by Max Brantley
SIERRA CLUB NEWS RELEASE
Redfield, AR – Concerned Arkansas ratepayers, health experts and area residents packed the American Legion on Tuesday evening where the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) held a public hearing on the future of Entergy’s White Bluff coal-fired plant. If ADEQ approves Entergy’s proposal, ratepayers will be charged over one billion dollars to extend the plant’s life.
Glen Hooks, Regional Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign said that, “We should not hit Arkansas ratepayers with a Billion dollar rate increase so that Entergy can continue polluting our air by burning dirty coal. It makes more sense to save that money and to switch to cleaner sources of energy. Dirty Coal is a bad investment for Arkansas citizens.”
Tracy Sykes, a concerned ratepayer from Little Rock, voiced her opposition to the company’s air permit request, stating that, “The White Bluff plant has served us well for a long time. It now is the time for Entergy to seize the opportunity to be a leader in clean energy solutions that will be good for Arkansas.”
The public hearing provided the only forum for citizens to speak face-to-face with ADEQ officials who are reviewing Entergy’s permit request and will either approve or deny it. Concerned citizens can send their written comments into ADEQ until November 24th.
Ann Owen, who serves as the Chair of the Second Presbyterian Church’s Environmental Stewardship Task Force and is on the Steering Committee of Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light noted that, “The waste from White Bluff will continue to contaminate our groundwater, and because the air permit does nothing to reduce mercury emissions, our Natural State runs the risk of continuing to be one of the ‘dirty dozen’ states when it comes to mercury pollution.”
Dozens of Sierra Club members attended the hearing to voice their message that shelling out one billion dollars of ratepayer money to keep a dirty coal plant operating is not in the best interest of Arkansas’ citizens.
Scharmel Roussel of Arkansas Interfaith Power & Light commented that, “I am opposed to Entergy Arkansas wasting $1 billion on outdated technology for a dirty coal plant that should be closed. The expense will be passed on to consumers like me. It is time for Arkansas to invest in clean renewable energy resources for the sakes of our great-great-grandchildren. We have the technology. We need the willpower.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT THE SIERRA CLUB’S ARKANSAS BEYOND COAL WEBSITE AT WWW.SIERRACLUB.ORG/COAL/AR or call Lev
Guter, Sierra Club coal organizer, at (501) 301-8280.