The laughingly named state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission today slam-dunked the effort by conservation groups to get carbon dioxide defined as a contaminant. The U.S. Supreme Court thinks that's a reasonable proposition, and they're not exactly liberals.
Randy Young of the laughingly named Arkansas Natural Resources Commission dropped a pollution lobby-crafted order on the commission which then duly approved it. The commission didn't even bother to give the conservation groups' proposed rule change a formal vote.
It was just more of the same. This agency has never been about anything but protecting polluters to the extent possible.
What crazy weekly newspaper was it that quoted somebody as saying Gov. Mike Beebe was good on environmental issues? His office's silence on this issue was deafening. Neither he nor his staff talked to any of the commissioners, many of them gubernatorial appointees, about the issue. Commissioners with conflicts of interest not only voted, but aggressively participated in the debate (see Tom Schueck).
UPDATE: Yes, I'm reminded by someone with a better memory, the governor has been the recipient of a free jet ride from industrialist Schueck. Schueck and family also gave $9,000 to the Beebe campaign in 2006 and $41,000 to the Arkansas Democratic Party. You think he could get in to see the guv? Also, Schueck is an investor with Jay DeHaven in that Lake Maumelle watershed grass farm land that they hope to flip into a huge profit at ratepayers' expense with the help of wobbly water commissioners and others.
This same "Pollution Control" group will "deliberate" and vote soon on that poison-spewing coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County, too. Randy Young can give you the vote now. He probably has the order already drafted.
NOTE FROM KEN SMITH OF ARKANSAS AUDUBON TO HIS SUPPORTERS
To Audubon Family and Conservation Allies,
The AR Pollution Control and Ecology Commission accepted a request from the Arkansas Environmental Federation (AEF) to deny Audubon, Sierra Club, and Environmental Integrity Project’s request to start rulemaking to strike carbon dioxide from a short list of exempt elements and compounds because of its contribution to greenhouse gases and global warming. The AEF is an organization of companies and individuals subject to state and federal regulations and hold permits from the state. Had the rulemaking request been approved by the Commission, public meetings and comments would have taken place to resolve problems and issues with the rulemaking request.
Needless to say, I am disappointed. In the coming days, we will examine the Commission’s minute order prepared by AEF to determine whether we should attempt again to initiate a 3rd Party Rulemaking Request.
Today’s decision and the questions asked by the PC&E Commissioners reminds me of how difficult it has been and is to move Arkansas forward. Audubon, Sierra Club, and the Conservation Community as a whole may take a “black eye” over today’s PC&E decision and suffer a lost of prestige because of it. For that I am sorry. But I know that unless we make decisions now about reducing carbon emissions, we will have put at risk our children and grandchildren’s future and the life that inhabits this planet.
I want to thank each of you for phone calls, letters, or words of encouragement made toward today’s endeavor.