Arkansans Speak Up for a Clean-Energy Future
Sierra Club activists, supporters, and friends held several successful town halls to call on Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe to move the state beyond coal and push for a clean-energy economy that will provide good jobs. Town hall attendance surpassed 300 people, ranging from toddlers to college students to seniors.
"This has helped build the momentum to influence the creation of a clean and sustainable energy plan that will later be turned into proposed bills and voted on early next year," said Lev Guter, a Sierra Club Arkansas organizer.
The town halls were designed to nudge the governor, who is expected to propose energy legislation later this year. The town halls took place all over the state including Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway, and the Boys and Girls Club in Pine Bluff, attracting news cameras. Sierra Club organizers collected comments from attendees and handed them over to Beebe's energy advisor for consideration. The ensuing press conference included Rev. Steve Copley, who spoke on behalf of Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light.
"People of faith care deeply about the protection of the planet for future generations, so it is important for us to share our vision for Arkansas' energy economy," said Copley, as reported by KARK 4 News.
"This deep concern is highlighted in most traditions' sacred texts that call for us to be good stewards of the earth. These public meetings are a fantastic opportunity for citizens to provide input on energy issues and to be part of the decision-making process."
Mikel Lolley, an architect who runs a non-profit for sustainable building, told ArkansasNews.com that clean-energy legislation will attract jobs in innovation:
"The largest gains over the past 10 years for energy efficiency and renewable energy have been in policy, not technology," Lolley said. "Those states that have identified the systemic barriers, adopted new policies and systematically removed old politics have allowed for the once-thwarted sectors to flourish."
Arkansas is already seeing a boom in cleantech jobs, notably in the wind industry. KTHV prominently featured Sierra Club’s Glenn Hooks in this news clip about the need to pass the PTC, otherwise known as the production tax credit for wind energy jobs.
"Arkansas is in the top ten percent of the states in this country with regard to the percentage of their workforce involved in green jobs or renewable energy jobs," Hooks said in the segment.
Congratulations to our Arkansas activists and friends for all the great work!