Arkansas Energy

Previously proposed routes for SWEPCO's Shipe Road-Kings River Transmission Line Project.
arktimes.com

A controversial $116 million transmission line proposal for northwest Arkansas is being withdrawn by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO). The company said in a statement Tuesday that there is no longer enough demand to justify the project.

The high-voltage power line has drawn opposition as it has been reviewed by the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Pat Costner, director of Save the Ozarks, organized opposition to the once-proposed power line based on property and environmental concerns.

Arkansas Public Service Commission Chair Colette Honorable, who has been nominated to the powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be front-and-center before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources on Thursday.

Honorable’s Senate hearing to consider her nomination to FERC will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4 in Room SD-366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

State Rep. John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg)
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Members of the state legislature on Monday reviewed the potential impact of a proposed $2 billion, 750 mile interstate transmission line that would cross Arkansas from west to east from just north of Fort Smith to West Memphis.

Outgoing Republican State Representative John Hutchison (R-Harrisburg) has typically been against regulating the energy sector. However, Hutchison believes the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project will bring problems to waterfowl, such as ducks, in the areas it crosses. That includes an area nearby his own property in northeast Arkansas. 

A Natural Gas Well
Daniel Foster / flickr.com

A new report claims Arkansas has 168 fracking sites, primarily in the north-central part of the state, that have illegally injected diesel fuel into the ground as a part of natural gas drilling operations.

An association representing some of the world’s largest energy producers released a study Thursday claiming a possible new ozone regulation could be costly for Arkansans. The finding is disputed by leading environmental groups in the state.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wants to defend in court a $5 million tax break the Legislature gave the natural gas industry after the state's top finance official said the exemption was unconstitutional.

McDaniel on Friday filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit challenging the measure approved earlier this year exempting sand used in natural gas drilling from state sales taxes. The tax break was included in the Department of Finance and Administration's revenue services division budget, an approach the lawsuit argues is unconstitutional.

A Denver-based energy company says it will invest $80 million this year to drill about 50 natural gas wells in south Arkansas.

Bonanza Creek Energy Inc. says the wells will be drilled in the McKamie Patton and Dorcheat-Macedonia fields, which are located in Columbia and Lafayette counties.

Arkansas Business reports infrastructure projects and saltwater disposal wells will account for an additional $4.5 million of planned capital.

Bonanza Creek has operations in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and the Cotton Valley sands of southern Arkansas.

Frank Burggraf
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

As many as 60,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas were without power at one point this past weekend because of the winter storm.

Above-ground electrical transmission and distribution lines are vulnerable to failure from heavy wet snow, dense ice and high winds.

Some advocates say it’s time to move those lines underground.  But that is much more expensive and many utility customers don't want to pay higher electric bills.

Jacqueline Froelich with Fayetteville station KUAF has a look at the debate.  You can hear her report above.

More than 37,000 homes and businesses are without electricity as a wintry storm hits the state.

Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark reported about 12,000 outages Friday morning, while SWEPCO had more than 11,000 outages in northwest Arkansas in Sebastian, Polk, Scott and Logan counties. Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported an additional 2,000 outages in Fort Smith, 1,200 outages in Charleston and more than 1,100 in Lavaca.

Crews from Entergy Arkansas are heading to Virginia to help restore electricity knocked out during this week's storms.

Entergy Arkansas is sending 87 employees to Virginia, including 50 linemen. The utility says Dominion Virginia Power requested assistance from Entergy.

At its peak, severe storms with high winds and hail knocked out power to 285,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers.

As of Friday morning, that number had dropped to 95,000 outages, with most in the Richmond and southeastern Virginia regions.

New Study: Fracking Hasn't Polluted Arkansas Water

May 16, 2013
A Natural Gas Well
Daniel Foster / flickr.com

A new study says natural gas drilling, or fracking, hasn't contaminated drinking water wells in Arkansas but researchers say the geology there is more of a natural barrier to pollution than in other areas where drilling takes place.

Duke University professor Avner Vengosh says the team "didn't see any contamination" in an area of heavy drilling in north-central Arkansas. Members of the U.S. Geological Survey were also part of the study examining 127 drinking water wells for evidence of pollution from methane gas or chemicals.

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

A power transmission company says it will locate a regional hub in Little Rock, a move that company officials say will bring between 30 and 50 high paying jobs to the state in the near future.

Governor Mike Beebe and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola joined state economic development officials as well as representatives from Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator, or MISO, at the state Capitol to announce the new jobs.

MISO handles power transmitted on the nation’s electric grid and Beebe said the mostly-high tech jobs would pay an average of $85,000 a year.

Animals Released Into Wild After Arkansas Oil Spill

Apr 8, 2013
Mayflower Oil Spill
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Officials have released some animals back into the wild after they were rescued and cleaned up following an oil spill in central Arkansas.

Crews on Monday brought a pair of raccoons and several turtles to the Bell Slough State Wildlife Management Area near Mayflower.

Their release comes more than a week after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured in Mayflower and spilled thousands of barrels of oil on March 29.

Oil spewed onto lawns and roadways and almost fouled nearby Lake Conway. No one was hurt, but the spill led authorities to evacuate more than 20 homes.

Federal Inspectors Head To Arkansas Nuclear One

Apr 8, 2013

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is sending a team of inspectors to Arkansas Nuclear One in Russellville to review an accident that killed one worker and injured eight others.

The accident occurred March 31 when a 550-ton piece of equipment fell as a lifting rig collapsed. Authorities say 24-year-old Wade Walters of Russellville was killed when the equipment fell on him.

The NRC says there was no release of radiation or danger to the public because of the accident.

Reactor Restart Could Take Weeks At Arkansas Plant

Apr 5, 2013

Entergy Corp. says it will take several weeks to restart a reactor at Arkansas Nuclear One after it was knocked offline during an industrial accident that killed one worker.

Unit 2 has been offline since Sunday's accident that killed 24-year-old Wade Walters, who died when a 550-ton piece of equipment fell on top of him.

The accident, which injured eight other workers, happened in an area away from the plant's reactors.

The nuclear plant's two reactors are now in stable shutdown condition.

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