Arkansas needs to take responsibility
Recently, two Arkansas legislative committees approved a resolution opposing the proposed EPA carbon pollution standards (the Clean Power Plan), which requires states to develop and implement plans to reduce carbon emissions. I appreciate the Aug. 12 Arkansas Blog post by Benjamin Hardy, which presents facts about the EPA rule proposed in June, and suggests that the committees' resolution was a political stunt. A subsequent blog post by Hardy reported that a leading energy efficiency expert praised Arkansas efforts to develop a state implementation plan to curb carbon emissions.
Sadly, these Arkansas legislators prefer to avoid their responsibility to protect our health and environment, and have joined the fossil fuel industry, which is choosing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to derail the EPA's proposed standards. The naysayers tell us we have to continue depending on fossil fuels or it will cost jobs and hurt the economy. But ongoing reliance on fossil fuels will be extremely costly — carbon pollution and other emissions will continue to harm our health, accelerate climate change and keep America from benefiting by being a leader in the global clean energy economy.
A strong Clean Power Plan will increase renewable energy generation, create an estimated 2,200 efficiency-related jobs in Arkansas, save Arkansas household customers $57 million a year on electricity bills, and reduce state carbon emissions by 1.9 million tons by 2020 (ICF International Inc. 2014 analysis). I hope that Arkansas continues to be a leader in state implementation of the Clean Power Plan.
The costs of doing nothing are too high. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to not be passive spectators. Tell your legislators to promote renewable energy and limit damage to our health and our planet from fossil fuels. Let the EPA know you support stronger limits on CO2 pollution (comment at www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards). Join Arkansas Climate Advocates (climateadvocates.net). Shifting to a safer, more responsible clean energy economy is the most important challenge of our time — if we work on this together, we can save the Earth.
Rick Owen Little Rock
Bravo on the bus
My wife, Nancy, and I had a wonderful time Friday taking the Arkansas Times bus to the Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro. Tiffany Holland and the staff of the Arkansas Times made the trip very pleasant. They were friendly, accommodating and provided excellent service. Amy Garland was wonderful with her music en route to Jonesboro. Most everybody on the bus joined her in singing songs that we have learned over many years. The more beverages that were consumed, the better the singing — well, the louder the signing. The restaurant at Jonesboro, Godsey's, served an excellent meal and the waiters were superb. They served approximately a hundred meals within a few minutes of our arrival. The entertainers for the evening, Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn and Bobby Bare were first-class. It was obvious that the packed house (10,000) thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Thank you so very much for providing quality entertainment for Arkansas.
ACA an important corrective
I don't often agree with Ernie Dumas' take, but he is right on the money with his article about the Affordable Care Act ("Cotton's 'some folks': Obamacare helps 230,000 Arkansans"). As someone who has worked for insurance companies, (Gallagher Benefits, Humana Military Health Services) as a benefits coordinator for a hospital and a manufacturing plant and, most recently, in a specialty medical clinic with the primary duties of "extracting" payment from insurance companies, I agree 100 percent that, however flawed, this act has improved the lives of thousands. While at the clinic, I saw too many patients who couldn't even afford to stay warm in winter, much less pay the hundreds and thousands owed from visits, tests and surgeries, so they either did not get the services at all, or went into serious debt from which payment was seldom received. On the flip side, it — no exaggeration — took me six months to a year to convince an insurance company to pay for procedures. This is, sadly, a common occurrence. As a final insult, the largest insurance companies have call centers overseas. Although many of those employees are well trained and most are courteous, one often falls into menu hell when trying to reach someone who can actually address and solve your particular issue.
I suspect the well-funded hue and cry that current advertisements present as being from "the people" to get rid of Obamacare are from insurance groups that don't want to quit making hundreds of millions. If this act is repealed, then shame on the politicians who sold out!
Pat Gleghorn Corning
From the web in response to Max Brantley's Aug. 14 column, "Little Rock: Where the gold rules and just about everybody is connected" on the Little Rock Board of Directors' decision to allow a Murphy Oil gas station to be built on University Avenue despite opposition from city planning staff and neighborhood groups:
You don't appreciate the terms "property value" and "helpless" until the City Board makes zoning changes out of the blue like this near you, your largest asset, your home, where you live and your children sleep.
West Little Rock did not fund the city services that allowed the growth; the board at that time gave that honor to the suckers as well.