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Associate Organizing Representative
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The Sierra Club is America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club work... more.
Lev Guter, a local representative with Sierra Club, said the organization is also glad to hear City Utilities is moving forward with solar energy.
"Renewables like wind and solar are absolutely necessary to make sure our electricity needs are met," he said.
"The low-flow faucet heads decrease the amount of water used and reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the water," said Sierra Club representative Lev Guter.
Guter said the weatherization of the community center is part of a larger effort to make as many homes and businesses energy-efficient as possible. "Weatherization is the low-hanging fruit to make sure that a building is operating as efficiently as possible," Guter said. Guter praised Arkansas Interfaith for pledging to pay for any expense above the $2,000 provided by the grant. "I don't believe it went too much over $2,000 but we are so grateful to Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light for offering to provide the funds," Guter said. Guter summed up the day's events in a press release issued Saturday. "I am so thrilled by the great turnout and impact we had today," Guter said in the release.
Lev Guter, spokesman for the Sierra Club, said Thursday the group was disappointed the plant was able to open, but added that the fight was worth it because of the concessions to which SWEPCO agreed.
"Through our long battle we put an enormous amount of pressure against the coal industry. And through our alternative settlement on the Turk plant with SWEPCO, we got considerable concessions that will protect the public health and environment for all Arkansans," Guter said. SWEPCO agreed to shutter by the end of 2016 a coal-fired 528-megawatt plant near Pittsburg, Texas, and purchase 400 megawatts from renewable energy sources, most of which is wind power. The utility also agreed to reimburse the environmental groups for $2 million in legal costs and contribute $10 million to other groups for energy-efficiency advocacy and land conservation efforts. "Overall, that is a large step forward for Arkansas and that's something we can certainly show at the end of our litigation," Guter said.
Lev Gutter, spokesman for the Sierra Club, said Thursday the group was disappointed the plant was able to open, but added that the fight was worth it because of the concessions to which SWEPCO agreed.
Lev Guter with the Sierra Club said that the Pine Bluff visit was important because it was the last of four meetings held across the state during the summer months and because it was the only one to focus on input from children.
"Today we showed the kids how solar energy works in part by giving them fresh popcorn made with a solar-powered popcorn machine," Guter said. "They then were given the opportunity to do an art project in which they made pictures of solar panels. Young people may not know the intricate details of how renewable energy works, but they do have a vision of what they want to see in the future in their heads. "In a large way this is the children's town hall and is allowing them to express their wishes through art," Guter said. "The Sierra Club has tasked itself with holding these town halls across the state," Guter said. "In June we held our first meeting at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, and 100 people attended. In July we held a town hall in Fayetteville with 60 people attending. Just last week we held a town hall at Hendrix College in Conway with 80 people attending. Here in Pine Bluff we are giving the youth a voice in the clean energy conversation." Guter said Beebe tasked the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to lead an effort in coordination with the Arkansas Public Service Commission and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to develop an energy plan for the state. "The governor's energy plan will be turned into a package of proposed rules and regulations," Guter said. "The Sierra Club in partnership with Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light decided to hold these meetings to allow as many Arkansans as possible to provide their input into the formation of the governor's energy plan." Information provided by Guter laid out the governor's policy goals for energy, including: Guter also discussed the Sierra Club's view that coal-burning power plants are no longer a viable form of energy production. "The No. 1 man-made source of mercury in fish is the emissions of coal-burning power plants," Guter said. "The Sierra Club opposed the renewing of the operation permit for the White Bluff coal-burning power plant in Redfield last year. We opposed it because the permit is good for five years but stricter emissions requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency will go into effect in three years that White Bluff will not have to comply with immediately." Guter said that the operators of the Flint Creek coal-burning power plant near Gentry, Ark., will be going before the Public Service Commission Oct. 9 to ask for a rate increase to pay for retrofitting of the facility to bring it into compliance with EPA emissions requirements. "They will be asking for a $400 million rate increase that will be passed on to consumers," Guter said.