Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Comment from Stephens media blog on unfairness of coal conference in Hope

Different panel: Same dirty coal

Relying on information in the Hope newspaper yesterday, I mentioned that PSC Chairman Colette Honorable would be moderating a panel at a coming conference in Hope on "Making Clean Coal Technology a Reality." I commented that that seemed sort of a political statement by a member of a state panel that is hearing objections to coal-fired power generation by "clean coal" -- a public relations term -- or any other coal.

She asks a correction. She says, despite what a Hope newspaper account erroneously said, she's actually moderating a panel "What to do about Greenhouse Gases."

Noted. Answer to her panel's question: Don't burn coal in power plants.

Honorable is honorable, I hasten to add. I've known her several years and think a great deal of her. But I'll repeat what I told her. I'm not sure it's a good idea for PSC commissioners to lend their high status and neutral position to elevate a public relations stunt put on by the electric power industry and the coal lobby, as this one is. If you need any more information about how balanced this session will be, see Stephens Media today for its story about how the Sierra Club was barred from participation.

Torture the timber, strip the land, dig the coal. Just don't expect me to call it perfume.

I also meant to say initially that this "conference" is a byproduct of SWEPCO's recent purchase of the UA community college branch at Hope for $1 million. No reason the Hope branch shouldn't have a corporate owner, like the UA's Walton-Tyson branch.

PS -- I'm told Ken Smith of Audubon Arkansas will be on hand to be available to anyone who might appreciate a fuller picture of coal's impact on the environment. I hope the power company lobby, which is putting on this dog-and-pony show, doesn't arrest him or move him, a la the Bush jackboots, to a Free Speech Zone over around Lake Greeson.

Environmentalists not allowed to participate in coal conference in Hope, Arkansas

Environmentalists excluded from conference on coal power
Thursday, Jul 17, 2008

By John Lyon
Arkansas News Bureau
LITTLE ROCK - Environmentalists have been barred from participating in an industry-sponsored conference that will examine Arkansas' role in the development and use of clean coal technologies, a spokesman for the Sierra Club said Wednesday.

Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and U.S. Rep Mike Ross, D-Prescott, are the scheduled keynote speakers for the Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference, set for today and Friday at the University of Arkansas Community College in Hope.

A news release from one of the conference's sponsors, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, says the conference will focus on "Arkansas' role in the development and deployment of advanced clean coal technologies as well as the associated environmental, economic and public policy concerns."

Glen Hooks, regional representative of the Sierra Club, said the Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas asked to participate in the conference and provide alternative viewpoints but were told they could not.
"They said that's not what this is about, they've already got the panel set up," Hooks said. "So we were invited to attend but not necessarily to participate in the official part of the program."
There is "not really any environmental representative on the panels at all," Hooks said.
Ken Smith, executive director of Audubon Arkansas, did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
Leah Arnold, spokeswoman for American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said she was not aware that the Sierra Club or Audubon Arkansas had asked to participate, but she said the conference is not a forum on whether coal power should be abandoned.
"We don't think that coal should be taken out. We believe that coal is going to continue - it's going to have to continue - to be a part of Arkansas' energy mix. You can't just do away with 47 percent of (the state's) electricity like that," she said.
The conference will be held about 12 miles from the site of a planned $1.52 billion, 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant Southwestern Electric Power Co. hopes to build near Fulton. The state Public Service Commission has approved SWEPCO's plans, but the state Department of Environmental Quality is still considering whether to grant an air permit for the proposed plant.
Arnold said the conference will include discussion of technology that would allow carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants to be stored permanently underground. The technology is 10 to 15 years away from being a reality, she said.
"Clean coal" technology would not be available when the SWEPCO plant near Fulton goes into operation, but the technology could be added to it and all other power plants when it does become available, Arnold said.
Hooks said America cannot afford to produce additional millions of tons of carbon dioxide every year while waiting for clean coal technology to be developed.
"By all accounts, we're at or near the tipping point when it comes to global warming," he said.
The conference also is sponsored by the Center for Legislative Energy and Environmental Research and the Southern States Energy Board.

Find this article at:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

EPA denying California waiver for air pollution standards tougher than federal rules

EPA denying CA waiver for air pol tougher standards‏
From: Frances Alexander (fran@deane-alexander.com)

Bush's Puppets
Friday 25 July 2008
by: Bill Becker, Climate Progress

EPA administrator Stephen Johnson neglects his federal oath.

Some of us had high hopes for Stephen Johnson when President Bush appointed him in March 2005 as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnson was not a former oil-industry lobbyist or Halliburton executive. He was a career civil servant who had been with the federal government for 24 years. He was a scientist, not a political hack, and he had served under both Democrat and Republican presidents.

I could relate, although my federal career was the reverse of Johnson's.

I started as a political appointee under President George H.W. Bush, then served the next 15 years as a careerist at the Department of Energy. During that time, I learned that there are a lot of good feds out there - people who work hard and take risks for what they believe is in the public's best interest. It requires backbone at times to resist improper political pressures and to carry out the oath of office that federal employees take, promising to "well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

It now appears that Johnson is not fulfilling that oath. There's new evidence that he has allowed the White House to usurp his duty to enforce one of the nation's most important environmental laws, the Clean Air Act. Under the Act, it is the Administrator of EPA, not the president, who is the decider on enforcement issues. The president does not have the legal authority to dictate what those decisions will be.

But that's not the way the game is played in this Administration. From time to time, we get a glimpse back stage to see that President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their deputies are pulling the strings in a show of raw petro-politics, the law and the contrary advice of experts notwithstanding.

One such glimpse came this week from former EPA official Jason Burnett -- an admitted and unrepentant Democrat. Burnett told Congress that Johnson allowed the White House to overrule him on California's request for a waiver under the Clean Air Act. The waiver would have allowed the state to implement its own standards for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, in excess of those set by the federal government.

The Clean Air Act specifically allows California to be more aggressive than the federal government on matters like this, so long as the Administrator grants a waiver. Once California is given the go-ahead, other states are allowed to adopt its standards. Seventeen states indicated they would adopt the California standard for vehicle emissions once Johnson signed the waiver.

Instead, Johnson denied the request in February 2008 after sitting on it for nearly three years, an unusual outcome given that EPA had approved all 50 of California's previous waiver applications over the last 40 years.

The denial was Johnson's right under the law, assuming it was his decision and was based soundly on the criteria established by the Act. But Burnett says that Johnson originally intended to grant the waiver, believing it was justified until he was overruled by the White House.

As Robert Sussman of the Center for American Progress has pointed out, this is not the first time that Johnson has pushed key environmental decisions into EPA's black hole or has overruled the recommendations of his former colleagues among the agency's scientists and professional staff. Sussman documents other decisions by Johnson that raise "disturbing questions about his ability to carry out the spirit and letter of the nation's environmental laws and his acquiescence in a White House political agenda seemingly bent on blocking the agency from taking action compelled by court decisions and long-standing Clean Air Act precedents."

The most significant of these has been EPA and White House stalling tactics on climate action since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year that the agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. To trigger the regulatory process, all Johnson has to do is to declare that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare - an obvious conclusion based both on the Court's decision and on an overwhelming body of scientific evidence.

Nevertheless, 16 months after the Supreme Court ruling, EPA announced earlier this month that it would not proceed with regulation while Bush is still in office.

But back to the California waiver: Last January, Johnson told a congressional committee under oath that "I made the decision" to deny California's request. Burnett's latest testimony indicates otherwise. When a House subcommittee asked Johnson for the real story last May, he refused to talk about his conversations with the White House, claiming executive privilege.

In case there has been any doubt, Burnett's testimony supports the case that public officials such as Johnson (along with the parade of other Administration officials who have recently declared executive privilege or acute amnesia) are merely puppets of the West Wing, even when Congress has delegated them direct responsibility to administer the law.

And in case there has been any doubt, the plot of the puppet-show was made transparent by other Administration decisions in recent days. One lifted the ban imposed by Bush's father on offshore oil production. In another, just announced, the Department of Interior released draft rules to pave the way for oil shale production on public lands in the West. Congress has placed a moratorium on final oil-shale rules, but the moratorium is scheduled to expire on Oct. 1. Interior Secretary Dick Kempthorne is quoted as saying he'll move swiftly to make the rules final when the moratorium expires.

Oil shale production would be a disaster of several dimensions. It is extremely energy and water intensive, and its use would be another major setback to the goal of reducing the nation's carbon emissions. Oil shale production would divert precious water from Western cities and farms, creating another fuel-or-food problem, and sink more money and time into another questionable carbon-intensive resource that will make meaningful climate action more difficult and expensive, if not impossible.

There's no mystery here. The White House is blocking action on climate change while setting the stage for the oil industry to feed America's addiction to that carbon-intensive fuel for many years to come.

With only six months left on stage, the puppet masters are hard at work. It's a disappointment that someone like Johnson, who has made public service his career, is allowing his integrity to be destroyed by a president who shows little regard for him, the nation's long-term welfare, or the law.


Bill Becker is executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project, an initiative to help the next President of the United States take decisive action on global warming and energy security in his or her first 100 days in office.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Audubon Arkansas recounts coal-fired plant's history

Defend the Little River Bottoms

Charles Mills
One of Arkansas’s most Important Bird Areas, the Little River Bottoms in Hempstead County, is under fire from the proposed construction of a coal-burning power plant. An18,000 acre tract of contiguous, relatively undisturbed bottomland hardwood forest, the Little River Bottoms IBA is one of the most biologically diverse ecologically sensitive areas in Arkansas. . Containing dozens of plant and animal species of conservation concern, the Little River Bottoms IBA provides habitat for thousands of wading birds who breed there. It also shelters the state’s largest breeding populations of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Anhingas, White Ibis, Common Moorhens, and Purple Gallinules. Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) wants to build a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant literally across the street. The plant will produce 6 million tons of carbon dioxide, and also emit sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury – all of which threaten the health of both birds and humans.

In October 2007, the Arkansas Public Service Commission , after more than two weeks of hearings and expert testimony on the plant’s construction, voted 2-1 to grant a certificate of need to SWEPCO. The go ahead was given despite deficiencies in the environmental review process and the multi-state movement away from new coal-fired plants.

In early January 2008, an appeal for a rehearing by the Intervenors was denied, again by a vote of 2-1. On January 29, the Intervenors, who include members of nearby hunting clubs, filed before the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Read this article for more details. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality(ADEQ) is still considering whether to grant an air permit to SWEPCO.

On February 8 the DC Court of Appeals ruled that new coal-fired power plants are subject to Maximum Achievable Control Technology ("MACT") regulations for hazardous air pollutant emissions under section 112 of the Clean Air Act. This decision over-turns the Bush Administration's exemption for coal plants. In response, on April 9 SWEPCO submitted an application to ADEQ for a case-by-case analysis of emissions of hazardous air pollutants including, but not limited to, arsenic, benzene, cyanide, dioxins, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, mercury, phosphorous, selenium, and sulfuric acid. Unfortunately, their analysis is deficient in several ways and does not meet the standards of a MACT analysis. In addition, Audubon and Sierra Club believe the MACT analysis requires public notice and a public comment period on the draft permit. Read our letter to Teresa Marks, Director of ADEQ, explaining our concerns.

Audubon Arkansas is working on several fronts to protect the Little River Bottoms and its birds. We are conducting bird surveys to document species of conservation concern. Our bird data were incorporated into expert testimony (11.3 MB PDF) submitted to the PSC. We’ve also submitted comments to ADEQ and Governor Beebe. Working with the Sierra Club, Audubon Arkansas is spearheading a grassroots movement against coal-generated electricity and greenhouse gas production in Arkansas.

On February 6, the Arkansas Coalition for Clean Energy (which includes Audubon and Sierra Club), delivered a letter and petition signed by 1,054 people asking Beebe to halt any permits for coal plants while the Global Warming Commission he appointed completes its work. The petition was the first batch and we hope to add many more signatures.

On February 8, Audubon Arkansas and Sierra Club filed two Petitions to Intervene before the Arkansas Public Service Commission. These petitions challenge the environmental compatibility and public need for the construction of two transmission lines needed to distribute power from the proposed coal-fired plant. Read the two petitions online - Petition to Intervene 1 (pdf) and, Petition to Intervene 2 (pdf).

In May, 2008, Audubon Arkansas, Sierra Club, and the Environmental Integrity Project filed a Third Party Rulemaking Petition before the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&E). The APC&E will hear the petition request on Friday, June 27th at 8:30 a.m. The petition requests the Commission to delete carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from a list of exempt elements and compounds not subject to regulation. The reason for this request is that we have learned in the last few years that carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas and is primarily responsible for rising global temperatures. The Audubon petition does not propose limits or standards for regulating carbon dioxide. The petition merely says that carbon dioxide should be removed from the list. In a recent US Supreme Court decision, Mass vs. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and should be subject to regulation as other known pollutants. Our filings to the Commission can be found here.


Contribute to Audubon Arkansas’ Little River Bottoms Defense Fund using a credit card, or by mailing a check payable to: Audubon Arkansas, in care of Audubon, 1423B South Main St., Little Rock, AR 72201.
Write a letter to Governor Mike Beebe asking him to make good on his promise to err on the side of the environment. You can e-mail him here or write to Governor's Office, State Capitol Rm 250, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Sign up with AudubonAction and receive e-mailed Action Alerts and Advisories regarding environmental policy issues that directly affect you.
Visit Sierra Club's web site to learn of upcoming events and volunteer activities regarding this issue.
Reduce your personal energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more.

Read Ted Williams’s Incite article in Audubon magazine
See a list of species of conservation concern that live in the Little River Bottoms
Browse expert testimony submitted to the PSC here by entering docket number: 06-154-U
Read Audubon Arkansas’ letter to the PSC
Read Audubon Arkansas’ letter to ADEQ
Read a letter by Ken Smith, State Director, to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation.

Audubon Arkansas was founded as the 25th state office of the National Audubon Society in 2001 through a seed grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. Audubon’s vision is a state where the love and respect for nature is a cultural legacy. Our vision is a state where communities are engaged in responsible stewardship, protecting and conserving our native environment for future generations. This leads naturally to our mission to inspire and lead Arkansans in environmental education, resource management, habitat restoration, bird conservation and enlightened advocacy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gore lays facts of climate change on the table

Gore Calls for US to Use Renewable Energy by 2018
Friday 18 July 2008
by: David Stout, The New York Times

Former Vice President Al Gore introduced an ambitious plan to rely completely on clean, renewable energy within the next decade.
(Photo: Breakthrough)
Washington - Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of electric power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts.

"The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. "The future of human civilization is at stake."

Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation's electricity from "renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources" within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.

"This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative," Mr. Gore said in remarks prepared for the conference. "It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life - to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen."

Although Mr. Gore has made global warming and energy conservation his signature issues, winning a Nobel Prize for his efforts, his speech on Thursday argued that the reasons for renouncing fossil fuels go far beyond concern for the climate.

In it, he cited military-intelligence studies warning of "dangerous national security implications" tied to climate change, including the possibility of "hundreds of millions of climate refugees" causing instability around the world, and said the United States is dangerously vulnerable because of its reliance on foreign oil.

Doubtless aware that his remarks would be met with skepticism, or even ridicule, in some quarters, Mr. Gore insisted in his speech that the goal of carbon-free power is not only achievable but practical, and that businesses would embrace it once they saw that it made fundamental economic sense.

Mr. Gore said the most important policy change in the transformation would be taxes on carbon dioxide production, with an accompanying reduction in payroll taxes. "We should tax what we burn, not what we earn," his prepared remarks said.

The former vice president said in his speech that he could not recall a worse confluence of problems facing the country: higher gasoline prices, jobs being "outsourced," the home mortgage industry in turmoil. "Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse," he said.

By calling for new political leadership and speaking disdainfully of "defenders of the status quo," Mr. Gore was hurling a dart at the man who defeated him for the presidency in 2000, George W. Bush. Critics of Mr. Bush say that his policies are too often colored by his background in the oil business.

A crucial shortcoming in the country's political leadership is a failure to view interlocking problems as basically one problem that is "deeply ironic in its simplicity," Mr. Gore said, namely "our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels."

"We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet," Mr. Gore said. "Every bit of that's got to change."

And it can change, he said, citing some scientists' estimates that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth in 40 minutes to meet the world's energy needs for a year, and that the winds that blow across the Midwest every day could meet the country's daily electricity needs.

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, immediately praised Mr. Gore's speech. "For decades, Al Gore has challenged the skeptics in Washington on climate change and awakened the conscience of a nation to the urgency of this threat," Mr. Obama said.

A shift away from fossil fuels would make the United States a leader instead of a sometime rebel on energy and conservation issues worldwide, Mr. Gore said. Nor, he said, would the hard work of people who toil on oil rigs and deep in the earth be for naught. "We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry," he said by way of example. "Every single one of them."

"Of course, there are those who will tell us that this can't be done," he conceded. "But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, 'The Stone Age didn't end because of a shortage of stones.'"

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Carbon caps newsletter by Robert McAfee of the Governor's Commission on Global Warming

Please click on image to Enlarge. To receive e-mail with complete newsletters each month, please e-mail Robert McAfee at robertmca1@aol.com.

Conference in Hope to tout virtues of clean coal for generating electric power

Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Day
Finding Clean and Innovative Solutions to Arkansas’ Energy Needs
July 17-18, 2008
University of Arkansas Community College at Hope
Hope, Arkansas:
Conference Update: Keynote Speakers Announced
Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Congressman Mike Ross have signed on to present keynotes at the Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference.

Conference Update: New panel announced
Interim Arkansas Public Service Commission Chairman Colette Honorable will moderate the “What to do about Greenhouse Gasses” panel on Thursday, July 17. Panelists include Nancy Mohn from ALSTROM Power and Bekki White, Arkansas’ state geologist.
Meeting Overview:
We invite you to join ACCCE and the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope for a special conference dedicated to clean coal technologies and their potential for the state of Arkansas.
The Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference will feature keynote addresses by Congressman Mike Ross and former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, and bring together state elected officials, regulatory agencies and industry experts to discuss the latest technologies to meet Arkansas’ growing energy needs and environmental future.
Topics at the Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Day include:
Greenhouse gas reduction technology development
Demonstration of clean coal technologies
Electricity costs and economic development
State “smart energy” incentives
Carbon capture and safe storage
For a complete list of topics and speakers, please see the complete agenda.
Conference Date/Time:
The conference will run Thursday, July 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Friday, July 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A dinner program will be held Thursday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Hope Coliseum.
The University of Arkansas Community College at Hope
Johnny Rapert Library Complex
2500 S Main
Hope, Arkansas 71801
Hope Coliseum
Hope, AR 71801
Attendee Registration:
Admission to the conference is free, but a limited number of seats are available. Please download the registration form and fax or email it to Jay Dauenhauer at 512-708-8699 or jay@cctft.org.
Credential media are invited to attend the conference and the reception/dinner program. An on-site press/interview room will be provided as well as access to audio/video/Internet feeds. To register, please contact Leah Arnold at 703-302-1222 or larnold@cleancoalusa.org.
For those attendees needing overnight accommodations, we have reserved room blocks at both the Hope Best Western and Holiday Inn Express. To receive special rates, please ask for the Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference rate.
© 2008 American Coalition for Clean Coal ElectricityPrivacy Policy
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Clean Coal a joke and not even being considered for proposed plant in Arkansas

Monday, July 07, 2008
Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference Touts Experts in Energy, Economics and Government

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 7, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ ----Conference Programming Includes Keynotes and Presentations focused on Clean Coal Technologies, Energy Cost Concerns, Energy Security and the Environment

A full slate of expert speakers highlights the agenda of the upcoming Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference in Hope, Arkansas. The conference details Arkansas' role in the development and deployment of advanced clean coal technologies as well as the associated environmental, economic and public policy concerns. The event runs July 17 -18, 2008.

The Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference features two high-profile keynoters, Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR). Gephardt takes the stage on Thursday evening, July 17, to discuss national energy security issues. Rep. Ross leads off Friday morning with a presentation on federal initiatives in support of clean coal technology and the opportunities available for Arkansas.

Day one of the conference revolves around coal as a fuel for the future with emphasis on advanced coal generation, technology development, emissions reductions, carbon capture and storage and Arkansas energy resources. Thursday presenters include Stu Dalton from the Electric Power Research Institute; Monty Jasper from American Electric Power; Dr. Claude Baker from Southern Arkansas University's Lignite Research Institute; Nick Harbilas from Siemens Power Generation Inc.; and Frank McMullen from Union Pacific Railroad.

Thursday's program also features a panel titled "What to do about Greenhouse Gasses" moderated by Colette Honorable, interim chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Panelists are Nancy Mohn from Alstom Power and Bekki White, Arkansas' state geologist.

On Friday morning, following the keynote by Rep. Ross and his introduction by State Senator Barbara Horn, the program takes aim at the economics of coal-based electricity generation and new energy opportunities in the south. Friday speakers include Morry Davis from Peabody Energy and the American Association of Blacks in Energy; Jeff Sanford from the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce; Nick Brown from the Southwest Power Pool; Ken Nemeth from the Southern States Energy Board; Mike Smith from the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission; and Arkansas State Rep. Bubba Powers.

Two panels on Friday focus on the public policy efforts elements essential to preserving the reliability, affordability and security of Arkansas' energy future. First, Sandy Hochstetter from the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. leads a discussion with Commissioner David Ziegner from the Indiana Utility Regulatory on making clean coal technology a reality. Immediately following, Arkansas State Rep. Nathan George moderates a panel on the challenges of clean coal policy featuring fellow state legislators Rep. Carl Holmes from Kansas; Sen. David Myers from Oklahoma; and Rep. Rick Hardcastle from Texas.

Sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the Center for Legislative Energy and Environmental Research (CLEER) and the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), the Arkansas Clean Coal Technology Conference will take place on the campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope in the Johnny Rapert Library Conference.

For more details, including registration information and a full agenda, please visit www.ArkansasPower.org.


The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is a non-profit, non-partisan partnership of companies involved in producing electricity from coal. Because coal is America's most abundant energy resource, ACCCE supports energy policies that balance coal's vital role in meeting our country's growing need for affordable and reliable electricity with the need to protect the environment. ACCCE also advocates for the development and deployment of advanced clean coal technologies that will produce electricity with near-zero emissions. Headquartered in Alexandria, VA, ACCCE can be found on the Web at www.cleancoalusa.org or www.americaspower.org.

SOURCE American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity


Friday, July 11, 2008

Governor's commission on global warming wants to hear from you


Mr. Aubra Anthony, Forestry
1501 North Jefferson
El Dorado, Arkansas 71730
(870) 862‐3414, aanthony@anthonyforest.com
Pres & CEO of Anthony Forest Products Co.

Mr. Nick Brown, Public Energy
4907 North Lookout
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
(501) 614‐3213, nbrown@spp.org
Formerly with Forest Stewardship Council, worked for World Wildlife Fed.

Rep. Joan Cash, At Large
1301 Thrush Road
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401
(870) 802‐0406, jcash@ritternet.com
Rep in Ark legislature.

Mr. Steve Cousins, Ark Chamber of Commerce
1000 McHenry, PO Bo x7005
El Dorado, Arkansas 71731
(870) 864‐1120, Steve.cousins@lionoil.com
Chair of Ark Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Jerry Farris, Scientist
3613 Alabama Road
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401
(870) 933‐8295, jlfarris@astate.edu
9. Aquatic toxicologist at Ark State Univ, Jonesboro.

Mr. Rob Fisher, At Large
4319 North Lookout Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
(501) 372‐7895, fisher@ecoconservation.org

Dr. Richard Ford, Economist
17000 Lawson Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72210
(501) 821‐1700, rkford@ualr.edu
Economist at UALR, Pres of UALR Gen Assembly.

Mr. Miles Goggans, Agriculture
16 Greathouse Bend
Little Rock, Arkansas 72207
(501) 374‐9500, mmg@goggansinc.com
Former chief of staff for Sen. David Pryor.

Dr. Art Hobson, Scientist
525 North Olive
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
(479) 575‐5918, ahobson@uark.edu
Physicist, UA Fayetteville

Mr. Kevan Inboden, Municipal Energy
Post Office Box 1289
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72403
(870) 930-3325, kinboden@jonesborocwl.org

Mr. Christopher Ladner, Sustainable Energy Construction
2919 Shenandoah Valley Drive, Suite 701
Little Rock, Arkansas 72212
(501) 661‐0621, chris.ladner@ecointegration.net
Green Building Council representative.

Dr. Elizabeth (Betty) Martin, Union (AFL-CIO)
2825 East Weston Place
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72703
(479) 575‐5840, plantvirology@cox.net
Biological & agricultural engineering. Fayetteville. Plant Pathology.

Dr. Robert McAfee, Climatologist
2610 West Hackett Road
Hackett, Arkansas 72937
(479) 638‐8371, robertmca1@aol.com
An Al Gore trainee.

Mr. Bill Reed, House Appointee
P.O. Bo x927
Stuttgart, Arkansas 72160
(870) 673‐5212, breed@riceland.com
CEO of Riceland Corp

Dr. Cindy Sagers, Environmental Nonprofit
435 North Olive
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
(479) 575‐5547, csagers@uark.edu
UA Dept of biology, former chair of Sierra Club's Ozark Headwaters group.

Mr. Jeffrey Short, Environmental Nonprofit
122 Riverpark Drive
Malvern, Arkansas 72104
(501) 337‐7107, bashman@earthlink.net
Retired AF Colonel, scientist, biologist, organic farmer.

Mr. Hugh McDonald, Industry
CEO of Entergy Arkansas

Mr. Kevin Smith, Ark Senate appointee
135 Waverly Wood Drive
Helena, AR 72342
(870)816-5122, kasmith@suddenlinkmail.com
Former state senator, did the Al Gore training.

Mr. Gary Voigt, Environmental Nonprofit
23871 North Cold Springs Road
Paron, Arkansas 72122
(501) 570‐2260, g.voigt@aecc.com ,
Works for the Rural Elect Coops.

Rep. Kathy Webb, House Appointee.
14 Pilot Point Place
Little Rock, AR 72205 (501) 412‐6443, kathy@lillysdimsum.com
State Representative, co-chair of GW Commission.

Commission Advisory Body

Mr. Richard Bell
Arkansas Agriculture Department
1 Natural Resources Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
(501) 683‐4851, richard.bell@aad.ar.gov

Mr. Lawrence Bengal
Oil and Gas Commission
301 Natural Resources Drive, Suite 102
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
(501) 683‐5816, larry.bengal@aogc.state.ar.us

Mr. John Bethel
Public Service Commission
P.O. Bo x400, 1000 Center Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203‐0400
(501) 682‐2051, john_bethel@psc.state.ar.us

Mr. Richard Davies
Parks and Tourism
One Capitol Mall
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
(501) 682‐7777, Richard.davies@arkansas.gov

Ms. Maria Haley
Economic Development
One Capitol Mall, Fourth Floor
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
(501) 682‐2124, m.haley@1800arkansas.com

Ms. Nancy Ledbetter *
Game and Fish Commission
#2 Natural Resources Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
(501) 223‐6318, nledbetter@agfc.state.ar.us

Mr. Lynn Malbrough *
Highway and Transportation
10324 Interstate 30, P.O. Box 2261
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203‐2261
(501) 569‐2000, lynn.malbrough@arkansashighways.com

Ms. Teresa Marks
Department of Environmental Quality
5301 North Shore Drive
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72218
(501) 682‐0959, marks@adeq.state.ar.us

Mr. John Shannon
Forestry Commission
3821 West Roosevelt Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
(501) 296‐1941, john.shannon@mail.state.ar.us

Mr. Randy Young
Natural Resources Commission
101 East Capitol Avenue, Suite 350
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
(501) 682‐3961, randy.young@arkansas.gov


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Japanese prove that one can leave his carbon footprint at the door

> Leave Your Carbon Footprint at the Door
> Japanese Model Home Touts
> Eco-Gadgets for G-8 Summit;
> Air-Washing the Laundry
> July 8, 2008; Page D1
> As leaders of the world's most powerful nations discuss climate change at the Group of Eight summit in northern Japan, Japan's big tech companies are displaying some of their most cutting-edge solutions in a nearby "zero emissions house."
> The single-story, 2,152-square-foot house generates all the energy required for a family of four, therefore eliminating carbon-dioxide emissions, according to the Japanese government. Products inside, many already on sale in Japan, include a washer that requires no water and an air conditioner that senses where people are in a room and automatically sends cool air in their direction rather than cooling empty space. Yet the eco-friendly products also carry a steeper price tag than traditional appliances.
> The house uses a wind-turbine generator and a photovoltaic generation system, which directly converts light into electricity, to produce about 15 kilowatts of energy a day, nearly five times the amount used by a regular household. The government has presented the house as one of its contributions toward helping the world cut greenhouse emissions in half by 2050.
> The zero-emissions house is an attempt by Japan's big tech companies to showcase their recent and growing focus on environmental technologies as a future area of growth.
> Sanyo Electric
> This washing machine made by Sanyo Electric Co. uses air to clean clothes instead of water.
> The waterless washer is Sanyo Electric Co.'s latest Aqua washer/dryer, a three-in-one machine that uses high-powered air, or ozone, to wash clothes without a single drop of water. The process of "ozonation" -- which disinfects bacteria on contact -- can air-wash clothes, removing about 80% of biodegradable stains without using any water at all, says Ryo Hagiwara, Sanyo's spokesman.
> The company says a full-cycle of air-wash uses about twice as much electricity as a regular wash, but only one-fifth the total energy of a comparable full wash and dry -- in part because the air wash doesn't need a drying system.
> The Aqua washer also has a regular wash setting that can purify and recycle water that had been used for a bath, thus reducing the amount of fresh water required by the machine to a mere half-bucket.
> The machine is available only in Japan and Taiwan, but the company says it hopes to make inroads eventually in the U.S. and Europe. Sanyo's Aqua washer costs 228,000 yen ($2,135) or about 80% more than an equivalent washer/dryer on the Japanese market.
> Human-Sensing AC
> The air conditioner is the new, human-sensing air-conditioner by Mitsubishi Electric Corp., which detects a person's motion and location using heat sensors. The machine, which is available only in Japan, then emits air waves specifically targeting the people. That can save up to 50% in energy use, the company says. Still, the air conditioner, which is built into a wall, costs a lofty 200,000 yen ($1,873), or about a third more than conventional air conditioners.
> Sharp Corp.
> A solar-powered TV made by Sharp Corp. is both thin and efficient, consuming half the energy of current models.
> There's also a low-energy television set. Sharp Corp., a leading solar-panel producer, is showing one of the world's thinnest liquid-crystal-display TVs, with a thickness of about three-fourths of an inch. The set, not yet on sale, consumes only half the energy of existing models, the company says.
> Sharp is also showing a solar-energy array whose solar cells can be made semitransparent, so they can be put into a window.
> Some ideas are simple. Sekisui House Ltd. is displaying a roof-top vegetation system that uses a thin film of moss grown on tile plates attached to the roof of the house.
> The housing company says the moss, which can be fitted alongside solar panels on the rooftop, can lower the temperature inside the house by one degree Celsius, helping reduce air-conditioning use. The company plans to start sales in Japan soon.
> Seeking Dominance
> Squeezed both by low-cost competitors from China and Taiwan and innovative companies like Apple Inc., the Japanese companies that dominated the global electronics industry for decades have been seeking ways to play up their technological manufacturing strengths and know-how to stay ahead.
> What's more, competition is fierce as rivals jump onto the environment-friendly technology bandwagon. Just last year, Sharp lost its No. 1 position to Germany's Q-Cell AG in global market share of solar panels.
> Japan's model home goes one step beyond previous zero-emissions homes by providing a fully furnished home using cutting-edge household appliances.
> Last year, the British government presented a carbon-free home that beefed up heat insulation by using triple-glazed windows, solar panels and low-energy lighting, among other things.

American basket flower (Centaurea Americana) blooming on World Peace Wetland Prairie and other unmowed places throughout northwest Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of American basketflower made on July 10, 2008.

American basketflower photos and description˜

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of IPCC President and Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, says humanity has only seven years to reverse the greenhouse emissions trend before we cross a threshold of "serious danger."
(Photo: Bjorn Sigurdson / Scanpix Norway / AFP)


"We Have Seven Years Left to Reverse the CO2 Emissions Curve"
Monday 07 July 2008
by: Laurence Caramel and St├Ęphane Foucart Interview Rajendra Pachauri, Le Monde

IPCC President and Nobel Laureate Rajendra Pachauri, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, says humanity has only seven years to reverse the greenhouse emissions trend before we cross a threshold of "serious danger."
(Photo: Bjorn Sigurdson / Scanpix Norway / AFP)
Since 2002, Rajendra Pachauri has presided over the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the reports of which have scientifically asserted the reality of climate change. For that work, this 67-year-old Indian engineer and economist received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with former American Vice President Al Gore. A guest in Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine) at the Informal Council of European Environment and Energy Ministers on Friday, July 4, he called on the Twenty-Seven to maintain their commitment to reduce their greenhouse gases by at least 20 percent between now and 2020. Quoting Gandhi, he exhorted the Europeans to be at the forefront of the struggle against global warming: "If you want the world to change," he declared to the ministers, "you have to embody the change you want."
Le Monde: Six months have gone by since the Bali Conference. Are the negotiations to achieve a post-Kyoto international agreement advancing?

Rajendra Pachauri: Not much has happened and that's worrying. There isn't much time left before the Copenhagen Summit in December 2009, even though, with these kinds of negotiations, it's always a bit the same: everyone watches everyone else and waits until the last minute. In the best case, that leads to agreement on a compromise, while this time, we need a solid and ambitious accord. To contain the rise in temperatures below 2-2.4 degrees C, which, according to our studies, is the threshold not to be crossed without putting us in serious danger, we have only seven years left in which to reverse the global curve of greenhouse gas emissions. That's very little time.

What role may Europe play?

Europe has an essential role to play; it must continue to show the way as it had begun to do. If Europe does not decide to be the first great region to voluntarily reduce its carbon dioxide discharges, it is futile to hope for an international agreement. Neither the United States nor China will ever come on board.

Should we see the food crises that are hitting poor countries as a manifestation of climate disturbance?

The present crisis has multiple causes, specifically population increases, changes in certain countries' eating patterns - like the increase in meat consumption - or even the fact that stocks of certain foodstuffs have not been maintained. But it is certain that if temperatures continue to increase, food shortages will get worse. We've calculated that agricultural yields could drop by half in certain African countries between now and 2020.

What do you think about the doubts some people have expressed about the reality of climate change?

They are marginal and most often reflect special interests that fear being penalized by a transition to a "de-carbonized" economy. But objectively, there is no room for doubt. Science has brought so many proofs, we no longer need any demonstration to know on a scientific basis that global warming is underway and that this warming is essentially due to human activities. But there will always be people who will argue about it. There's still a Flat Earth Society whose members continue and will continue for centuries to deny the rotundity of the Earth....

The generally publicized objective is to maintain the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) below 450 to 550 parts per million (ppm). But recent studies show that we'd need to stay below 350 ppm, a level that has already been exceeded ...

The IPCC does not give advice; it settles for providing an evaluation of different scenarios. Then it's up to the international community to decide. The main consideration is that we have to stabilize the level of greenhouse gas to a level below that of dangerous human interference with the climate. How should we define what is dangerous? And more importantly, dangerous for whom? For some little island states, the present level is unquestionably dangerous. I was recently in New Zealand, where I met the president of the Kiribati Islands (Anote Tong), whose country will be submerged before the end of the century. He is very aware of the fact that for the inhabitants of his country - who will have to leave - the danger level has already been outstripped. The international community cannot decide what is dangerous based on an average: there is no average in the danger climate change represents.

With a report every four to five years, the IPCC is sometimes criticized for being slow. Why doesn't it issue studies every year or every two years so as to be as up-to-date as possible?

Producing a report every year or every other year would be impossible. The IPCC does not employ any researchers: the authors of the report devote only 20-25 percent of their work time to it. But that is the only way to assure the collaboration of the best scientists. Data from the last year suggest that perhaps the Arctic is melting faster than the IPCC said in its last report. But it's possible that next year's measure will tell us something else.... We must take the time necessary to take into account sufficient data: that's also what creates our scientific credibility.


Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.
Please click on image to Enlarge type on cartoon about global climate change and carbon emissions.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Texas approves coal plant in Arkansas

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Texas Regulators Approve Arkansas Coal Plant

By John Lyon
The Morning News
LITTLE ROCK - The Public Utility Commission of Texas on Thursday approved Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s proposal for a coal-fired power plant in southwest Arkansas.

SWEPCO, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, received approval for the plant from the Arkansas Public Service Commission in November, but the company also had to submit applications to regulators in Texas and Louisiana, where many of its customers live. Louisiana regulators approved the proposal in March.

The Texas commission voted 2-1 Thursday to approve SWEPCO's proposal for a $1.52 billion, 600-megawatt plant in Hempstead County.

"The Texas commission's approval of the John W. Turk Jr. Power Plant means Texas customers will continue to benefit from a reliable and affordable supply of electricity in the years ahead," AEP Chairman Michael Morris said in a news release. "Coal is essential to meeting the growing energy needs of our region and our country, and we are putting new technology to work in a facility that will generate electricity more efficiently with less environmental impact."

John W. Turk Jr. served as president and CEO of SWEPCO from 1983-88.

The Texas commission rejected the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Wendy Harvel, who said in January that SWEPCO had failed to show a need for the plant.

SWEPCO had said it would build the plant with or without approval from Texas regulators, though a denial would have meant that Texas customers' rates could not be raised to help pay for the facility.

Hunting clubs and landowners in Arkansas who oppose the plant, claiming it will harm the local environment, have appealed the Arkansas Public Service Commission's ruling to the state Court of Appeals.

An application by SWEPCO for an air permit from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is pending.