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New evidence arises from the first impeachment hearing; one in four federal student loan borrowers defaults early on; and growing proof that vaping isn't the healthy alternative it was thought to be.

2020Talks - November 14, 2019 


It's World Diabetes Day, and health care, including the high cost of insulin and other drugs, is a top issue for many voters. Plus, do early states like Iowa and New Hampshire have an outsized role in the nomination process?

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Climate Action Plan = Backdoor Taxes, or Jobs for AR?

Walmart is installing solar power generating systems in several locations in California and Arizona. The majority of these sites will utilize thin film panels as seen on this Mountain View, Calif. store.  Image courtesy of Walmart
Walmart is installing solar power generating systems in several locations in California and Arizona. The majority of these sites will utilize thin film panels as seen on this Mountain View, Calif. store. Image courtesy of Walmart
June 27, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - It isn't often that the Sierra Club and Walmart are on the same side of an environmental issue, but that is the case with President Obama's announcement to step up the nation's fight against carbon pollution and address climate change. Some Arkansas congressmen who disagree with the President said the climate change action plan is a way of stalling the Keystone XL pipeline and "attacking hard-working families" with higher energy costs.

However, says Glen Hooks, Arkansas senior representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, if politics are put aside, the plan has job-producing potential that should not be overlooked.

"We're kind of uniquely situated with our population to really do a lot of the jobs that would be part of the clean energy revolution," Hooks said. "These are manufacturing jobs, installation jobs for energy efficiency. This is going to lead to thousands of good-paying jobs, right here in Arkansas."

He cites nearly 2,000 jobs already related to wind power in the state as a start, and predicts that bypassing Congress with the President's executive order should fast-track coal-plant air cleanups, new energy-efficiency standards and more wind and solar development on public land.

Hooks points out that a 2007 Supreme Court decision determined that carbon dioxide was a pollutant, and the government has been debating how to reduce it since then. In Arkansas, with three coal-fired power plants more than 30 years old, he says many acknowledge there is room for newer, cleaner technology.

"This is not a typical 'liberal versus conservative' issue," he stressed. "You've got everyone from the Sierra Club to Walmart saying this makes good sense - to have an energy policy that's cleaner, that helps create jobs and helps us get off dirty energy. The momentum is at our back, and we're going to see it through."

In his speech, Obama mentioned Walmart as a leader in energy efficiency. Walmart CEO Mike Duke said the company now has more than 300 renewable energy projects either online or in development.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to have the new carbon standards ready for public comment by this fall. The administration's climate action plan is available at www.whitehouse.gov.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - AR