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Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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EPA Completes Regional Haze Plan for Arkansas Parks

The Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area is among the public lands to be protected from air pollution by the EPA’s Arkansas Regional Haze Plan. (National Park Service)
The Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area is among the public lands to be protected from air pollution by the EPA’s Arkansas Regional Haze Plan. (National Park Service)
September 6, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It took a lawsuit by an environmental group to get it done, but the Environmental Protection Agency has finally released clean air regulations for public lands in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Regional Haze Plan is designed to clear the air pollution in the Caney Creek and Upper Buffalo Wilderness areas caused by emissions from a pair of coal fired power plants.

Glen Hooks, director of the Sierra Club of Arkansas, says the plan will force the utility Entergy to cut pollution at its generating plants.

"It focuses largely on power plants that are the cause of some of this haze pollution,” Hooks explains. “Two of those are the biggest and oldest, dirtiest plants in Arkansas – coal plants called White Bluffs and Independence. This plan is going to require those plants to install modern pollution control equipment."

Hooks says the Sierra Club filed suit in federal court after both Arkansas and the EPA missed 2012 deadlines to produce a plan. The new regulations were released last week.

Arkansas state officials, including Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, are calling the EPA plan "an overreach" and say they are prepared to block it in court.

The new rules will require Entergy to reduce sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions at the two power plants and some other facilities.

Hooks says Entergy's options come down to how much it wants to spend to fix the problem.

"They've got a decision to make about whether or not they're actually going to install this pollution control equipment – it's estimated to cost a little more than $1 billion for each of the plants – or transition these plants toward retirement and use that money for cleaner sources of energy," he states.

The haze reduction plan does not set a deadline for Entergy to comply. The plan is also designed to reduce haze pollution in the Mark Twain National Forest and Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri.



Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AR