Monday, August 11, 2008

Comment Period on Coal Fired Power Plant in Arkansas

SWEPCO has applied to build a coal fired power generating plant in Arkansas. Friends does not take a formal position on issues outside our watershed, but we do want to keep our members informed, so I'm passing on this information.


The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will hold a second public hearing at Hope September 18, 2008, to receive comments on a proposal by American Electric Power Service Corporation (AEP) for a coal-fired electric power plant in Hempstead County. The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Library Auditorium at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, 2500 South Main Street. In addition to comments received at the hearing, written comments on the proposal will be accepted until September 23, 2008.

ADEQ previously opened a public comment period on a draft air emissions permit for the facility, which included a public hearing at Hope July 12, 2007. The original version of the draft permit was based on implementation of a provision in federal air quality regulations known as the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR); however the CAMR was vacated by a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia earlier this year. As a result of that ruling, the proposed AEP facility is now required to comply with another provision of federal regulations dealing with controls for Hazardous Air Pollutants (commonly referred to as a 112(g) permit). AEP submitted an application to incorporate the 112(g) permit requirements into the original draft permit, and only comments on the revised portions of the draft permit will be considered by the ADEQ during its remaining review process involving the permit application.

AEP proposes to construct a new coal-fired electric power generating facility near Fulton in Hempstead County, designated as the John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant .The main steam generating unit will consist of one ultra-supercritical pulverized coal boiler fueled by sub-bituminous coal and natural gas which will power a single steam turbine designed for base load operation with a nominal net power output of 600 megawatts.

The ADEQ technical staff has reviewed the revised application and tentatively decided to incorporate the revisions into the draft permit for the proposed power plant, subject to review of public comments received at next month’s hearing and prior to the September 23, 2008, comment deadline. In addition to new comments relating to the revised portions of the permit application (the 112 (g) permit provisions), all comments made during the original public comment period last year will be considered by the ADEQ before a final permit decision is made. Persons who comment during both of the designated comment periods for the draft permit establish legal standing to appeal any final ADEQ permit decision.

Both oral and written comments will be accepted at the public hearing, but written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy. Written comments also will be accepted if received by 4:30 p.m. September 23, 2008. Written comments should be sent to: ADEQ Air Permits Branch, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118. Electronic mail comments may be sent to

Interested persons wishing to examine the permit application and staff findings and recommendations should contact the ADEQ Air Permits Branch at the above address during normal business hours. Technical information on the draft permit is available by contacting Thomas Rheaume, Engineer, in the ADEQ Air Permits Branch; telephone 501-682-0744.

A copy of the draft permit and application is available for inspection during normal business hours at the Hempstead County Public Library, 500 South Elm Street, in Hope. Copies of the draft permit and permit application are also available at the ADEQ’s North Little Rock office. A fee may be charged for photocopying costs. The documents also are available on the ADEQ’s Internet web site at:

Here are some "talking points" prepared by the Sierra Club.

*SWEPCO’s proposed coal-fired power plant will emit 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into our air each year, greatly contributing to global warming

*SWEPCO’S plant will also emit almost 400 pounds of poisonous mercury into our air and water each year, endangering our environmental and public health

*While Arkansas will get 100% of the pollution from this plant, 85% of the power goes to out-of-state customers in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana

*SWEPCO’S plant (after construction) will only employ 100 people, most of whom will come from out-of-state

Lee Creek Cleanup September 6th

The first ever Keep Arkansas Beautiful: Lee Creek Cleanup is Saturday, Sept. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cleanup will span from Devil?s Den State Park to the Natural Dam Park. Cleanup from Devil?s Den to the old Silver Bridge on Highway 220 will be cleaned up by teams on foot, horseback, canoe and vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles. Northwest Chapter members of the Arkansas Canoe Club (ACC) will focus on the area from Devils Den to the Silver Bridge at Hwy 220. Members of the River Valley Chapter of the ACC and local landowners will clean the lower portion of the river and will have check in headquarters located at Natural Dam Park. Other chapters of the ACC will also help in the effort by attending where they feel they will be most useful. The USFS will have a check in station at the Silver Bridge area of Hwy 220. The main Headquarters for this event will be located at the Day Use Horse Parking Area at the west end of the Devils Den State park just off of Highway 220.

The purpose of this cleanup is for swimmers, whitewater paddlers, bass-anglers, nature enthusiasts, landowners and concerned citizens to take part in keeping a designated Extraordinary Resource Water (ERW) in condition for the designated uses currently listed for the river. Citizens of Northwest Arkansas, the River Valley and tourists rely on Lee Creek for many recreational uses throughout the year. This is why so many people are going to be participating in the cleanup effort to take care of one of their favorite water resources.
The Keep Arkansas Beautiful: Lee Creek Cleanup is one of many kick-off events for the Great Arkansas Cleanup and will be a great activity for adults and children. Several youth clubs, civic and business organizations, private landowners and other individuals will take part in cleanup events across state as part of the Great Arkansas Cleanup campaign between Sept.1 and Nov. 30.
Organizers for the Sept. 6 event include the Washington County Cooperative Extension Service, Washington County Environmental Affairs Office, Washington County Conservation District, Devils Den State Park, United States Forest Service and the Arkansas Canoe Club. Sponsors for the event are: the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, Sam?s Club, Waste Management, Pack Rat Outdoor Center, Uncle Sam?s Safari Outfitters, Lewis & Clark Outfitters, Southtown Sporting Goods 2, Arkansas Canoe Club, Audubon Arkansas, Arvest Bank, the Ozark Society and the Arkansas Game and Fish Stream Team.
Cleanup volunteers will be treated to many thanks, free food and refreshments, as well as some fantastic door prizes.
The cleanup schedule includes volunteer check-in and cleanup from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; lunch from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and door prize giveaways from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Contact Debbie Doss for more information.