The attorney general of Arkansas said yesterday he would like Harvard's help in determining his position on Arkansas Power and Light's proposed 2800-megawatt coal-burning power plant near Pine Bluff, Ark.
James Guy Tucker '65 told Steve Meyers, a researcher for the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC), that his office does not have the expertise or the money to determine whether the plant should have additional pollution controls, but that Harvard is capable of fully analyzing the plant's environmental impact.
The IRRC--an organization Harvard helped found--is conducting a preliminary study of the plant, due for completion next week, at the request of the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility.
AP&L; is a subsidiary of Middle South Utilities Inc., a holding company that also owns four other southern utilities. Harvard is the largest single stockholder in Middle South, and will decide before January whether to take an active role in the Arkansas Public Service Commission hearings on the plant.
Meyers met yesterday with Tucker, Frederic L. Frawley, the assistant attorney general; and Charles Crow, director of the Arkansas Department of Planning.
Frawley said after the meeting that Meyers will not recommend a specific course of action for Harvard in the IRRC report on the plant, but he will quote various state officials' opinions.
The attorney general's office has done some preliminary investigations on the plant, Frawley said, they have "raised a series of questions on whether AP&L;'s environmental impact statement is the objective truth."
Meyers met Thursday with officials of the Arkansas Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN), the citizens' group that has led the opposition to the plant and that first solicited Harvard's help in fighting the project.
Steven L. Kest '74, an ACORN employee, said yesterday, "I still think there's a conflict of interest with IRRC," because of its ties to Harvard. Stephen B. Farber '63, special assistant to President Bok, is chairman of the board of the IRRC.
Kest said the meeting with Meyers did not affect his opinion of the IRRC because Meyers "was just a fact-finder, that's all."
Frawley said the Arkansas attorney general's office is "stretching the limits of its budget" in its investigation of the plant, and that Harvard's intervention "could be of great benefit to us."
"Harvard probably has the resource materials and technical expertise to determine what the plant will do," Frawley said. "We just don't have the in-house expertise to determine on our own."
Frawley also said there is "a highly-charged political atmosphere" surrounding the upcoming plant hearings because AP&L; has considerable political influence in Arkansas. He said this political atmosphere would not affect Harvard.
Meyers left Arkansas yesterday and flew to Washington to start work on the IRRC report. He said he has also spoken with AP&L; representatives and several state officials about the plant