Favorite

Clean Line politics 

click to enlarge High voltage lines in North Dakota, similar to what Clean Line will build. - VIA WIKICOMMONS
  • Via Wikicommons
  • High voltage lines in North Dakota, similar to what Clean Line will build.

Republicans and business groups in our neighborly states of Oklahoma and Tennessee seem wildly excited about the benefits coming their way from the Clean Line transmission network that will send clean, renewable power from the windy Panhandle to hundreds of thousands of homes in Arkansas and across the Mississippi.

In Arkansas, however, their counterparts — every member of the congressional delegation and Republican state lawmakers — are terribly vexed about the project because they say it is another power grab by President Obama and an environmental threat to landowners on the route.

But it is hard not to see the lamentations as crocodile tears. Remember when all six members of the Washington delegation demanded that the president authorize Canada's giant Keystone XL pipeline, although it posed dangers to people in the Great Plains and offered little benefit to Arkansas? The state already is crisscrossed by pipelines and by transmission lines that distribute power from hydroelectric and gas-, coal- and oil-burning plants.

That, see, is the difference. Clean Line will send wind power from turbines on the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles to markets in Arkansas, Tennessee and beyond. The carbon industry, from the Koch brothers to natural gas companies, are stressed by competition from wind and solar power, now that it is national policy to reduce carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and mercury poisoning from power plants, for the health benefits and to slow climate change.

No politician can say he's doing the bidding of the oil, gas and coal industries, which supply generation fuel for much of the electricity in Arkansas and the Southeast. Instead, they're trying to halt more piracy of states' rights by the dictator Obama's Energy Department and protect landowners on the route.

Before the absurdity of the Keystone pipeline became transparent, nearly every Republican politician in the land was touting it as vital to U.S. economic interests. It was going to create millions of jobs, maybe some at a Little Rock plant that cast pipe for the completed southern segment, and the risk the noxious Canadian crude posed to the water table of a big swath of Nebraska was, well, tolerable.

If it is Arkansas investment and jobs you want, the Clean Line project will yield them, at least according to the Walton business school at the University of Arkansas, which projected that it would create 855 jobs in Arkansas and that the Clean Line people, electric utilities or the regional transmission authority would spend $660 million in Arkansas building the line and a station to convert the wind turbines' direct current to alternating current and making conductors and insulators.

But here is the big selling point for the project — unless you believe, like the Koch brothers, the coal industry and Exxon Mobil, that climate change is phony and that greenhouse gases are tolerable threats to public health: Arkansas would get 500 megawatts of wind power, which would go a long way toward putting it into early compliance with national greenhouse gas rules, which require a 44 percent reduction in emissions by 2030, and the regional haze rule, which forces Entergy Arkansas to do something about its dirty Independence Station at Newark. All the prevailing powers in Arkansas — the congressional delegation, the governor, the attorney general, the state Chamber of Commerce — have condemned both rules.

Entergy has already moved to comply with the rules. It will close the White Bluff plant, which emits 10.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year, by buying a unit of the big gas-fired generating station at El Dorado and buying solar power from a Stuttgart plant. If Entergy and its transmission authority could land 500 megawatts of wind power, it would go a long way toward retiring the Newark plant, which also is one of America's dirtiest.

But who worries about those toxins? Prevailing winds fan them across the Mississippi. Global warming? That's China's, India's, the maritime islands' and our grandchildren's issue.

Clean Line looks like a reality. Investors first asked for permits from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee to build the line and use utilities' eminent domain power. It quickly got them from the other two state utility commissions, but the Arkansas Public Service Commission said it could not issue a permit because Clean Line was not a utility under Arkansas law. It seemed to invite Clean Line to apply again, but the legislature stepped in last year to prevent it. Gov. Hutchinson signed a bill by Republican legislators that bars a permit for a non-utility electric transmission entity unless it is directed by a regional transmission organization to build it.

So Clean Line hooked up with the Energy Department, which agreed to partner with it under the terms of the Bush administration's Energy Policy Act of 2005. The delegation should take it up with Bush and Cheney.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Clean Line

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Ernest Dumas

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Climate blind

    If there was ever a teaching moment for a nation or a culture on an issue of historic importance, wouldn't it be the late summer of 2017 for climate change?
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • Tax sham

    This week begins another ritual that has become the most celebrated sham of modern times. We always look forward to it, because it will make our country richer and happier and change all our lives for the better. We call it tax reform.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • No tax help for Trump

    The big conundrum is supposed to be why Donald Trump does so well among white working-class people, particularly men, who do not have a college education.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Dollars and degrees

    Governor Hutchinson says a high graduation rate (ours is about the lowest) and a larger quotient of college graduates in the population are critical to economic development. Every few months there is another, but old, key to unlocking growth.
    • Aug 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.

Latest in Ernest Dumas

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • Climate blind

    If there was ever a teaching moment for a nation or a culture on an issue of historic importance, wouldn't it be the late summer of 2017 for climate change?
    • Sep 14, 2017
  • Tax sham

    This week begins another ritual that has become the most celebrated sham of modern times. We always look forward to it, because it will make our country richer and happier and change all our lives for the better. We call it tax reform.
    • Sep 7, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Viewed

  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • Storm president

    It's undeniable that President Trump's public approval has improved since the moment Hurricane Harvey came ashore in Texas the last week of August; polls showed his popularity up by approximately 2 points.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Bad health care bill, again

    • Its hard to tell what the GOP in Arkansas care about beyond making life worse…

    • on September 20, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • I am very glad to see a lot of women running for government positions in…

    • on September 19, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Since Hillary's book has come out, the Hillary Bashers have starting ranting again. My thoughts:…

    • on September 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation