Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said he believes that he does not have the authority under existing state and federal law to block a new coal-fired power plant. Gov. Beebe made the statement after he met with environmental groups that oppose the plant and delivered more than 3,700 petitions. Southwestern Electric Power—owned by American Electric Power—expects its new $1.5 billion, 600 MW plant to be completed within four years. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality approved the plant’s air permit on November 5; however, environmental groups are appealing the permit.

Gov. Beebe recently created a commission to study global warming. In October, the commission recommended that the state ban new coal-fired power plants if the plants do not utilize carbon sequestration (CCS) technology.