ACORN Asks Princeton Aid In Fighting Ark. Power Plant

The Arkansas Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) asked Princeton University this week to join its fight against Arkansas Power and Light's proposed 2800-megawatt coal-burning power plant near Pine Bluff, Ark.

In a letter mailed Monday to William G. Bowen, president of Princeton, ACORN asked the university to help study the possible effects of the AP&L plant.

ACORN also asked Princeton to pressure Middle South Utilities Inc., the holding company that owns AP&L, to install sulfur dioxide emission controls on the plant's smokestacks.

Princeton owns 146,000 shares in Middle South, presently worth $2.2 million. An ACORN spokesman said yesterday that Princeton is the second largest university stockholder in Middle South.

ACORN asked President Bok last fall for Harvard's help in the plant controversy. Harvard is the largest single stockholder in Middle South, with 560,000 shares, yesterday worth $8.5 million.


Bok referred the matter to the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, which has not yet decided whether to help ACORN oppose the plant.

In the letter to Bowen, ACORN said the plant's sulfur dioxide emissions will harm the crops of farmers near the proposed plant. "It is our fervent hope that Princeton is not solely interested in obtaining profits from its investments," the letter said.

Bowen could not be reached yesterday for comment.

John Fenton, director of the Princeton News Bureau, said yesterday that Bowen will probably, refer the matter to the resource committee of the Council of the Princeton Community.

The resource committee is a 13-member student-faculty-alumni group that makes recommendations to the Princeton board of trustees on issues involving Princeton's stock holdings.

ACORN also wrote Bok Monday to notify him of the Princeton request. The letter said Bok "will probably find this [Princeton] distinguished company in support of your affirmative action on our requests." However, the letter said Harvard should bear "the lion's share of responsibility and action" on the plant, because it owns more Middle South stock than Princeton.

Stanley S. Surrey, Smith Professor of Law and chairman of the ACSR, said last night that the ACSR will not make a decision on the issue until AP&L submits its revised environmental impact statement on the plant to the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

The public service commission rejected AP&L's original impact statement last fall. The commission will hold licensing hearings on the plant about a month after AP&L submits the new statement.

Surrey would not comment on ACORN's Princeton letter because he said he had not had time to "look it over.