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Arkansas Environmental Policy Summit Set Today

Participants at the first Arkansas Environmental Policy Summit will discuss managing and preserving the state’s natural resources, such as Hot Springs National Park. (zrfphoto/iStockphoto)
Participants at the first Arkansas Environmental Policy Summit will discuss managing and preserving the state’s natural resources, such as Hot Springs National Park. (zrfphoto/iStockphoto)
September 9, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Environmental advocates and public officials are meeting today at the first Arkansas Environmental Policy Summit, to examine the state's critical ecological issues. The goal of the summit is to tackle some of the public-policy questions about the environment that are sure to come up in state regulatory commissions and the 2017 General Assembly.

Gary Moody, public affairs assistant with the Arkansas Audubon Society, said there will be plenty to talk about.

"The issue has been in the news a lot lately about the level of protection for the Buffalo National River, and those kinds of issues apply to all of our water resources," he said. "Arkansas is also writing a state water plan; and the energy side, the state Public Service Commission is considering changes to state policy on renewable energy."

Sessions will feature discussions of energy policy, water planning and climate change. One panel will provide advice for activists on how to work for change. The summit is co-sponsored by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, Arkansas Audubon Society and the Arkansas Sierra Club.

Moody added the meeting will include input from elected officials and representatives from the state Public Service Commission, Department of Environmental Quality and Natural Resource Commission.

Moody said a major goal of the summit is to allow activists and regulators to find common ground.

"We also put together one panel in the afternoon specifically of decision-makers from all levels of government," he added. "So, we've got a representative of local government, state government, a state agency and a federal office."

Moody said some other environmental organizations at the summit will be the Arkansas Watertrails Partnership, Citizens Climate Lobby and the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation. It begins at 9 a.m. at the Heifer Village in Little Rock, and is open to the public.

The summit's agenda can be read here.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AR