HARVARD HAS TO decide soon what it will do about Arkansas Power and Light's proposed coal-burning power plant near Pine Bluff, Ark. The Arkansas Public Service Commission's licensing hearings on the plant will be sometime in January. The Investor Responsibility Research Center--a Washington organization Harvard helped found and has asked to investigate the plant--will publish its report on the plant tomorrow.
Last week James Guy Tucker '65, the Arkansas attorney general, told an IRRC researcher that he would like Harvard's help in determining his position on the plant. Tucker said his office has neither the money nor the technical expertise to determine what the environmental effect of the plant will be, while Harvard has both. It was the first time there was any indication of how the Arkansas government felt about the plant.
At the same time, the Arkansas Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Arkansas attorney general's office both gave good reason for suspecting that AP&L's environmental impact statement on the plant is not all it might be. In a lengthy report, ACORN blasted AP&L's statement. And Frederic L. Frawley, assistant Arkansas attorney general, said his office's preliminary investigations have raised questions about whether the AP&L statement "is the objective truth."
The ACORN report, prepared by Steven L. Kest '74, is a 39-page barrage of facts and statistics which makes an impressive case for ACORN's contentions that federal standards on sulfur dioxide levels are not enough to safeguard crops' and people's health, that AP&L's plant emissions would exceed federal standards anyway, and that AP&L's claim that adequate control systems do not exist is just wrong. Unless AP&L can produce convincing counter-evidence, or the IRRC's report clearly demonstrates that some of ACORN's facts are incorrect, Harvard, as the largest and technically most expert stockholder in AP&L's owner, should testify at the Arkansas hearings in support of ACORN's claims.