I think I indicated yesterday that the bullying polluters who control the state's so-called Pollution Control and Ecology Commission weren't likely to side with precedent or clean air in deciding to stay construction of the coal-fired SWEPCO power plant while an appeal of its air permit continues. The rest of the U.S, even Kansas,. is wary of more poison-spewing coal burners, but not Arkansas.
The stay of construction was lifted after only nominal consideration of the argument in favor of a stay. Expect more of this from the Beebe-era PC&E and PSC. The foxes are running the henhouse.
The Sierra Club responds to the SWEPCO charade that preceded this decision.
“The Commission today, with only a few days notice, sided with dirty coal against the health of Arkansas’ environment and citizens. Instead of waiting for the appeal process to first be properly explored, the Commission is allowing SWEPCO to construct the Turk plant while our appeal is pending.
This action was scripted and theatrical. Essentially, SWEPCO sought relief from an economic harm that it created for itself. SWEPCO knew we would appeal the air permit and that construction would be automatically stayed by law. Nevertheless, they chose to hire a team and begin construction, then complain vehemently about how much it would cost if the construction was stopped.
The bottom line from today’s decision: the appeal continues, despite the lifting of the stay. SWEPCO is engaging in incredibly risky behavior by continuing construction. Court decisions, states, Congress, and the new administration are all lining up against dirty coal. The Turk plant, and dirty coal in general, is an incredibly risky investment. Investors in the Turk plant should be very alarmed by the way the tide is turning.”