A cloud over South Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A cloud over South Arkansas

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2009 at 8:21 AM

You think coal is "clean"? Try lignite. This soft brown coal is generally best used at its source for power plants (its value argues against transportation) and with even worse environmental results than the polluting plants that burn black coal.

Why should you care? Because Arkansas sits on a substantial amount of lignite. And because South Arkansas legislators are preparing to press the Beebe administration to start exploiting it. (The link is to a proposed letter for which Rep. Allen Maxwell is lining up other legislative support. See jump.)

(Louie, you think Howard County is downwind from Calhoun County?)

UPDATE: Delicious timing. The Pew Trust will join Gov. Mike Beebe tomorrow for an attaboy report on the growth in Arkansas of "green economy" jobs. Good time to ask the guv about burning some lignite.

AND ALSO: Report today says nothing is going to be done about greenhouse gas emissions unless something is done about coal-burning power plants.


Dear Fellow Legislators:

For the past year and a half, I have been working on issues related to the development of the Arkansas lignite formation.  As you may be aware, south Arkansas has nine billion tons of unexplored, undeveloped lignite.  Act 641 of 2007 called for the development of the Arkansas lignite formation, and created the Lignite Research Center at Southern Arkansas University.  Unfortunately, since that time, virtually no funding has been allocated for this worthy endeavor.

Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi all have lignite formations like the one found in south Arkansas.  Unlike our state, however, they have developed this resource and now reap tremendous economic reward.  In my opinion, it is time for Arkansas to move forward, develop our lignite and ultimately create a bigger economy for south Arkansas and our state.

The attached letter will be sent to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and a copy will be forwarded to the Governor.  This letter has been reviewed by the south Arkansas legislators and received their overwhelming approval.  Given the potential economic benefit of this resource for south Arkansas and our state, it is my hope that you will show your support by agreeing to sign on to the letter.  If you are interested in being a co-signer, please let Amber Mooney (contact information above) know as soon as possible.  Upon confirmation of your approval, your signature will be added to the letter.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I appreciate your prompt response and look forward to hearing from you.


Allen Maxwell
State Representative
District 10


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