Panel Statement on the Clean Power Plan Stakeholder Process
We support the emission reduction goals set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and believe it is vital for Arkansas to continue planning for a cleaner future. Emissions reductions will deliver clear health, economic and environmental benefits to Arkansans. Arkansas has been a leader in the Southeast on energy policies and we urge energy leaders and decisionmakers to continue developing the best path forward to meet and surpass the carbon reduction goals set in the CPP.
On February 9th, 2016 the Supreme Court put a temporary stay on implementation of the Clean Power Plan. This stay is not a ruling on the legal merits nor does it overturn the Clean Power Plan. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Public Service Commission (the Agencies) have been leading the Southeast on engaging stakeholders to chart the best compliance path for our state. In light of the stay the Agencies have put the stakeholder meetings on hold. We believe it is critical for the Agencies to continue to engage with all stakeholders. It is uncertain how long it will take for the legal process to unfold and a final decision on the legal merits of the CPP be reached. We are confident in the legal merits of the CPP but with or without the CPP it is critical for Arkansas to continue advancing our energy system away from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy.
Seventy-two percent of Arkansas voters think that it is a good idea to replace coal-fired power plant with more natural gas power plants, energy efficiency and renewable energy (source). Transitioning our energy system away from fossil fuels is already occurring, but good planning and policies are necessary to fully reap the economic and environmental benefits of a clean energy economy.
Just last year Arkansas Electric Cooperatives and Energy Arkansas began building solar energy generating facilities, the first commercial sized solar energy facility in the state came online, ground was broken on a community solar garden and Entergy Arkansas announced retirement of its oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plant at White Bluff.
Arkansans are known innovators and forward thinkers and we don’t need to wait for the EPA to require us to reduce carbon emissions. We must continue planning and implementing energy policies that encourage energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon reduction to strengthen our energy system and economy, and protect our citizens and environment. We will continue to engage the Agencies, decision makers and public to achieve the best environmental and energy policies for the Natural State.