Welcome to the Arkansas Chapter of
the Sierra Club
Donate to the Arkansas Chapter>
EPA's plan, good for Arkansas
by Glen Hooks | October 09, 2014 - Arkansas Times
Last summer, my teenage sons and I took a two-week "Hooks Man Road Trip" from Arkansas to San Francisco and back. We had a tremendous adventure and created what I hope will be lasting family memories.
One of those memories has really stuck with me: the fact that we saw wind power being generated in every single state we drove through —Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. Every state, that is, but Arkansas. To a lifelong Arkansan like me, that's troubling
Unlike states in our region and across the country, our home state of Arkansas does not generate a single megawatt of electricity from wind or solar power. We in Arkansas get our electricity primarily from burning dirty coal, and the rest from gas, nuclear and a small amount from hydroelectric dams. Coal is the single dirtiest fuel source available, and our small state is home to five coal-burning power plants — three of which are more than 30 years old.
It is settled fact that burning coal to generate electricity dramatically worsens the health of Arkansans and damages our state's environment. We know that burning coal releases millions of tons of carbon into our atmosphere, plus mercury and other deadly air pollutants into our air, water and bodies. What's less well known is the tremendous negative economic impact caused by relying on coal. Each year, our Arkansas utilities send nearly $700 million out of state to buy coal from Wyoming, which is then sent here by train and burned in our state's power plants. That's a great deal for the folks in Wyoming — but not so great for us here in Arkansas. Wyoming gets to keep our money, and we get to keep all the pollution generated by burning dirty coal.
The good news: For the first time in our nation's history, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The EPA's Clean Power Plan aims to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent nationwide — and by 44 percent in coal-heavy Arkansas. Our state regulators, environmental groups, utilities and others are currently meeting to hash out the smartest way for Arkansas to meet its Clean Power Plan goals.
The Clean Power Plan presents a tremendous opportunity for our state to jump-start the Arkansas economy. This opportunity should be embraced — if our state's leaders draft a plan that moves us away from dirty coal and toward cleaner sources of energy, all while implementing an aggressive energy efficiency program, we can meet our goals while creating thousands of good-paying jobs for Arkansans. I'm talking about jobs manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines, or installing energy-efficient water heaters, or retrofitting homes and businesses so that consumers save energy. These are good jobs that can be done by an Arkansas workforce that needs it.
Predictably, some leaders from our utilities and industry are predicting catastrophe and claiming that the sky will fall if the Clean Power Plan is finalized. We should always remember that these folks have a long history of opposing each and every environmental rule — with wildly overblown claims of economic disaster that have proven to be wrong over and over again. If we'd listened to these naysayers in the past, there would have never been a Clean Air Act, there would never have been a Clean Water Act, and we'd still have acid rain. These entities have a strong economic interest in keeping things the way they are. The rest of us have a stronger interest in a cleaner, healthier power system for our state.
The EPA is accepting public comments on the Clean Power Plan between now and Dec. 1. I hope you will join us in supporting this important step forward. To send in your comment, go to arkansas.sierraclub.org.
My sons will soon be men, and maybe someday will have children of their own. I'm looking forward to taking another road trip then, with my children and their children, and proudly pointing out evidence that our home, Arkansas, has embraced a clean energy path forward. We can do it. It just takes the political will and the vision to do so.
Glen Hooks is director of the Sierra Club of Arkansas. Max Brantley is on vacation.
SUPPORT EPA'S CLEAN POWER PLAN
Submit your comments HERE
- before December 1 deadline
9/18/14 - For the first time in our nation's history, EPA has proposed to limit the amount of carbon dioxide emissions coming from dirty power plants. This is a big deal.
Arkansas is set to reduce it's CO2 emissions by 44%. If we do it right--with an emphasis on moving away from dirty coal, ramping up renewable energy and focusing on energy efficiency--we can create thousands of jobs for Arkansans while also improving our environmental and public health.
Tell EPA that you support clean energy here in Arkansas! We need your voice to help push this rule over the finish line. THANK YOU.
From: Sierra Club - Arkansas Chapter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, August 29, 2014
Dear Arkansas Sierrans and Friends:
All across the country, the clean energy revolution is becoming a reality. States and utilities are adding thousands of megawatts of wind and solar energy to provide power, all the while ditching old, dirty coal-fired power that kills our communities. It's happening nearly everywhere.
Everywhere, that is, except for Arkansas. Will you help us change that?
Arkansas is one of the few states in the entire country that doesn't produce a single megawatt of power from solar or wind. Our small state of less than 3 million people is home to five dirty coal-fired power plants, three of which are more than thirty years old. These plants contribute mightily to climate disruption, all the while spewing toxic air pollutants that damage our health and our environment.
The good news: we now have a chance to change this. For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect our states from the dangers of carbon pollution from power plants. The EPA's proposed "Clean Power Plan" will require Arkansas to sharply reduce her carbon dioxide emissions--85% of which come from our state's coal-fired power plants.
Right now, Sierra Club is working hard to support the proposed rule against fierce opposition from coal-burning utility polluters. Just this week, we have been in meetings with utilities and regulators making the case for moving from dirty coal to clean energy. At the bottom of this email, I've pasted several links from today's news. I hope you'll take a look and be proud that you, as a Sierra Club member, are helping us stand up for an environmental policy that makes sense.
Your Arkansas Sierra Club has been working for years to get our state to embrace clean energy and transition away from dirty coal. Finally, we have a real chance. Sierra Club is committed to increasing our commitment to wind power, solar power, and aggressive energy efficiency programs. We are fully engaged in helping to draft our state's plan to reduce carbon dioxide pollution, and--with your help--we have a strong chance to build a clean energy future for The Natural State.
Today, will you make a generous contribution to the Arkansas Sierra Club and help clean up our state's energy mix? Every dollar you donate stays right here in Arkansas to help fund progressive environmental work in our state.
Nationwide, the EPA estimates consumers across the country will see a 6 to 7 percent rate increase in their electricity costs. Byers said those rates would likely go even higher in Arkansas. But the notion of economic harm was challenged Arkansas Sierra Club’s Glen Hooks.
"It seems like whenever there's a rule that regulates power plants, the Chamber [of Commerce] tends to be against it,” he said. “I can't recall a single time the Chamber has ever supported an Environmental Protection Agency rule that would regulate power plants.
The predicted harm to industry is overblown, said Hooks.
“What I hear all the time is that the sky is going to fall, jobs are going to be lost, electricity prices are going to go through the roof and every time there's a rule that happens [those scenarios don't] happen.
Arkansas Sierra Club Director Glen Hooks told participants at Thursday's meeting that Arkansas must avoid inaction on the EPA rules. "We can best achieve the goals of the Clean Power Plan by transitioning away from the older, dirtier pieces of our coal-fired power fleet and ramping up our investment in clean energy and energy efficiency," he said. "It makes a ton of economic sense as well as being better for our public and environmental health."
Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club, said low electricity rates have not stopped Arkansas from being one of the poorest states in the country. It is also one of the unhealthiest states in the country, he said.
"I think there's a direct correlation in the way we've depended on our fossil fuels and our health," he said.
But it is important to recognize the price that Arkansans already are paying because of high carbon emissions in the state, said Al Armendariz, a senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign.
Carbon emissions causing climate change cost Americans an average of $300 per person each year for federal disaster relief for flooding and for federal crop relief when farmers are unable to grow crops, Armendariz said.
"We think when you look at dealing with climate change, the state of Arkansas is in a really good position to grow its economy, create local jobs and help the country deal with climate disaster," Armendariz said.
7/1/14 - from Glen Hooks, Chapter Director: Hi folks--one of our favorite places here in Arkansas is the Buffalo River.
Cargill has put a 6500-head swine farm right there in the BR watershed.
Easily the worst place to put a hog farm in our entire state. If you'd like
to sign a letter to Cargill asking the company to move that
monstrosity out of our Buffalo River watershed, please click on the link below
from our partners at Audubon. Thanks!
The Ozark Society and the Arkansas Public Policy Panel need your help to ban new medium and large confined swine operations in the Buffalo National River watershed.
Please provide written comments by July 1, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. to Doug Szenher, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Public Outreach and Assistance Division, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118 or by e-mail to
email@example.com ...Click here for
Building a Stronger Sierra Club: It Starts With Us
Glen Hooks, Sierra Club - Arkansas Chapter Director - June 2, 2014
One of the great things about the Sierra Club is our long, solid history of being a volunteer-driven organization. From the time that John Muir founded Sierra Club in 1892 to the present day, volunteers make up the elected leadership across the country and make decisions about our environmental campaigns. Staff takes our direction from volunteers—I’m proud to be the director of the Arkansas Sierra Club, and to work directly for our thousands of members to make Arkansas a better place.
Here in Arkansas, your Sierra Club chapter has been officially chartered since the early 1980s. Volunteer members like you have led our efforts to protect our air, our water, our forests, and our special places. Our members have terrific stories to tell. Maybe you helped to protect the Buffalo River and get it designated as our country’s first national river. Or you were part of the group standing up against clear-cutting our forests. You may have attended rallies to stop the pollution of Lake Maumelle, or testified in favor of clean energy legislation at the Capitol. Did you stand up against dirty coal pollution? I might have seen you helping community members in Mayflower stand up against ExxonMobil after last year’s tar sands oil spill. Over the years, thousands of Arkansas Sierra Club members have found countless ways to contribute to the cause and help make us the state’s most active environmental protection organization.
In 2014, your Arkansas Sierra Club continues to fight the good fight. For example, we are supporting efforts to double the state’s energy efficiency goals for utilities—ensuring that Arkansans both save energy and money while also cutting down on pollution. We are fighting back against pollution from dirty coal-fired power plants in our region that contribute to the degradation of our environment and our health. Finally, we are already beginning to prepare for the upcoming legislative session in an effort to promote solid environmental legislation and push back against bills that hurt The Natural State.
I invite you to be part of the Arkansas Sierra Club’s legacy of environmental leadership and activism. We have volunteer activities that can fit your schedule—everything from testifying before government bodies, to writing letters to the editor, to calling your elected officials, to leading hikes and float trips, to tabling for Sierra Club at festivals. We need you. Arkansas needs you. Contact your local Sierra Club group leader, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-301-8280.
Thank you for your membership, and thank you for all that you do to protect Arkansas. Let’s get to work.
Upcoming Events/Volunteer Opportunities
FIND US ON FACEBOOK:
Please check out our Facebook Groups to find out
more about upcoming Sierra Club events. Use the
links at the right to connect to our online
For donation by check, please click HERE
to support the Sierra Club's local work in Arkansas.
looking for volunteers to help us out with events
and getting the word out. We can use people with
many different sets of skills, let us know what
you can do and we'll let you know how you can
help. If you're interested in volunteering with
the Arkansas Sierra Club, please click HERE.
We look forward to hearing from you!