MAGNOLIA — Texarkana-area residents are being invited to a town meeting to discuss the potential of promoting and developing the mining of lignite in Arkansas. The meeting is being hosted by State Representative Mary P. “Prissy” Hickerson and the Natural Resource Research Center at Southern Arkansas University.
The Southwest Arkansas Community Forum on Lignite Exploration and Mining will be held at 5:30 p.m., Friday, February 18, at the Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative – REA Building, 2904 East 9th Street (Hwy 82 East), Texarkana. Presenters for the meeting will include Dr. Tim Schroeder of the Natural Resource Research Center, State Representative Garry Smith of Camden, and Richard Wilson of the Bureau of Legislative Research. The program will last about one hour.
Also attending the meeting will be Arkansas Lt. Governor Mark Darr, State Senators Steve Harrelson and Larry Teague, and State Representatives Lane Jean, Larry Cowling, Nate Steel, David “Bubba” Powers, and Randy Stewart.
South Arkansas has approximately nine billion tons of lignite resources that remain unexplored and undeveloped. In 2007, the Arkansas General Assembly approved the Arkansas Lignite Resources Pilot Program, directing the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to work with SAU and the Arkansas Geological Survey in developing and promoting Arkansas lignite for economic purposes. Surrounding states including Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana are already reaping dividends from lignite development.
“With a firm commitment to the use of clean coal technology and the most advanced and environmentally friendly practices available, the lignite process could result in tremendous economic benefit for Arkansas, as well as having the potential for significant impact on energy security in the United States,” Smith said.
The scheduled town meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to hear of the potential economic benefits to south Arkansas. Financial, geological, and environmental information related to the production of crude oil from lignite will be provided to those who attend.
All area legislators and community leaders have been invited. The meeting is open to the public, and everyone is invited to attend.
For more information, contact Hickerson at (870) 773-1603.