Favorite

Confrontation vs. innovation 

Arkansas took a great step in the right direction last week. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Public Service Commission announced the state would move forward to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. This decision gives Arkansas a unique opportunity to lead the way in the switch to clean power.

The Clean Power Plan is the biggest step ever taken by the United States to curb climate change. The plan calls for Arkansas to reduce its carbon emissions by 36 percent by the year 2030.

Unfortunately, the issue has become partisan, when it's really about doing our fair share to protect the planet for our children and improve living conditions for all Arkansans. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge vowed to "continue to fight the final rule" and "take any and all appropriate legal action to prevent its implementation."

Luckily, the ADEQ and the PSC are putting partisan politics aside to do what is best for the state. The CPP provides guidelines for states to reduce CO2 pollution by shifting away from coal power to cleaner, smarter alternatives. Carbon pollution is the single largest driver of climate change. It fuels extreme weather conditions threatening the health and livelihood of Arkansas communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color.

Renewable energy is better for consumers, creates jobs and lessens pollution that causes health problems, including asthma and cancer. ADEQ and the PSC are working with ratepayers, utility companies and other stakeholders to create the best plan for Arkansas. The state needs to develop a strong plan that fully provides an environment for clean energy and energy efficiency. This same plan must protect our economy without exposing Arkansans to energy cost increases.

We should consider all options to find the ones that work best for Arkansas. One promising solution is market based: a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend (CF&D).

CO2 polluters pay a fee levied at the source of fossil fuel production or the port of entry for imports. Those dollars are returned to all Arkansans, which in turn goes back into the economy. CF&D is fair, simple, and puts money in YOUR pocket.

It will make local and green energy alternatives more affordable, creating investment in biofuel, wind, solar and energy efficiency programs. These renewable sources are the future of energy, where the jobs will be. Arkansas can be at the front end of the inevitable shift in our energy economy.

A 2014 study of a national CF&D found the economy would add 2.8 million jobs over the next two decades. Emissions would be reduced by more than half, and most coal power plants would no longer be operating.

We need to study the potential for CF&D, and other ways to clean our energy footprint here in Arkansas. All options should be on the table.

Ignoring the EPA's Clean Power Plan is not an effective solution. The lawsuits challenging the CPP are likely to fail. If they do fail, Arkansas will be in a better position by considering cleaner options. In the unlikely event the legal challenge is successful, Arkansas will still be in a better position to capitalize on the economic opportunity clean energy provides.

This CPP innovation creates jobs, grows the economy, stimulates clean energy investment and innovation, and leads to healthier communities. The majority of Arkansans support the CPP. According to a poll by Impact Management Group commissioned earlier this year by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation, 67 percent of Arkansans support the Clean Power Plan. Arkansans want to move our state in the right direction for ratepayers, businesses and future generations. With the added incentive for a dividend for fighting carbon pollution, public support would be stronger.

Robert McAfee is a member of the Arkansas Citizens' Climate Lobby.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Clean Power Plan

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Why a change of leadership at the LRSD now?

    Johnny Key's abrupt, unilateral decision to not renew Baker Kurrus' contract as superintendent strikes us as shortsighted, misguided and detrimental to the education of our children and the health of our community.
    • Apr 21, 2016

Most Shared

  • Conflicts of interest in the legislatures

    The Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press collaborated for a project aimed at highlighting state legislators whose lawmaking might be affected by private business interests.
  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Good anger

    Recently, I attended a training session with the Little Rock Organizing Committee, an alliance of churches, schools, unions and other organizations concerned with social justice. The three-day workshop was essentially a crash course in community organizing. There were multiple lessons, but the biggest benefit to me was learning that anger is not always bad.
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • Tax truths

    The idea that a tax cut for the wealthy will help everyone, though false, is a stubbornly marketable notion.
    • Nov 9, 2017
  • Can't afford to gut ACA

    The Affordable Care Act was passed into law with the promise that it would make insurance affordable. Because of bipartisan leadership in Arkansas, we continue to strive to achieve that goal. While rhetoric abounds, it is important to understand the Arkansas experience.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

December

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
31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Where cities go from here

    • So Florida says he was wrong the first time and the second time he says…

    • on December 10, 2017
  • Re: Cats and dogs

    • Dee-lightful column - and wonderfully written comments.

    • on December 10, 2017
  • Re: GOP contempt

    • If ineptitude and irrelevance had a poster boy, it would be Gene Lyons. He harangues…

    • on December 10, 2017
 

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