Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Smoke and Mirrors in the Natural State

American Electric Power-Southwestern Electric Power announced last week that their new service center in Rogers will be a LEED-certified building. The building will utilize a high solar reflective index for the roof, reduced water use features for the building and landscaping and skylights. That is good.

That commitment to constructing a green building does not cover up the fact that the AEP-SWEPCO coal-fired generating plant at Gentry does not meet Environmental Protection Agency regulations or the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission requirements to comply with the federal Clean Air Act of 1970. The plant is among six facilities targeted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality that emit more than 250 tons a year of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Clean air compliance costs for the Flint Creek plant are estimated at more than $200 million.

Nor does announcing a green building solve the serious water quality and low stream flow issues identified by the Flint Creek Property Owners Association who live downstream from the AEP-SWEPCO plant near Gentry, which pumps out about 6 million gallons of water a day for industrial use under an expired contract.

Facing such clean air and water issues with the Flint Creek generating plant, a green building does not obscure the fact that corporate polluter AEP-SWEPCO has an application pending with the Arkansas Public Service Commission to construct an even larger pollution source, a coal generating plant near Texarkana that does not use the latest technology for carbon capture and storage to reduce greenhouse gases. They chose Arkansas as the site because they thought regulatory approval would be easier than in Texas, which recently put the kibosh on eight proposed coal generating plants.

But, it is nice that AEP-SWEPCO plans to build a LEED-certified building in Rogers.

No comments:

Post a Comment