BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE NATE BELL –
Last Tuesday members of the Joint Energy Committee had the opportunity to tour the John W. Turk Power Plant near Hope. The plant is one of the cleanest and most efficient coal fired power plants in existence. In addition to being a tremendous boost to the southwest Arkansas economy it is an engineering marvel. Turk uses ultra-super critical steam generation to produce superheated steam without boiling. The plant uses several stages of emissions control technology to produce reliable and environmentally friendly electricity at low cost. You can learn more about the plant at this link: https://www.swepco.com/global/utilities/lib/docs/info/projects/TurkPlant/TurkPowerPlantFactSheetrev3-21-13v3.pdf
The Turk Plant will be compliant with the new C02 regulations imposed last week by the Obama EPA but those new regulations will have a negative impact on the electricity bills of Arkansas consumers. Energy experts are advising us that Arkansas will be one of the states with the biggest cost increases from these draconian regulations. Some experts within the utility industry believe consumers in Arkansas could see as much as a 50% increase in their electricity bills as the result of the forced closure of several generating plants and the cost to replace them. I will continue to work closely with ADEQ and the utility industry to mitigate the impact of these changes on Arkansas families and businesses.
On Thursday, I chaired the Audit Standing Committee on State Agencies as we considered recent budget law violations by two state agencies. Audits of the Fire Protection Licensing Board and the Geological Survey indicate that both agencies knowingly spent taxpayer funds without legal authorization to do so. After a lengthy discussion, we unanimously voted to ask the Attorney General to investigate further and to consider seeking civil penalties against those responsible. Our recommendation was approved Friday by the Joint Audit Committee without objection.
I appreciate the privilege of representing you at the Capitol. Please contact me anytime if you have questions or need assistance. My cell phone is 479-234-2092. Feel free to call or to text. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org