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Ark. Begins Work on New EPA Emissions Requirements

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Electric providers, utility regulators and environmental groups begin talks about the economic impact of new carbon emission standards in Arkansas.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Stakeholders, including electric providers, utility regulators and environmental groups discussed the economic impact of new carbon emission standards released by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month.

The EPA issued the new rule on June 2 in an effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 30% nationwide by 2030.

Some states will have to reduce levels by a greater percentage, including Arkansas, where the EPA is calling for a 44% reduction.

Teresa Marks, director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, says the work ahead is challenging.

"We're a very coal intensive state," Marks says. "We're also an exporter of power. One thing we hope EPA will take into consideration, is that the coal powered plants that generate here in Arkansas provide power to other states. So I think we need to be given some credit for the fact we do export that energy."

The meeting Monday featured 24 stakeholders discussing the economic benefits and consequences of the new rule.

Electricity providers expressed concern when the rule was released, saying it could raise utility bills for consumers and jeopardize electricity reliability.

Public comment on the new EPA rule will be accepted through October 16.

The next meeting for the stakeholder group, which is open to the public, is slated for August 27.

The EPA rule is in draft form now as states review the specifics. A final version of the rule will be issued in June 2015.

(KARK, Little Rock)

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