Coal-Dependent Arkansas Faces Stiff Emissions Target and a Running Clock
State officials are pondering a formidable task under proposed EPA rule.
"We know we're a coal-heavy state," said Teresa Marks, director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, sitting in the agency's seven-year-old, energy-efficient headquarters, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer sweeping views of greenery and a hiking trail leading to the Arkansas River.
Marks has to confront that coal legacy as Arkansas decides how to comply with the power plant regulations the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in June. By 2030, those proposed rules aim to reduce the U.S. power sector's carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels. As part of that goal, several states will have to cut even more. The target for Arkansas is a big one: a 44.5 percent reduction.
The nationwide reductions, opponents of the plan like