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State teacher fund to vote on steel-mill investment

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 4, 2013 at 7:06 a.m.

— Trustees of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System are to vote on a proposal to invest $60 million in a steel mill that is planned in Osceola.

System Director George Hopkins says his staff and a consultant spent six months researching the project before Monday’s expected vote. Hopkins says the project appears sound and could generate a 40 percent return for the fund within five years.

The $60 million investment, if it happens, represents about one-half of 1 percent of the fund’s $12.25 billion balance.

Gov. Mike Beebe announced the $1 billion Big River Steel mill last week. The project needs the Legislature to sign off on a $125 million loan.

The Teacher Retirement System investment is contingent on the loan being approved and regulatory hurdles being cleared.

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Populist says... February 4, 2013 at 8:05 a.m.

If it is going to generate a 40% return, why can't the project obtain all the funds from private sources? Business people would love a 40% rate of return.

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Populist says... February 4, 2013 at 8:16 a.m.

Notice how they are hurrying this project through in a hurry? They don't want the teachers to have time to object to their pension funds being donated to a Koch brothers pollution project. Now, all the good science teachers in Arkansas can explain to their students why their pension funds are helping to fund the demise of the Mississippi River.

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Populist says... February 4, 2013 at 9:24 a.m.

It was clever to get the teachers retirement fund to vote on this first. (Of course, their "consultant" for the $60 million investment is Delta Trust, a local bank.) The legislators can rubber stamp this loan to the Kochs, arguing that they are supporting teachers and jobs. This is how corruption and the pollution industry works. Oh, the poor Mississippi River!

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outinthesticks says... February 4, 2013 at 11:10 a.m.

Populist, I just don't get you. I thought this would be right down your alley, with GOVERNMENT being involved every step of the way. And isn't this what the bureaucratic EPA and PC&E are for, to make sure nothing gets polluted? I don't hear these kinds of complaints about Nucor. Methinks you are just offended by the fact that a right-leaning group is behind this, so there has to be something wrong with it. Perhaps you should ask these questions to Guv Mike and the rest of GOVERNMENT, because without them, to quote your current hero, "You didn't build that!"

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PatWaverly says... February 4, 2013 at 11:25 a.m.

Yea Pop, come on. If you recall the Photo Op it was the last Great Democrat Standing, ole Mike Beebe himself, there on the podium and doing the grip and grin. You thinking maybe he is in the Koch's pocket too?

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HotSpringsLawyer says... February 4, 2013 at 11:31 a.m.

Studying it for six months and now they need to rush through the approval??

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outinthesticks says... February 4, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.

So inquire, you'd rather ship these jobs off to China or somewhere else? I am as against polluting the environment more than most people. I make my living from the land. But I am realistic enough to know this world is not a perfect utopia, and if someone here doesn't doesn't make steel, someone somewhere else will, probably with a lot more pollution and environmental destruction. And that is without taking into account the way workers might be treated. If EPA and PC&E can't do their jobs, then why do we waste the effort and money?

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PatWaverly says... February 4, 2013 at 12:23 p.m.

So our very own governor, Mike Beebe, is endorsing, no celebrating, the pollution and raping of the land and stream? Come on Inquire, Pop and HotSprings, get after him. What are you waiting for?

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outinthesticks says... February 4, 2013 at 2:02 p.m.

Exactly my sentiments, PatW. Why is he behind this project?

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Populist says... February 4, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.

Pat w,

That is exactly what we are doing. It is one thing to support a steel mill with partners with good reputations. Asking the public to FUND the worst polluters in the nation without even a thought or a discussion as to the environmental impact of the project? There is a reason why they want to rush this thing through. I suspect that any Republican or Democrat who votes for this thing will eventually regret their decision. Those lawmakers who let themselves worship at the alter of the Kochs better beware. When you sell your soul to the devil, you probably get burned.

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