Sunday, March 25, 2007

Senator SWEPCO -- Sue Madison Sells Us Out

For months now, the Fayetteville City Council, the Washington County Democratic Party, the neighborhood groups, supporters of historic preservation, and environmental groups have been asking the Arkansas Public Service Commission to hear the views of local citizens about SWEPCO's plans to install huge metal towers across Dickson Street, through a historic neighborhood, and in front of Old Main. SWEPCO arrogantly resisted being held accountable for their plan, but the City persisted and secured a hearing scheduled for April 5th.

SWEPCO decided to show its political muscle and had Representative David Dunn of Forrest City introduce a bill to exempt them from having to seek a Certificate of Need or Environmental Compatibility from the PSC. Even the Northwest Arkansas Times was outraged by this tactic. It passed the House with 70 votes. Republican Representatives Mark Martin, Eric Harris, Keven Anderson, and Horace Hardwick voted for it. Representatives Jim House, Lindsley Smith, and John Woods voted against it. Representative Marilyn Edwards did not vote.

All hope of killing the bill in the State Senate vanished when Senator Sue Madison ignored the will of local citizens and joined Republican Senators Bill Pritchard, David Bisbee, and Kim Hendren in supporting SWEPCO. The bill passed the Senate 33-1. That's how things are done in Arkansas.

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