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Activists Bring Acclaimed Anti-Coal Film to Arkansas

Aug. 4, 2008

Activists Bring Acclaimed Anti-Coal Film to Arkansas

‘Fighting Goliath’ Shows How Citizens Can Stop Coal Plants From Threatening Arkansas

Arkansas residents will get a chance this week to see how they can stand up to proposed coal-fired power plants with special screenings in Fayetteville, Little Rock and Hope of the documentary “Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars.”

Public Citizen and other groups are organizing the screenings of the film produced by Robert Redford, which follows a group of Texas activists who took on a big power company’s plan to build 11 coal-fired generators in their state. The activists, who included members of Public Citizen’s Texas office, succeeded in defeating several of the plants.

Showings will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Fayetteville Public Library and 6 p.m. Thursday at the Little Rock Market Street Cinema. A screening is also planned for Hope on Saturday with the time and place to be determined. A training session on organizing campaigns against coal plants will be held in Fayetteville and Little Rock the day after the showings and directly after the screening in Hope. Information on the Hope showing and the film tour in general will be posted this week at Public Citizen’s Web site, http://www.coalblock.org.

In addition to the newly proposed AEP/SWEPCO John W. Turk plant in Hempstead County, another new coal-fired power plant, the AES Shady Point II plant, is proposed in LeFlore County, Okla. The Oklahoma plant will affect air quality in the Fort Smith, Fayetteville and Bentonville areas. These new coal-fired power plants pose a threat to public health and environmental conservation throughout Arkansas and the entire country, said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office.

“Both of these plants pose a significant threat to air quality and contribute to the problem of global climate change,” said Smith, who will participate in the film tour. “Coal plants are the largest industrial source of mercury and will affect water quality throughout Oklahoma and Arkansas.”

Energy derived from coal-fired power plants must be made a thing of the past, he said. Alternatives exist now to take our country in a different direction and into a new era of clean energy beneficial to our health, our environment, and our economy, Smith said.