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United States : Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Finalizes Weak State Regional Haze Plan.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has finalized new regulations that would roll back emission standards for power plants in Arkansas. The state plan replaces strong federal standards that were issued years ago by the U.S. EPA to protect the air we breathe with a weak state plan.

Entergys White Bluff and Independence coal plants are Arkansas's biggest air polluters and emit pollution in some of the states most pristine areas including Caney Creek and the Upper Buffalo Wilderness areas in the Ouachita Mountains. Pollution from these coal plants also impact public lands across the state lines into Missouri and Tennessee.

Failing to require common sense controls on the aging White Bluff and Independence plants will ensure that the plants remain among the largest sources of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution in the nation. Communities in Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri face significant impacts to air quality from these coal plants, especially during warm weather months that bring of smog and red alert ozone days.

Simply put: ADEQs plan makes our states air quality worse, not better. The former regional haze plan in place required Arkansass oldest and dirtiest coal-burning power plants to install pollution controls that would improve air quality and visibility, said Glen Hooks, Director of the Arkansas Sierra Club. ADEQs weak replacement plan lets the polluters off the hook by requiring virtually no action. In short, our states environmental regulators have authored a plan that results in more pollution for Arkansas, not less.

ADEQs action is bad for our health and bad for our parks, said Charles McPhedran, an attorney with Earthjustice. The old rule was better on both counts. The new rule falls short.

By rolling back rules meant to clear our skies and clean up the air we breathe by reducing pollution from coal plants, ADEQ is prioritizing private interests over the health of its communities, environment and public lands. said Stephanie Kodish, Clean Air Program Director for National Parks Conservation Association. ADEQ must uphold its mission to protect the natural environment for the well-being of all Arkansans, and neighboring states and that means making clean air a priority."

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Aug 9, 2018
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