The Sierra Club issued a response yesterday to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality‘s 2017 “State of the Air” report, which was released last week.

The annual report, first issued for fiscal year 2016, was created by the department’s Office of Air Quality to evaluate air quality and emissions data.

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“Although the report states that most pollutants have decreased over time and Arkansas is in compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards, it also leaves out important data,” the Sierra Club stated in a press release. “Arkansas’s coal-burning power plants, most notably Entergy’s White Bluff and Independence plants, significantly contribute to ozone impacts across state lines in St. Louis and Memphis.”

Glen Hooks, the director of the state’s chapter of the Sierra Club, issued the following statement: 

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The key to improving air quality in Arkansas is ending our reliance on coal-generated electricity. If our air quality is improving, we can largely credit the decreased burning of coal in Arkansas and the recent shutdown of three old, dirty coal-burning plants in Texas that have polluted our state for decades. 

Coal-burning plants spew millions of tons of pollutants into our air each year, contributing to unsafe levels of ozone and sulfur dioxide. Our state’s air quality will improve dramatically once we finally retire Entergy’s White Bluff and Independence coal plants—two giant facilities that lack modern pollution controls and are annually among the largest sulfur dioxide emitters in the nation.

Clean air is tied directly to clean energy. Arkansas utilities, businesses, and cities are moving to solar energy in places like Stuttgart, Camden, and Clarksville, while our state is also using huge amounts of clean wind power. Fayetteville has announced a bold plan to power the entire city with clean energy. As Arkansas continues to rely more and more upon clean solar and wind energy, our air quality will continue to improve. Dirty coal has no place in the Natural State’s clean energy future. 

Here’s the full report from the ADEQ’s Office of Air Quality:

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