The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Global Warming Not A 'Hoax,' Beebe Says
By Rob Moritz
THE MORNING NEWS
LITTLE ROCK -- Global warming is serious problem, not a "hoax," and requires more than a state response, Gov. Mike Beebe said Friday.
"I think it's a threat, and I think global warming is occurring," Beebe said in response to a caller to his statewide radio program who said he believed the climate change crisis was a "hoax."
Another caller asked if Arkansas was going to promote a national carbon tax, which is being discussed in Washington, D.C., as a way to get companies to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere, a major cause of global warming.
Any initiative designed to tackle the global warming issue "shouldn't be done on a state-by-state basis ... It should be done regional, national or global," Beebe said during his monthly call-in show "Ask the Governor" on the Arkansas Radio Network.
In October, the Governor's Commission on Global Warming recommended the state impose a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in the state until technology to capture emissions improves. Southwestern Electric Power Co. is building a $1.5 billion coal-fired plant in Southwest Arkansas.
The commission, which said the plants are a major source of carbon emissions, also suggested a carbon tax that would set a fee for the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
In November, the state Department of Environmental Quality granted an air quality permit for the construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County.
Last month, opponents presented the governor with 3,700 signatures on petitions asking that the project be halted until environmental concerns can be addressed. Beebe said he did not think he has the authority to impose such a moratorium.
Responding to another caller Friday, Beebe said he had not reviewed a bill pre-filed this week that would allow consumers to place security freezes on their credit reports, but said he agrees with the concept.
Rep. Dawn Creekmore, D-Hensley, prefiled a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would expand the state's current security-freeze law and allow all consumers, not just those who have already been victims of identity theft, to place freezes on their credit reports.
In 2007, Beebe vetoed similar legislation by Creekmore, saying he was concerned that parts of the legislation might be taken advantage of by those wanting to commit identify theft.
"We had some concerns that it would do more harm than good," the governor said Friday.
Beebe later in the 2007 session signed a measure backed by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel that allows credit freezes for victims of identify theft.
Late last year, three of the nation's main credit bureaus began allowing consumers to places freezes on their reports, regardless of whether they were victims of identify theft.
"If this can be written in such a way that you can do this even before you've been affected by a credit problem, then yes, I can be supportive of it," Beebe said. "The concept is 'yes, let's protect the consumers, but let's not make it easier for the bad guys.'"