resources. However, signing
over our most precious natural areas in Arkansas to high-risk,
low probability gas well drilling is a decision that the public
needs to address before it is too late. While some of these
companies have assured the state that they are eco-friendly,
there is still little known about environmental, recreational,
and social risk associated with hydro-fracturing the Fayetteville
Shale. Reserve pits for drilling waste are thought to be
designed to handle significant rain events. However, with the
state underhanded to inspect reserve pits and compliance
on a regular basis, who will be informed when toxic materials
spill into Mountain Creek, Fane Creek, and the Mulberry
River? How can we trust the reserve pits to handle surface
run-off like that associated with remnants of Hurricane Gustav?

Please consider writing the following voicing their concerns:

Points to consider:

Why is it necessary to allow high-risk drilling in Arkansas's
most precious public lands?

Is the financial benefit to the state going to outweigh the
tourism and recreation industry, environmental degradation, and
loss of historical significance to these natural sites?

Have all the possible environmental risks been assessed?

Will drilling be seen and heard from the Pig Trail or from
Mulberry River (drilling itself or permanent compression
stations if well is productive)?

The Indiana bat, an endangered species, resides within close distance to these sites.
How will these sites affect animal behaviors and migration?

These sites will be disrupting to public hunting. What are
the effects on deer, turkey, and other game in the Ozark
National Forest?


Have all surface and groundwater risks been assessed so as to
not threaten the Mulberry River?

From where will the millions of gallons of water required for
hydro-fracturing come? If trucked in, how will this affect the
fragile physical condition, traffic, and safety of the Pig
Trail?

Where will reserve pit fluid be taken before reclamation? Will
and where will it be land-applied?

Public Comment period to the U.S. Forest Service ends on
September 12, 2008, this Friday. Please write to each District
Ranger to express your concerns regarding the Whitmar Exploration Company
ARES53687 #1-13H and 2-13H Gas Well Project:

U.S. Forest Service
Patricia A. Kowalewycz, District Ranger
Pleasant Hill Ranger District
2591 Hwy 21
Clarksville, AR 72830
479-754-2864

U.S. Forest Service
Gary Williams, District Ranger
Boston Mountain Ranger District
1803 N. 18th Street
Ozark, AR 72949
479-667-2191

Whitmar Exploration (Company Drilling in Franklin County)
555 17th St. Suite 880
Denver, CO 80202

Governor Beebe
State Capitol Room 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission
Directors Office
301 Natural Resources Dr.
Ste 102
Little Rock, AR 72205

Arkansas Geologic Commission
Bekki White, Director and State Geologist
Vardelle Parham Geology Center
3815 West Roosevelt Road
Little Rock, AR 72204

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality
Teresa Marks, Director
5301 Northshore Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72118-5317