Today’s agreement secures important reductions in air pollution that has harmed national parks and communities across the region for decades.
LITTLE ROCK, AR. - Today, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and Sierra Club announced an agreement with Entergy Arkansas that will end the use of coal at the White Bluff and Independence coal plants, retire the Lake Catherine gas plant, and increase renewable energy jobs in the state of Arkansas. These commitments, together with interim pollution reduction measures that will be implemented in the coming years, will reduce emissions of harmful sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and help clear the air of haze in Arkansas and neighboring states.
In the Clean Air Act agreement filed today in the federal district court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Entergy has agreed to cease coal use by the end of 2028 and 2030 at White Bluff and Independence, respectively, as well as retire the Lake Catherine gas plant by 2027. This agreement resolves several claims by environmental groups alleging Entergy illegally modified the White Bluff and Independence plants without a permit, in violation of the Clean Air Act. The settlement additionally resolves multiple challenges to federal and state Clean Air Act regulations intended to protect the air in national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges across Arkansas and throughout the region.
The two Entergy coal-burning plants have operated for more than three decades without modern pollution controls. Together, the White Bluff and Independence coal plants emitted over 42,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and 20,000 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in 2017. These plants rank sixth and thirteenth in combined SO2 and NOx emissions out of the hundreds of power plants across the United States, and have also been linked to increased levels of ozone smog, harming communities in St. Louis and Memphis. The replacement of these plants with clean energy will eliminate 75 percent of the SO2 and 34 percent of the NOx from combined emissions from all the power plants and industrial smokestacks across Arkansas. These reductions that will significantly improve Arkansas’s air quality while reducing health risks for thousands of Arkansans.
Along with cutting emissions from the White Bluff, Independence and Lake Catherine power plants, this settlement will accelerate the creation of clean energy jobs in Arkansas. Entergy and the other plant co-owners will seek at least 400 MW of renewable energy by 2022 and another 400 MW by 2027.
Stephanie Kodish, Senior Director & Counsel of the National Parks Conservation Association’s Clean Air Program released the following statement:
“Today’s agreement secures important and lasting reductions in air and climate pollution that has harmed national parks like Buffalo National River and communities across the region for decades. Ultimately, the transition of these plants will improve public health and air quality throughout the region. However, air pollution remains one of the most serious threats facing national parks harming the health of park visitors, wildlife and neighboring communities, as well as compromising some of our country’s most awe-inspiring views with hazy skies. NPCA is pleased that a compromise has been reached, and we will continue advocating to restore clean air and a healthy climate to our nation’s most iconic natural treasures.”
In response Glen Hooks, Director of the Arkansas Sierra Club release the following statement:
“Sierra Club is pleased to conclude our legal disputes with Entergy Arkansas and to reach a long-term agreement to stop burning coal at the old White Bluff and Independence power stations. Families, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies across Arkansas are demanding renewable energy, and retiring these old plants is an important step to transform our electric grid and attract new businesses. As these plants are retired, we hope that the utility protects workers, invests new capital in Arkansas communities, and helps former coal plant workers transition to other family-sustaining jobs within the company.”
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About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
About the Sierra Club The Sierra Club is America’s largest and oldest grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.7 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
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