WHITE BLUFF: State loosens rules on its air pollution.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has finalized new rules that roll back standards for pollution by electric power plants and the Sierra Club says they are bad for clean air.

Coal-burning plants operated by Entergy at White Bluff and Independence are major sources of air pollution and create haze in scenic areas, such as the Caney Creek and Buffalo wilderness areas.  Said the Sierra Club release


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: ADEQ’s plan makes our state’s air quality worse, not better. The former regional haze plan in place required Arkansas’s 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. “ADEQ’s weak replacement plan lets the polluters off the hook by requiring virtually no action. In short, our state’s environmental regulators have authored a plan that results in more pollution for Arkansas, not less.”

“ADEQ’s 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.”