Wednesday, March 28, 2007

NWA Times Editorial : Act 468

In a rare critique of Big Business and the politicians who support it without question, the Northwest Arkansas Times today has an editorial bemoaning the power and arrogance of SWEPCO.

"On Friday, House Bill 1367 by Rep. David Dunn, D-Forrest City, officially became Act 468. It’s a development that left us wondering whether these “ public” utilities really have customers’ best interests at heart — and why so many of our legislators chose to support such an odd little bill. What’s the big deal ? Long story short, in those relatively infrequent instances when the public has a serious problem with a project, state law in the past has in certain circumstances allowed for a public hearing before the PSC. With the passage of Dunn’s bill, the ability for the public to involve itself is seriously curtailed....Of course what we see as blocking the public’s best interests is something utilities like SWEPCO might refer to as streamlining."

"Our core issue today, however, is to point to the passage of House Bill 1367 with disappointment about its role in removing the voice of the public from a process. Area legislators who made sure to support House Bill 1367 include: Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville; Sen. Bill Pritchard, R-Springdale; Rep. Eric Harris, R-Springdale; and Rep. Mark Martin, R-Prairie Grove. Area legislators siding against House Bill 1367 include: Rep. Lindsley Smith, D-Fayetteville; Rep. Jon Woods, R-Springdale; and Rep. Jim House, D-Fayetteville. Fayetteville Rep. Marilyn Edwards, a Democrat, did not vote."

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