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Minority report on climate change UPDATE

The House and Senate chairmen of the Joint Committee on Energy clashed today over a proposed meeting to hear an alternative view on global warming.

The chairmen later said the disagreement was only a misunderstanding, and they were working things out.

The clash concerned a meeting, originally scheduled for tomorrow, at which the committee was to hear a minority report from the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming. Scheduled to speak were commission member Richard Ford and other critics of the panel. Ford is an economics professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

An announcement in the House chamber today declared the meeting cancelled, but the committee’s Senate chairman, Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, later said he was not consulted beforehand and he wondered aloud whether the House leadership was attempting to stifle debate on the issue.

“I’m having (the meeting) if I’m the only one there,” a defiant Hendren told the Arkansas News Bureau.

Hendren and the committee’s House chairman, Lance Reynolds, D-Quitman, later told reporters the meeting had been scheduled improperly, before Reynolds was appointed. They said they would arrange to hear the presentations.

Sen. Percy Malone, D-Arkadelphia, says the members may gather unofficially tomorrow to hear the presentations because some of the speakers are already in town.

Malone, the committee’s outgoing Senate chairman, says he requested the meeting after being contacted by one of the speakers.

“I’ve always said, we’ll let anybody who has relevant information about a subject matter tell it,” he said.

UPDATE: The speakers will be allowed to make their presentations in Room 171 tomorrow upon adjournment of both houses, Malone said. All interested persons are invited to attend.


Global warming panel: No new coal

LITTLE ROCK — The Governor’s Commission on Global Warming on Thursday adopted the last of about 50 policy recommendations, including a recommendation that no new coal plants be built in the state until better pollution-control technology becomes available.
In an 11-10 vote, the commission adopted a recommendation calling for construction of no new coal plants until carbon sequestration technology, which captures and stores carbon dioxide emissions rather than releasing them into the atmosphere, is ready.
The commission also made numerous recommendations for improving energy efficiency; recommended creating a consortium to develop renewable energy production facilities and market renewable energy to consumers; recommended building new nuclear power plants; and recommended adopting a carbon tax program in conjunction with a national cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, if a national program becomes a reality.
Created by an act of the state Legislature last year, the commission is charged with making recommendations to the governor and the Legislature on ways to reduce Arkansas’ contributions to climate change.