Last October, an obscure Arkansas community group asked for Harvard's help in opposing a power plant. Now, five months later, it finally looks like Harvard will go along with the request, at least to some extent.
The Arkansas Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) asked Harvard to use its financial influence (more than $9 million worth of stock in Middle South Utilities Inc., the company that owns Arkansas Power and Light, which is trying to build the plant) to ensure that the 2800-megawatt, coal-burning plant's smokestacks have additional sulfur dioxide emission controlls.
The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility began considering ACORN's request in November. Since then, the ACSR has commissioned a preliminary study on the power facility that took a couple of months, and then spent another month and a half waiting for AP&L to file a new environmental impact statement on the plant.
AP&L finally finished its new 1000-page impact statement late last month, and one source said this week, after the ACSR's first meeting since January, that the ACSR is considering asking the Corporation to tell AP&L and the Arkansas Public Service Commission it feels something must be done to curb the proposed plant's sulfur dioxide emissions.
But the ACSR is by no means rushing into things, and has asked seven Harvard science experts to look at AP&L's impact statement. When the professors report back, the ACSR will make its final decision--probably within the next six weeks--and probably will side, at last, with ACORN.