... for environmental groups at the Capitol today. Arkansas Citizens First Congress, a coalition of over 40 groups from across the state, held a press conference to announce the filing of a series of bills that would implement the recommendations of the Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming. Rep. Steve Harrelson said the bills, which have not been filed yet, will likely draw a good deal of opposition. One of the bills, to be filed by Rep. Joan Cash, D-Jonesboro, would require the Arkansas Public Service Commission to expand existing energy efficiency programs carried out by utility companies. Roy Ragland, R-Dark Ages, has a bill that would do the exact opposite.
Five of the bills from the "Energy Efficiency Package" should be filed by the end of the day. They include a bill to: make public facilities more energy efficient, provide low-cost financing to retrofit schools and government buildings and reauthorize the legislative task force on sustainable building design and practices. Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, said the bills would put Arkansas at the forefront of renewable energy, energy efficiency and job creation. She said funding for the various programs would likely be affected by the availability of federal stimulus money, but would not depend on it. She also said she hoped to have the support of the energy industry although to our knowledge there were no representatives from utility companies present at the press conference.