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McDaniel addresses Clean Air Act concerns in letter to EPA

By Ashley Nerbovig

This article was published August 4, 2014 at 3:54 p.m.


A coal train stops Monday near White Bluff power plant near Redfield.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to consider the “unique” problems Arkansas will face with the implementation of the Clean Air Act.

In a three-page letter to the EPA’s legal counselor Avi Garbow on Monday, McDaniel outlined six points he said would make it difficult for Arkansas to be in compliance with the federal government's plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

McDaniel mainly focused on the lack of time and infrastructure Arkansas has to meet the goals of the plan, which requires the state to meet a 45-percent reduction in carbon emissions by the 2030 deadline. McDaniel said it would be the sixth-highest reduction of carbon emissions in the nation and noted that Arkansas is 46th in the nation for per-capita income. With such a high reduction, McDaniel said he was concerned with how increased utility rates would affect low-income people.

McDaniel said Arkansas especially will face price spikes with the new regulations because of the quick change from coal to natural gas that the agency expects of electric companies. He said the EPA did not calculate correctly how many watts of power the Natural Gas Combined Cycle can produce, as it is currently used only as supplemental power when the coal plants cannot handle the load.

McDaniel said such a fast switch could raise utility prices anywhere from 10 to 30 percent.

Arkansas also uses a regional planning system as opposed to state electric company. This means there are two different regional transmission organizations that coordinate how energy is controlled and monitor electricity transmission grids. These two organizations must work together to figure out how to implement these new rules from the EPA. McDaniel said the two years the EPA has allotted will not be enough time to organize two different regional transmission organizations.

The renewable and energy-efficient goals set out by the EPA do not take into account the fact that Arkansas is a poor candidate for wind and hydroelectric power, according to McDaniel. The EPA requires each state to begin producing the power themselves, and McDaniel said it would be more efficient and cost effective for Arkansas to buy wind power from neighboring states.

In the letter, McDaniel requests 60 more days to comment on the plan proposal, at least another year to submit a state implementation plan, two years for the regional transmission organization plan and an extension to 2025 for the interim goal frame, which would push the final goal from 2030 to 2035.

“Compliance will be much less burdensome if the EPA allows the states a glide-path instead of a cliff,” McDaniel said.

The Obama administration at the beginning of June rolled out the new plan in an attempt to cut the carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants by 30 percent. Since then, Arkansas officials have been struggling to figure out how to meet the goals of the plan, as environmentalists and critics of the proposal have said the state will be facing more burdens than most states.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.


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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 total comments

TheBatt says... August 4, 2014 at 5 p.m.

I wonder what caused this massive change in the typically far-Left McDaniel, the politician who never saw an Obama policy he didn't love?

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Dontcallmenames says... August 4, 2014 at 5:02 p.m.

That dictator and his minions don't care about us! All they care about is whiny liberal donors that believe the global warming hoax. Speaking of, did anyone notice the low temps in New York City? Yep, gotta keep cutting those carbon emissions (Eye roll)

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mhck52 says... August 4, 2014 at 5:13 p.m.

Need any more reasons to eliminate all elected Democrats in DC?

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paladin123p06130833 says... August 4, 2014 at 5:47 p.m.

Acid rain, burning rivers, livestock grazing on poisoned grass, the result of leaded gasoline. What’s happening in the great lakes today? All because we thought that big business could be trusted. Nixon’s one redeeming virtue the EPA.

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OzarkJim says... August 4, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

It was plumb stupid to build a coal fired power plant in south west Arkansas when Arkansas has so much natural gas. But the good old Tea party guys and gals needed to line their pockets with coal dollars so here you set with a power plant that is out of date already. My Daddy was a Goldwater Democrat and told me the day I graduated from high school down in Murfreesboro that most Arkansas Republicans only think of themselves and that Arkansas will always be behind the 8 ball and be 50th in everything because they need to line their own pockets. Well it looks like he was right.

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RaylanGivens says... August 4, 2014 at 9:15 p.m.

Goldwater Democrat? Is that any relation to a Castro Conservative, Koch Green Party, or Stossel Socialist?

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RonalFos says... August 4, 2014 at 9:28 p.m.

On the news today was stories about that have been found in Siberia that were caused by methane releases. The warming climate is causing the permafrost around the world to release huge amounts of methane, which has 10 times the heat trapping power of CO2. This is going to spiral out of control all too soon if we don't do something about our CO2 emissions. You can read more at www[.]nature[.]com/news/mysterious-siberian-crater-attributed-to-methane-1.15649

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FreeSpiritMan says... August 4, 2014 at 10:37 p.m.

Ronal... When conservatives are wearing a gas mask, buying bottled water to drink, they will ask you, Ronal now what was that link you wanted us to read?

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