LITTLE ROCK — Compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule on carbon emissions could have little or no impact on Arkansans’ electric bills, according to a new report by an organization that promotes clean energy.

LITTLE ROCK — Compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule on carbon emissions could have little or no impact on Arkansans’ electric bills, according to a new report by an organization that promotes clean energy.


The report comes after the Senate on Tuesday approved two resolutions seeking to block the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, both of which are expected to be vetoed by President Barack Obama.


"Modeling Low Cost Approaches to Clean Power Plan Compliance for Arkansas" by Advanced Energy Economy Institute, a copy of which was provided to the Arkansas News Bureau on Tuesday, a day ahead of its publication, uses a tool called STEER to model various approaches the state could take to reducing carbon emissions from power plants.


STEER, or State Tool for Electricity Emissions Reduction, was developed by the University of Michigan and 5 Lakes Energy for the Advanced Energy Economy Institute and is being provided free to a number of states to help in their efforts to comply with the rule, which requires Arkansas to reduce carbon emissions from its power sector by 36.5 percent by 2030.


"When developing a least-cost compliance plan for meeting the Clean Power Plan, Arkansas can consider a variety of mitigation options, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, combined heat and power, and heat rate improvements at existing coal generation facilities," the report states. "Based on the scenarios examined in this paper, it is clear that carbon mitigation need not impose significant costs to ratepayers. In fact, under some scenarios, there is likely to be a decline in rates compared to business as usual."


The report is at odds with the position of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who has joined a multi-state lawsuit opposing the Clean Power Plan.


Rutledge said last month, "In a state like Arkansas where over half of the electricity is responsibly generated from coal-fired power plants, the impact will be felt in the pocketbooks of Arkansas utility ratepayers. These increased costs will have a direct impact on the state’s ability to grow good-paying jobs with fair, reasonable electric rates."


U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton, both R-Ark., voted for resolutions to block the Clean Power Plan on Tuesday.


"Since the president couldn’t get his extreme carbon policy agenda through Congress, he has tried to force it through the EPA in a manner that gives Americans little opportunity for dissent," Boozman said in a statement. "By passing these resolutions of disapproval, we cast that dissenting vote for the American people."


Cotton said in a statement, "President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is bad news for Arkansans and our state economy. It will bring a tidal wave of new rules and regulations and allow politicians in Washington to dictate how Arkansans get our energy. Worse, coal-fired power plants across Arkansas will be forced to close their doors, and Arkansas families’ energy costs (will) skyrocket."


Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club, said the environmental organization was "very disappointed in Sens. Boozman and Cotton."


"These legislative gimmicks are just distractions from the great benefits the Clean Power Plan will bring to Arkansas. The policy will protect our air and water from carbon pollution while promoting our transition to a clean energy economy, which will bring good jobs and more opportunities from 21st century energy technologies like solar and wind," Hooks said.