Sunday, June 29, 2008

Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission fails to add carbon dioxide to state list of air contaminants

Panel denies air-code changes
Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008
Saying the request was premature, the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission on Friday unanimously rejected a request by environmental groups to change Arkansas’ air code to consider carbon dioxide an “air contaminant.”
“I do think this is putting the cart before the horse,” commission member Scott Henderson, explaining that he believes the governor’s Global Warming Commission should have first crack at determining how carbon dioxide emissions should be regulated.
The commission, established last year, is studying ways state agencies can offset factors that might contribute to climate change.
“I don’t agree with the discussion about waiting for the federal government to do it, but I do think the Global Warming Commission has to do its work,” Henderson said.

The Arkansas Sierra Club, Audubon Arkansas and the Environmental Integrity Project had filed a petition seeking to amend definitions included in Regulations 18 and 26 of the state’s airquality regulations. The proposal called for the definitions in both regulations to eliminate carbon dioxide from a list of emissions not considered air contaminants, including water vapor, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and inert gases.
The petition cited concerns that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can lead to higher maximum temperatures, more hot days, higher minimum temperatures, fewer cold days, more intense “precipitation events” and increased risk of drought.
Environmentalists argued their proposal wouldn’t immediately require regulation of carbon dioxide by the Environmental Quality Department. But industry and department officials disagreed.

“We are not opposed to the removal of this exemption.... We realize that global warming is a global problem,” department Director Teresa Marks said. “Our concern is unintended consequences, and the practicality of what we would do if the exemption was removed immediately.”
Marks said existing regulations would require the department to regulate anyone who emits more than 25 tons per year of an “air contaminant.” The department today doesn’t have the technology available to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide, she said.
After more than a half-hour of comments from industry leaders and environmentalists, the commission approved an order supplied by the Arkansas Environmental Federation, an organization that lobbies on behalf of companies on environmental matters.
The order states that the request from the environmental- ists was defective for a number of reasons, including that it failed to include an economic impact statement and an environmental benefit analysis. Such statements are required by state law if the proposed change is more stringent than federal requirements.

Glen Hooks, regional representative of the Sierra Club, said he was surprised by the decision.
“I think what these guys have done is stand up and say we know CO 2 is a pollutant, we know it is a contaminant, but we don’t want to do anything about it,” Hooks said.
“They said it publicly, and I found it amazing.”
He said he and other environmentalists expect to bring forward a new petition that addresses the commissioners’ concerns sooner rather than later.
“We’ll be back,” said Ilan Levin of the Environmental Integrity Project.
The concerns can be addressed in a number of ways, including by increasing the allowable emission threshold from 25 tons per year, Levin said.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Association for Beaver Lake Environment growing!

Sent: Sat 6/28/08 12:51 PM
This is an e-mail from ' - Association for Beaver Lake Environment '

Hello ABLE members,

I wanted to let you know that ABLE hosted a special Town Hall Meeting for Beaver Lake Dock Owners on Monday, June 23, 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to sell ABLE to Beaver Lake property owners, identify/discuss issues affecting and threatening the lake, and to increase ABLE membership. This meeting was very successful! We have signed up many new members, the meeting was standing room only, over 110 people attended!

We also had two guest speakers:
Thad Cheaney from the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers - discussed dock and shoreline issues.
Nathan Jones, VP of Power Source Solar - discussed solar applications on boat docks.

I have posted the program on the website ( Login, click on "Information Library" page, and then click on Town Hall Meetings. You will see the "Dock Owners Meeting". You will need Adobe Acrobat in order to view the program.

Thanks for supporting ABLE!

Doug Timmons
President, ABLE

Telecom Board's recommendation to council doesn't please administration

Please click on images to read Susan Thomas' letter and Richard Drake's letter to the Fayetteville City Council.

Telecom Board's recommendation to council doesn't please administration

Please click on images to read Susan Thomas' letter and Richard Drake's letter to the Fayetteville City Council.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Petition to protect council-, citizen-initiated forums on government channel


The City Administration recently cancelled issue forums about Fayetteville High School and Walton Arts Center, although the forums were requested by a City Council member. The City has arbitrarily decided that they will not allow such forums, although they have served our community for over 15 years. Please keep television Channel 16 open to requests by city council members and citizens, so that the channel can continue to help create an open and participatory city government, as called for in Fayetteville Ordinance 4504 and current Government Channel policy.


I, being a registered voter, living within the city limits of Fayetteville, ask that the Telecommunications Board and City Council continue the current policy and procedures of allowing City Council members and citizens to request forums, about issues faced by local governments, to be produced and shown on the Government Channel.

Printed Name Signature Address Telephone and/or E-mail¬¬¬¬¬

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jordan honored by Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Lioneld Jordan Honored by OMNI

Fayetteville City Council member Lioneld Jordan was recognized as a Nominee at OMNI's 2008 Peace & Justice Heroes Awards Banquet at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on June 14th. In announcing the awards, OMNI spokesperson Gladys Tiffany said, "The second nominee doesn’t need much introduction to Northwest Arkansas people. Lioneld Jordan has been a public servant in Fayetteville for many years, advancing the fundamental values of peace, justice, and ecology in our community.

"During his eight years on the City Council, Lioneld has supported the preservation of Mt. Sequoyah Woods and the Brooks-Hummell Natural Area, as well as the hillside-development ordinance. As chairman of the Street Committee, he took the leadership in advocating road-impact fees to address the effects of sprawl, has supported bikeway and trails as alternative systems, and led the effort to designate Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

"Lioneld has been a strong voice for social and economic justice. He has been a member of the advisory board of the Seven Hills Homeless Shelter and has worked to assure affordable housing in the city. As president of the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council, he has instituted the Citizen Leadership Academy to train advocates and give a voice to those less fortunate, and as former president of his local union, he initiated the monthly food drive, the campus-city street-trash pickup project, the community service awards, and the Christmas toy drive, while fighting for workers’ rights and job security.

"Thank you Lioneld for your years of service in Northwest Arkansas."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ozark Highlands Group of Sierra Club to meet with James Burke to discuss fight against dirty coal burning in Arkansas at Smiling Jack's at 7 p.m. Wed.

Our June monthly meeting will be this Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Smiling Jack's just off Dixon Street behind the Dixon Street book shop.

James Burke will be joining us to talk about the coal campaign and the progress we are making in that area. It will be very informal; this is a great opportunity to learn more about what we can do to make sure Arkansas doesn't build any new coal fired power plants. Bring your coal questions for James to answer!

Our Arkansas Chapter chair, Adrienne, will be bringing some yard signs protesting dirty coal if you would like one.

As always, please forward this email along to others you think might be interested.

Molly Rawn
Sierra Club, Ozark Headwaters Group
(479) 879-1620

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wetland article ignores drawbacks in wetland mitigation projects but provides valuable insight and source of hope for urban wetland protection

Woolsey wetland article in The Morning News

The Woolsey Prairie is adjacent to land where the new wastewater-treatment plant was built. Actually, the plant was built on what might be called the original Woolsey Prairie.
Because the plant destroyed a great many wetland acres, the Corps of Engineers permit required mitigation. There have been many shows on Government channel about the progress of creating the mitigation area over the past couple of years, mostly as a part of shows on progress of construction of the plant itself.
The good news is that the city is "manufacturing" wetland to make up for destruction. That isn't as good as preserving existing wetland exactly as nature made it. However, it is beautiful site.
The bad news is that a plan to allow developers to "purchase" shares in such mitigation land is similar to trading carbon-pollution rights. It means developers can dredge and fill to build on wetland in the city and "mitigate" it by paying for creation of such sites. This is better than nothing. However, it doesn't protect property from flooding downstream from the development. And it allows valuable habitat to be destroyed where it should be kept. It doesn't make stormwater remain where it falls and soak in to keep vegetation healthy and replenish underground aquifers.
That was the first story I ever read by Skip Descant. He appears to be a good reporter.
He wouldn't likely know about World Peace Wetland Prairie or that "keeping the water where it falls" is the contrasting idea that would have had to have been included in the story if his plan was to write a truly multi-source story.
In fact, WPWP is exactly opposite to a manufactured wetland area. It protects habitat and lets water soak in UPSTREAM where it falls. It was saved from development and stands in stark contrast with the Aspen Ridge/Hill Place development site to to its north.
While it has a large population of nonnative species, particularly fescue and Japanese honeysuckle that require constant volunteer effort to remove, it never had its basic seed and root base of native species removed.
Being inside the city and a part of the headwater system of the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River and thus a significant area that helps protect the Beaver Lake watershed, its soil and plant life (even the invasive nonnative species) are functioning perfectly for stormwater management and protection of water quality.

The already completed Woolsey Prairie serves to catch water NEAR where it falls on the sewage-treatment plant. But adjacent parcels that may be saved as wetland prairie or savannah will be for sale to developers as mitigation for environmentally destruction parcels upstream. That part of the story has been discussed on several Government Channel productions related to the new sewage-treatment plant.

It would be nice to have a map of wetland areas. I frequently offer such information with photos from various parts of the watershed on my blogs and Flickr photo sets. But an overall plan to protect wetland isn't something everyone wants. Such a citywide delineation of wetland areas could prevent developers from buying property that should not be developed on the assumption that they will always get permission to dredge and fill such places simply by buying a share of an already preserved parcel miles away or not even in the same watershed.

Some developers and even some city officials and staff members don't want to acknowledge the existence of more than minimal wetland because public knowledge of the facts of Northwest Arkansas' environment might stifle their desire to build and pave every acre in the city.

More than two years ago, the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association created a booklet with a list of environmentally sensitive areas in the city that the group deemed worthy of protection. That information has never been used by the city in any way, as far as I can tell. During the June 17, 2008, meeting of the Council of Neighborhoods, Bruce Shackleford's presentation on Woolsey Prairie got his ideas out to a lot of people and excited some of the neighborhood advocates to realize the importance of wetland prairie, exactly what we've been trying to do with our photos on Flickr and on our blogspots for the past year and for more than six years on and for decades in various newspaper and magazine stories.
Fran Alexander and others persevere, but are only voices in the wildnerness, it seems.
Too many of the most outspoken people in the green, "sustainability" movement mostly focus on compromise positions. The paid environmentalists are all about compromise these days. Compromise mostly leads to learning to lose gracefully.
It takes people such as Fran Alexander with passion to get things done. And Shackleford's passion about the prairie wetland can do more to stir fervor in the fight to do the right thing in Fayetteville than some of us have done in decades. A lot of us old "tree-huggers" will be supporting his educational effort in every way we can.
For photos and more information, please use the following online links.

Hill Place/Aspen Ridge set of photos

Pinnacle Prairie set of photos — west side of World Peace Wetland Prairie

World Peace Wetland Prairie collection of sets of photos

Town Branch watershed set of photos