Roundup of Arkansas editorials

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 16, 2014 at 8:01 am •  Published: September 16, 2014

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Texarkana Gazette, Sept. 14, 2014

Too much, too soon

Most of us want clean air, free of pollution.

Most of us want our power affordable.

Those two desires often prove to be in conflict, and they currently are at odds.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the arm of government that makes rules governing our actions in this arena, is trying to impose new restrictions on power companies that would cut carbon dioxide emission 30 percent by 2020.

The goal is worthy. However, the speed at which the EPA wants this enacted is a bit unwieldy for those who are being asked to implement this level of change. American Electric Power, parent company to regional power provider Southwestern Electric Power Co., for one, thinks the EPA's plan is unreasonable and even potentially crippling to its ability to control costs and provide uninterrupted service. They are not alone in this thinking.

U.S. senators from Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas all view the EPA's rush to action as rather rash.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., has joined 52 other senators asking the EPA for a 60-day extension on the comment period. The EPA had earlier granted a 120-day extension. Arkansas' other senator, Democrat Mark Pryor, is also on board.

The letter, in part, reads: "States and stakeholders must have time to fully analyze and assess the sweeping impacts that the proposal will have on our nation's energy system, including dispatch of generation and end-use energy-efficiency."

Boozman chimed in, "The EPA plan will drive up the price of electricity, send jobs overseas and lead to the construction of foreign factories . which will emit far more carbon dioxide and pollution into the global atmosphere."

We too think the EPA is moving too quickly on this front and needs to allow more time for comment from the industry and for input on some bad assumptions they are working under.

Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, as you might expect, are among seven states that will feel the biggest impact when the EPA rolls this plan into service. That's because the new regulations will cause the three states to reduce emissions more than the 30 percent overall rate. Arkansas is slated for 45 percent reductions, Louisiana 40 percent and Texas 39 percent. Those numbers can't be reached without shutting down coal-fired plants. And building new plants, probably natural gas, which create power at about twice the cost.

That's the poorly hidden agenda the EPA aspires to put in place. (It may not even be possible to get new plants through the regulatory process in six years.)

So we may all breathe easier one day, but there will be a cost to get there — one we will all share.

And not only will some of the changes drive up the cost of energy, which is getting more and more stifling to residential users and particularly the poor, but it also could cripple severely a power company's ability to keep its customers receiving power without interruption.

This has been a mild summer. But some parts of the country are not far removed from the blackouts and rolling blackouts of hotter, drier years.

No, six years may sound like a long time to some people, but six years is a very short time to put the EPA's grand, complicated plan in place. While we expect power companies to always find reasons to drag their feet and try to avoid these types of regulatory requirements, in this case, we are sympathetic to their cries for relief.

We think this conversation should not be cut short. Further, we believe that power companies should get credit for some impressive gains they have already made over the last seven years. Emissions may have gone up because of American's increasing thirst for power, but in most places, power companies are making great strides in reducing these emissions at individual plants.

While consumers are price-sensitive, a majority of them have clearly said they want these reductions.

They should. Old and inefficient coal-fired plans are being phased out and should be. But let's not make this more painful than need be to either the consumers or companies.

While reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent is a worthy goal, America didn't get to where it is today overnight, and its power providers shouldn't be expected to make this turnaround on a dime. Slamming on the brakes could create unexpected consequences, as well as many expected ones that are decidedly negative.

Slow and steady should be the approach.


Log Cabin Democrat, Sept. 13, 2014

City should be proud of A.J. Gary

We spoke recently in this space about the recent problems in Jonesboro. We spoke of the police chief there — now former police chief — and his lack of professionalism when dealing with the newspaper there, and in particular, the police reporter.

Well, enough of that. We aren't here to discuss the problems in other places. We are here to praise our own city and our own police chief.

A.J. Gary, who has headed up the Conway Police Department for the past seven years, was recently awarded the distinction of the top police chief in Arkansas by his peers at the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police. Who better to determine what a good job Gary has done in Conway other than those fellow chiefs? Well, maybe the citizens of Conway.

While we could always find someone who could manage to come up with a beef with the Conway Police Department, they have been few and far between. The extremely high majority of those asked about Gary's work in the department has resulted in nothing but praise.

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